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I could love anybody of any stripe. Except my sister...

I thought I’d never have a good relationship with my younger, and only sister; we were too different. Things came to a head before Thanksgiving and it was voiced that maybe we should distance ourselves from each other for good...


I thought I’d never have a good relationship with my younger, and only sister; we were too different. Things came to a head before Thanksgiving and it was voiced that maybe we should distance ourselves from each other for good – give up on getting along.


The suggestion of “sibling divorce” drove me to the floor on my face, sobbing, then quietly trying to sort out what – or who, exactly–went wrong

It had been that way for as long as I could remember; fights over wearing the older sister’s clothes evolved into ongoing tension related to what I saw as a clash of paradigms, personal convictions and thought processes. The suggestion of “sibling divorce” drove me to the floor on my face, sobbing, then quietly trying to sort out what – or who, exactly–went wrong, and whether or not we could ever patch together any semblance of camaraderie. I couldn’t accept the fact that I was an ordained minister who was unable to get along with my only sister, but I couldn’t see a way forward in the relationship. My mind was a whirlwind of utter confusion and sorrow.


Then I did what our dad and lifelong mediator had taught us to do; I got quiet some more. He always called it “waiting on God.” Before long, I “heard” something supernatural, something no therapist could have likely thought to say, not having observed our relationship over the years: “You have never truly accepted each other, as-is.” Those words flooded my soul like bright light, and a hundred pounds of perplexity fell off me. I felt “shock and awe”--awe at being so completely and suddenly freed by the truth, and shock that I hadn’t arrived at this realization on my own.


I could love anybody of any stripe–except my sister...

I’d always prided myself on my ability to accept those who were different from me. It was one thing I wanted to be known for, and to some degree, I was known for. I could love anybody of any stripe–except my sister, who shared the same red hair, bold voice, big smile, passionate spirit and love for God. But we were “too different” to love each other. I told her what I heard on the carpet that day and it resonated. From miles apart, we mended and began to forge a new relationship.


There were no more wars to win, no points to prove, no personal issues to fix or thinking patterns to adjust. Gone for both of us was the need to “be right.”

Then Christmas came, and with it a visit from my “new baby sister,” Grace. For nine days we enjoyed the peace and tranquility of unconditional love and acceptance. There were no more wars to win, no points to prove, no personal issues to fix or thinking patterns to adjust. Gone for both of us was the need to “be right.” That blessed loss was palpable. All too soon it was time for her to go back home. I gave her clothes and kisses, and watched her drive away, and my heart was full.


“Wearing love” is what I do now in this relationship. I found that when my heart truly accepts someone for who they are, it’s a decision that’s as effortless as slipping a soft, snuggly sweatshirt over my head to keep me warm. Why would I want to take it off, even for a second?


Faith Bogdan

Gillette, PA


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