“You know family. Even when you hate them, you still love them.”
– Old Lady, Supernatural
Season 11, Episode 23, “A and Ω”
We never even know the name of this random old lady who offers this piece of wisdom. Of course, neither does the old lady know that she is talking to a primordial power of the universe disguised as a human woman, so I suppose it all balances out. 😛
The old lady lost her husband a few years ago, so she has suffered loss, and her son keeps nudging her towards going to live in a retirement home, “aka where they send old people to die.” It might not seem so terrible from her son’s perspective – doubtless he just wants to rest easier with the knowledge that his mother is being constantly well-cared for – but he underestimates how much his persistent suggestion hurts his mother in her heart. The woman she’s talking to asks if she hates her son. She answers that she might, a little, but… well, they’re family. She loves him even when she’s mad at him and feeling hurt by him.
That’s what family does. Even when feeling slighted, they find a way to deal with each other.
In the story, this simple exchange actually helps save the universe by encouraging the reconciliation of two cosmically-powerful beings, a brother and sister. Their relationship is not so different from the old lady and her son. Skimming over the details, they have always loved each other too, but the one felt slighted and acted out in anger, forcing a severe response from the other. Now their feud has come to a head, and all of creation is threatened.
In the end, though, they’re both able and willing to have a simple, honest, heartfelt conversation, healing the rift between them. They’re both genuine in this, so they’re able to let go of the pain and the hurt, and become a real family again.
Family is about love, which is about sacrifice and forgiveness, both of which are about humility.
It does us no good to hold onto grudges and pain. All these can do is keep us divided and in agony.
We must forgive and be forgiven if we are to find happiness together.
That is love.
That is family.