Breaking the chain

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 3, 2008

Like an unbroken chain, the family patterns had continued. Somewhere — way back then —

it had started.

No one could place their finger on a time in history and say “It was here that it all began”, for these things never start in a moment, but rather quietly with no intended future consequences.

But like the start of a snowball, what once began innocently enough soon took on a life of its own as it rolled downhill, gathering up the surroundings in the process.

And so it perpetuated itself, as parents begat children who became parents who begat children. And small ones learned from larger ones “This is how you deal with life”. And little ones captured from bigger ones “This is how you handle conflict”.

Small eyes watched how their heroes made choices and little ears heard what one speaks of and what one keeps secret. And these children gradually became their parents, absorbing their surroundings and continuing that long, interlinked unbroken chain.

It was of little importance that these choices were the source of much unhappiness.

Fear and abuse and brokenness abounded.

Heartache and alienation were the norm.

Inevitably, the craving to escape and the addictions that accompany it were commonplace, such that the family tree was littered with shattered lives.

As in all humans, those deep needs to be loved and accepted were ever present, but those needs could not be defined, were never talked about, and the means to fulfill them seemed foreign and unattainable.

And so, the family did what those before had done and what is generally always done. It continued in the vein of their family before them.

For the pattern was too strong and seemed, like gravity, to pull them into a particular path. Like an ocean current, it picked them up and carried them along to no particular destination but rather in a particular way. A current so strong that no manmade boat could possibly battle and win. And so generation continued upon generation.

Until she came along. How she did it, no one really knows, but she occupied that position so powerful that it truly has no rivals. For she was a mother.

And deep within her soul, in the very depth of her being, she decided this chain of destruction would stop with her. It need not continue. No more would life be dominated by hopelessness and brokenness. For her children would start a new chain. A new way.

A new path for future generations to follow that was defined by love and acceptance and hope and freedom. She would not only teach it but live it.

And her children would capture it and show their children. And that long, dark, seemingly invincible chain would finally and forever be broken and an entirely new direction would be embarked upon.

And it would start with her.

Rex alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is