A House Divided Against Itself


“A house divided against itself cannot stand.

I believe this government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided”.

 Abraham Lincoln – In his speech to the Senate in June 16, 1858

In more modern terms, if we can break down the unity of any group, whether it is country, politicians, organizations, businesses and not the least, families – we are in the dealing of breaking that group down.

“Ex Unitate Vires” – in unity there is strength.  Meaning, that any group who stand firmly together, these cannot be broken down.

What then, is the lesson for you and me in our daily lives?

I once met with a family who had faced a very tough situation that they had to deal with and it came upon them very suddenly.

Both father and mother were the bread winners and their two daughters and two sons were going through various stages of their formal education and planning their respective futures.

In the home environment, they all got on together and each member played their part in supporting the family unit.

Life was well, although, from an economic standpoint things were not easy. After many years in his job as an electronic technician, in a mining company and feeling strongly that he had fallen into a rut, from which no recovery seemed possible; the husband was approached by a friend.

His friend, a former work colleague, said that he had a job offer for him. It turned out that his friend had landed a position, working for a mining group in Australia. The remuneration was excellent and apart from many benefits, he would receive payment in US dollars.

The husband was excited with this news and couldn’t wait to share with his wife.

His wife was equally excited, because it meant that they could easily meet their children’s university costs and also, settle their mortgage bond in a fraction of its term.

He explained that he would go through some extensive interviews here in this country and then, if he was an acceptable candidate, would face a final interview in Australia.

The young wife soon began to have doubts and fears about the dramatic change in their home life, without the presence of her husband and started to weigh these against their financial gain.

Her anxiety increased after her husband’s first interview. He would go to Australia for three months and then be allowed to return home for two weeks compassionate leave. He would return to the mine for a further three months before being allowed another three weeks to come home. From then Unity 3on he would work for a year, at the end of which time he would follow the cycle of three weeks leave for every twelve months that he was on the mine.

His friend reassured him that, in the long run, this would be the best he could do for himself and his family. His friend also explained that after his first year of employment, he could apply to immigrate to Australia with his wife and children and expect a good future for all of them.

Husband and wife sat down to talk and pray. He could only see the future, when they would all be together as a family, settled in their new home. She was in a state of fear. Would she be able to live for a year, running a home, managing four young adults and holding down a her job all on her own, without a husband to turn to in her time of need.

He said that there would be far better employment opportunities for their children, once they had graduated, in a first-world country. She feared facing a long distance relationship and what effects it might have on their marriage. But she knew that what her husband was saying was true. They had often wondered about the futures of their children, but never once considered immigrating.

They prayed and finally came to the conclusion, that if this was the family destiny, then the husband would qualify for the position and that as they had prayed to God for guidance – this would be the best for them all.

One evening, two weeks after their discussion, the husband came into the kitchen, almost out of breath with excitement. “I’ve been selected among three candidates to go to Australia for a final interview. I have the edge on the other candidates, because of my mining experience and, of course, that I have been personally recommended”.

The wife said, “Darling, I’m so proud of you, well done”! As she said these words, she felt a heaving in her stomach. Excusing herself, she rushed to the bathroom and retched. After a few minutes, her husband banged on the door, “Katie, are you alright, may I come in”? “Please, just wait a while, I’ll be out shortly and yes, I’m fine thank you”.

At supper there was much chatter and banter about Dad’s Aussie trip. The wife and their eldest son were the only two that were less than enthusiastic. The eldest at one point, looked at his Father and said quietly, his eyesUnity 2 misting up, “Dad, how will we manage without you”?

The father looked at his son and said, “All of us at some time or another in our lives, are called to be brave and face a situation that often appears at first sight, to be very frightening. It is experiences like these that make us better and stronger people”. It is these times that also produce opportunities for us; if we bow down to fear and close our eyes, we will miss those opportunities. Your Dad would much prefer to remain here at home with Mum and you, our special family, but he too has to face up to his fears. His fears of going to a strange country, where apart from one friend, he knows no one. His fears of the loneliness he will face being away from Mum and all of you for such long periods. But your Mum and Dad know that it has to be done, so that we can all look to a better future. Each one of us, seated around this table, has begun to fear for our present future in terms of my job offer, no one less than the other.

But there is a very strong factor working in our favour. We are a family; we will stand together and will not be divided by fear. I have loved your Mum from the day I set eyes on her and in twenty years of marriage, that has never changed. Mum and I have loved each one of you from the time you arrived in her womb until now and that will continue as long as we live.

It took a great deal of courage and trust for Mum and I to decide, that if my application was successful, I must go”.

There was a stunned silence around the table and the Father noticed as he looked around at his fearful, vulnerable little family, the children’s heads were bent down; only his wife looked at him, with deep love and pride, tears running down her cheeks.

This is a series and will continue next week, look out for it…..

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