Shane Claiborne’s amazing passage on “a third way” feels as inspiring as it does devastating. I am facing but not yet fully accepting the reality- that healing and connection are not values shared by my family of origin (FOO). Awareness without acceptance is hell 100% . Dominance, rightness, appearance of… I am not sure what, are values fought strongly to be revered and maintained. So it is only a little shocking that a war/ angry crusade against me ensued with my request to heal and connect/a refusal to pretend and to yield to my sister(no shocker that I married someone so similar) who must be right and in charge–at all costs. The greatest damage is to my children and then to our 85 year old, cancer fighting mother, for whom my female sibling claims she is “doing this”. Her demand for peace is actually a well-backed threat– that I pretend-or else.
And, because I have a God, that is not her, I cannot abide. Her unwholesome contact with the man whom I divorced and was abused by is a testament to her desire for peace, connection, unity for our family– not wholesome or gracious in spirit. Initially, I was mortally wounded. But, now, I am embarrassed for her more than hurt. How do you get right with yourself after a stunt of this nature, fawning clumsily over my ex from the moment she laid eyes on him? Yikes. What she has done and is doing was as predictable as it is divisive and still if ever there was an initiative to repair the relationship, I would be there. The current dynamic heightens tension between my ex and me, as co-parents, which is harmful to our sons and perpetuates the divide between our mother and me. The only people experiencing peace are my sister and my ex. It is this mentality to which I respond with divorce. Total Detachment(at a behavioral level).
(my sister and mother) willing to enlisting my children to engage in the betrayal of their mother is a threat to their well-being. Sadly, my ex who is the moral and emotional equivalent of my sister is more than happy to connect at my expense…but the thing is, it is at our sons’ expense. See, my love for my boys and for God is infinitely greater than my dislike of him or my sister, or a need to get even. They have bonded in their well-masked/poised/denied rage- my boys’ father and my sister are reacting only to their lost ability to co-erce me into submission or provoke me the point of flipping out, to shift the focus from their misdeeds to some over-the-top reaction by me. I have now learned to master that one with the tools of recovery. Hi-yah! They have never admitted to being hurt or angry. Because, well they are just so strong, like that. Yes, I am angry and hurt. And I will be until I am not.
Fortunately, I guess, my children are gifted by the organic opportunities to talk with me about and to name acts of betrayal, healing, and our shared commitment to serve as loving witnesses. So it is not for naught, I suppose. They receive messages daily from me as well as school, that they must never be silent bystanders to the bullying or exclusion of another—and yet they are called to do so with my FOO, by my sister and their father. They are reminded by me that if they feel uncomfortable- by pretending that it is normal and ok to not mention me- that anyone with compassion would feel awkward and confused by such an arrangement.
The deeply compassionate and kind spirits of my young sons are too precious to not guard fiercely. They recognize and point out daily moments when people are angry–almost always because of a failure to control another person. I love love love this!!! Credible sources recognize that addicts, alcoholics, and abusers have in common many things–one of which is having had a deeply painful or shameful experience, in which they were never able to share or understand what and why. Alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, food, abusing others are just some of the ways to manage the unspeakable pain. Mental Health and addiction issues are genetically probable outcomes for our children. I can have no affect on there genes, but what I do and say will matter greatly. I refuse to knowingly groom them for addiction and abuse, by asking them to hide or deny their own unique emotional experiences.
The passage above is by Shane Claiborne; Book of Common Prayer- A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. I cannot help but marvel at how much I am learning about Jesus that I find comforting…inspiring and beautiful. Also, as a follower and student of Anne Lamott’s every word, I get to say (and mean) Hallelujah Anyway. I do pray, many times a day, sometimes just Help, Thanks, Wow. This practice came to me late in life along with a power greater than
Those who seek daily to know Jesus and understand his goodness are of great comfort. Those who enforce their will as his are not fair representations of Christianity, maybe more similar to the Romans who crucified him. I think my sister and my ex are the Romans, only more discreet in their crucifying antics. Thank Gawd for all those who seek and strive for something, a religion, spirituality, faith in a high-power that inspires honoring the dignity each person deserves, driving acts of wholesome love, wisdom, and the elevation of all others.
Growing up in a home where it was asserted that Christians are hateful morons, I was convinced that anyone wearing a cross or uttering Jesus, was stupid and wanted to hurt me. Until quite recently, I was certain that all (highly visible and punishable) hate crimes were surely committed by Christians, white ones. I see now how threatening it would have been, how disruptive to the broken system of theirs, if I would have connected with a loving and healing God and those who shared the Faith. How different my life would have been. I may never identify myself as a Christian, but I definitively am a lover of Jesus♥ the embodiment of kindness to all…because all are worthy. Jesus is the ultimate Wholesome Badass. Amen! Click on Amen to read details of my sister’s answered prayers.Much Love,
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