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Wednesday, Mar. 4, 2015

Sister-in laws are wise

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Family gatherings for special occasions allow time for private conversations between individual family members. One of my sisters-in-law on Lester's side of the family has always been a very special person to me. When I visited the family in Taney County before we were married, and before Taney County became a resort area, Doris helped me through some embarrassing moments. We formed a bond that has remained for 63 years, even though we don't see each other as often as we should.

A recent celebration for a golden wedding and a couple of birthdays gave Doris and I a chance to sit and visit together since we weren't responsible for any of the hosting responsibilities and our husbands (brothers) were busy talking to other family members.

Doris told me about a friend of hers who was having marital difficulties. She surprised Doris by asking her how she and Paul had been able to have a happy life together for 64 years. Doris was not prepared for the question but came up with this answer, "I think when something bothers one of us, we just overlook it, or get over it."

I loved her answer and could see how it really was the case in their marriage. I began thinking about our own marriage of a mere 62 years. Yes, I think it has been true in our case also. If it isn't something that can be changed, we just overlook it, or get over it!

As we drove home from the gathering Lester and I discussed how this saying could apply to more than marriages.

In the work place where conflicts often arise, it is often the little things that drive co-workers crazy. I remember a man who had a desk right behind me in an office who continually sucked on his teeth. It made an annoying sound that would first distract me, and then after he continued for a while it would make me get up and go into the conference room to get away from it. Of course I didn't go quietly. I had to share my annoyance with others in the office who didn't sit that close to the tooth sucker. They couldn't hear the sound, but I told them about it so that the whole office soon was aware of his habit. It would have been better if I had just overlooked it, or gotten over it. (I'll have to report that I was much younger and less tolerant then than I am now!)

Frictions in a community could often be handled the same way. Some people want one thing; others, another. When it is settled, those who did not get their way could help heal the wound if they could overlook it, or get over it.

We're in an election season and obviously many will not be able to be on the winning side. It will be better for the nation if the losers find themselves able to maybe not overlook it, but certainly to get over it. There's always the next time.

I'm wondering if we could carry the same idea into conflicts between countries. That may be asking a little too much since the cultures of the two countries instill certain behaviors that may not be acceptable to the next. But it might be worth a trial.

Now I'm down to feelings generated by personal criticisms. Am I going to be able to overlook those who point out errors in these columns? I think, with Doris' permission, I'll just tell them that if they read something they don't like they'll just have to get over it!

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus