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  • Rachel Gardner, LPC

Relationships in the New Year: A Tapestry of Tangles and Grace (Part 1)

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

One month into the new year, with memories from the holidays still fresh (and another relationship-related holiday coming up), the topic of relationships is in the air. By now we’ve probably struggled to keep our New Year resolutions. How well did we discern what we really needed to work on in 2018? Since the health of our relationships is so fundamental to our over all health and wellness, working on them is always worth our while. And post-holidays is a great time to work on them!

With our American tradition of family coming together over the holidays, all the encounters (or lack there of) can be truly fantastic fodder for future growth. Instead of shoving unpleasant holidays memories under the rug, we can use them as a catalyst for change. As a way of thinking about how to go about that work, I’ll offer one of my favorite metaphors used to describe the family: a tapestry. On the backside is a tangled web of threads that seems like an awful knotted mess, but on the front side is an intricately woven pattern that shows not only order and purpose, but also beauty.

This imagery came to me over the past month, so full as it was of significant family encounters. It occurred to me that it truly is a gift to be able to see, on the one hand, the emotional patterns flowing through the generations of my family, and on the other hand, the amazing grace that flows through it as well.

I find it so easy and so human to get stuck focusing on the tangles and confusing web of threads on the backside of the weaving. It’s all too tempting to get lost in old family frustrations or tensions depending on who does and doesn’t come into town for the holidays, who did and didn’t give what sort of gifts, or lured into squabbles about what we’ve “always done” for certain traditions. After such an encounter, it can leave one with a soured feeling moving into the new year, and not much hope for next year being different.

How can we change from being stuck in the tangled knots to seeing the beautiful patterns of human interactions and grace? For it is precisely through this way of seeing that we can then know and embrace our own place in the pattern…

So you may ask, “Rachel, but what does this look like applied to my everyday life?”  Great question.  Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog, posted next month.

If you’d like support to examine the tapestry of your family, I do hope that you’ll give me a call.


Rachel E Gardner, LPC Intern 512-238-1700 ext. 310

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