Reflections on Faith and Community
In this blog, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.
Andrew S. Odom
The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12-13)
In light of our conversation Sunday on the role blame plays in our families and in society, I thought I would simply share with you a fable written by Rabbi Edwin Friedman:
---Recent archaeological discoveries have revealed a “family workup” done by one of the ministering angels about 20 years after creation. It is translated here from the original.
This is a family of four: mother, father, and two sons, fairly close in age. The sons have been quarreling a great deal, and both mother and father appear quite helpless to do anything about it. Most of the focus is on the older brother, who broods a lot, and is very jealous of his far more successful younger brother. The younger is not aware of his advantage and thus never tries to hide his success, or the rewards of his prosperity. The older seems totally unable to understand why fortune does not smile alike on him.
At the beginning of their marriage, both husband and wife seemed to have lived in a very blissful state, naïve, it appears, about what was happening all around them. Something changed that, and things have never been the same since. The husband growls continuously about why life has to be so difficult, and the wife never fails to remind him of how much pain she went through to bear him sons. Neither husband nor wife seems capable of accepting responsibility for their own destiny. Both are always claiming that their lives would be far different were it not for how the other behaved. The man tends to blame his wife, and the wife tends to blame the environment. They thus each give their partner great power to guilt the other.
As long as this attitude persists in the parents, we can hardly expect the boys to act more pleasantly toward each other. This situation will certainly leave a “mark” on one of them. In a family like this, with no one able to tolerate their own solitariness, or, for that matter, anyone else’s, I feel the weakness in the children will never be corrected. Actually, it may be worse than that. If the current inability each parent manifests to deal with his or her own pain continues, I fear that Cain’s view of life will never truly focus on himself, and, perceiving the source of all his problems in his brother, he may one day up and kill him.---
This is such a great fable. It makes one wonder if the first act of original sin wasn’t the eating from the tree of knowledge, but blame.
Published on 08/28/2018 @ 8:34 AM CDT