This past Sunday, rather than attending the regular service, I sat in on the Middle School Group of girls at a new church, with a larger Youth Program than the church which we’ve been attending. The girls were precious: wholesome, courageous, and vulnerable, as they shared about belonging, and not belonging. Their innocence was grand and it literally made me weep. I cried for myself and for my boys and for all people whose innocence was neither protected nor prioritized –and whose faith in goodness was therefore compromised. I can not get back my innocence, but with spiritual recovery, I now live in faith and the by product of that is courage. Is it even possible to be courageous without faith?
I worry for my boys’ spiritual development. They receive heavy praise and incentives for looking good, receiving good grades and for athletic participation. The lies of perfectionism loom large – insisting that appearances are what matter most. I cannot be the only one in their worlds wanting them to value and choose honesty, kindness, and courage over the easier things.
I was deeply touched when my older son recently received something from somebody and he expressed, privately to me, that he did not want it. I told him that they were being generous, to which he responded, I don’t care about his generosity. I’d rather him to be kind to me, more than generous– and he did not want that thing-at all. While I treasure his depth of character, I recognize that evolving in this way, is risky, as my sons come from long lines of people who judge emotional sensitivity and vulnerability as weak and defective.
Denial of Compensation for un-lovingness is managed through incongruously generous gestures. It is a total mindfuck to receive gifts or gestures from people whom you experience as uncaring and unkind.
Interestingly, my younger son DGAF if someone is unkind or hurtful, he will literally accept invitations to play and offerings from someone who has just betrayed and physically assaulted him. No joke. He would play basketball with his bully at school in fourth grade—because he likes b-ball. I cannot relate. What is also true about him is his inability to acknowledge difficult feelings, his or anyone else’s. He is enraged if asked what is wrong and will insist that it is nothing and that the question itself is what upset him. This is also true of my sister and his father. They act as if they believe that speaking of an issue, speaks it into existence.
I had warned my boys years ago to never ask their father or my sister unless they genuinely wished to cause problems. My younger son used to be sensitive and mindful of how others felt. I can not know if this shift came with age and coincided with my family drama or if it was the result.
I suspect that my older son’s spiritual development will separate him from those who are not ready and awake. But, I believe he is strong and it is worth it, to raise bold and sensitive humans. The right people are already ready and waiting. With much untreated mental unwellnes and addiction on both sides of their families, it seems that faith is a fine alternative. Grim determination and willfulness are dark and lonely ways of moving through the world. These are the cycles I may not break, but will gladly disrupt.Much Love,
For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/