"There were so many elephants in the room, it was crowded!," my friend said as we chatted about our Thanksgiving day dinners.
Family gatherings can be like that even with everyone trying to be on their best behavior. The Norman Rockwell picture is often a facade, barely hiding the dysfunction that goes on behind the scenes of a lot of families.
After my conversion, I asked a friend how she handled the holidays. Her family was large, her dad was an alcoholic and had molested her when my friend was very young. Her mother was a battered housewife, who was in the beginning stages of dementia. My friend was at odds with her siblings over the care of her elderly parents and some of them didn't believe their father had molested her. And you thought your family had problems?
My friend told me when things got awkward or heated, she would go in the bathroom and pray. On her return things would be somewhat peaceful and she would feel a renewed strength.
It seems like such a simple thing, doesn't it? A quick prayer in a secluded place might be all that is needed to prevent a stampeding herd.