I have lived many sad years, decades actually. Life, even on the most special of days, has been that, for me. So, when asked what is my saddest day, I had to take time to think. My saddest day was maybe the day I knowingly married someone who
“loved” me as my family had hated me. I wished I could say it was the passing of either of my parents. That would be a lovely way to feel–to have known the great pain of losing of someone by whom I felt fiercely loved and to whom I believed myself to be strongly connected. My parents were not that for me. My father made it clear I was not like “everyone” else (He was mostly referring to whiteness, christianness, and southernness). And my mother and sister made sure to remind me of all the ways which I failed to be like them. There was no safe place for me. Nowhere felt good.
I guess, my saddest day ever, was the day my sons phoned me from their dad’s car, with their Aunt, whose hostile and divisive maneuvers can be explained by (but not excused) her decades of untreated addiction. It was my younger son’s birthday weekend and I had agreed to let the boys stay with their father for a Sunday dinner which, according to our legal arrangement, would have been with me.
My sons(who were typically not encouraged to call or connect with me while with their father), called to report that they were returning from dinner with my mother and sister (with whom I was not on speaking terms). The sound which emerged from me, after putting the phone down, was one which I have not made before or since. I do not have any words to communicate the feeling. There are no words to effectively describe the reaction to this level of what to me, seemed betrayal of demonic proportions.
A dinner table arranged for and by people who are angry with me, posing as a celebration for my son, and which I knew nothing of- before the call. The lie they told my children— that I had been invited and chosen not to go. The response to my email asking why they would do such a divisive thing– offering no reason, just an assassination of my character with my mother, my nieces, my ex, and his sister copied. What the fuck?!
My ex and I had worked miracles to move cross country together, as a family–so that I could help my mother and he could purchase a home of his own. In that one foul play, our work of healing was set a blaze. Ashes. Whatever it was that bonded my sister to my ex, was more important than the solidarity of healthy co-parenting, which I believe my sons deserve. The loss of that is immeasurable. The grief of what has been snatched from my sons, is typically too much to bear. I cannot get over it. It is not over. Every difficult situation and decision for them is faced and made without the blessing of parents joined for the common cause of the children’s well being. That colluding and collaboration guaranteed the impossibility of shared purpose required to work together, raising healthy children with a solid sense of belonging and connection and truth. What a mess. My children were never happier than when mom and dad sat at tables together with them and for them. Gone. Poof!
My program of recovery helps me to manage myself while in the middle of this. While I cannot fix it, I can follow program wisdom and not make it worse by expecting or demanding healing and closure with people who behave in these ways–knowingly imposing struggle, hardship, and loss.
Today in church, sin was defined for us— as a behavior which infringes negatively on another’s freedom, any choice which knowingly causes hardship for others. I have previously referred to this as unwholesome, by my own definition, and am comforted by a deeper understanding of sin. Choosing the spiritual path requires a sacrificing for others not OF others….the constant choice to do what I ought to do v. what I want to do. Anything with strong emotional appeal is typically driven by our own will, ego, envy, vanity, selfish ambition, and hunger. These are things I surrender to remain on the path and in the direction of God. That is my wish. That is my recovery and my miracle–having a path and a God.
The pastor asked us to contemplate the question(in times when we are feeling the strong emotional appeal of doing or having a thing): “What does love require of me?”. To be clear, I interpret this to mean God’s love and spirituality, not approval and the pleasure of myself and others. I see how most of my life was driven by distorted perceptions of love and connection. Because of my distorted perception and my lack of wholesome guidance and direction, my choices and attitudes were rooted in selfish and defective thinking. I had no path, only my reactions and faulty beliefs, to guide me. That is how I navigated and endured 40 years of god-less life.
In one million years, I would not have imagined a biblical quote might be something of comfort and relevance to me–or that I might savor or share. Without the sermon, to help me understand the sentiment of this, these would be just words, weird bibley words for only the christiany people.
But THIS from Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
In the church we attend, which I have heard my boys refer to as “our church”, it is continually said, that ours is a church in which you get to belong, before you believe. How amazing is that? Belonging and belief in and to something greater than ourselves—these are necessities. My boys have had removed from them, an experience based and unshakeable belief in loyalty and faithfulness of family. What will they believe? That it is ok to collaborate and triangulate against each other. ??? They have no reason to think otherwise. It is the norm on all sides of their families.
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