still< I want more

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I am spoiled. Wasted. Ruined.
Continuously wondering what is the purpose of this one life of mine?
To love God above all.And love your neighbor. As You Love Yourself.
I worry, I’m tainted, and I am lost.  How do I love?
I don’t choose it, but my mind cannot let it go.
The thought is present as I wake. Even now I am defeated and lost.

Depression sucks the marrow of my bones, unhurriedly.
I’ve wanted nothing more than to be useful.
Or have I lied to myself, even now.
Have I wanted importance? Recognition.  Esteem. Significance.
Dare I admit motherhood was never enough?

And as I struggled with deep-rooted interior, from childhood grief, in ruins.
My soul further decays.

So I pray. And Prayer becomes a mantra, habitual and constant.
Bursting with the ache, the existential whys.

The catastrophe is long over, decades ago.
He’s been dead
another decade as well.
Still, the Destruction stands on top of me. Crushing daily energy,

Still, I want more.
Where is the freedom that comes from all this mindfulness?
I fell like I am captive to my past, my psyche ruined.

Or is it only in my mind?

New: When God Seems Silent

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 1.

 I have not lost hope though I have lost the ability to hear God. Whether God is silent, which I doubt, or whether the pain throbs too loudly in my heart’s chamber to hear, I don’t know.

What my family is experiencing is not suffering. Life is hard and this distinction is important to me. There is true suffering going on in the world.  This is not that.

 2.

There are people who I like to call Shiny Happy Christians. I don’t understand them in any way, except to say they must not have not experienced real pain. Not yet. I’m uncomfortable around them, but I don’t blame them. Pain and suffering in this life is random I believe.

The randomness of pain is poignant when you are the one experiencing its sting.

3.

Life is misery, life is joy.

For much of my life I thought: “If I was better child. If I were pure of heart” then my father would be less angry and controlling. And my mother would come alive again. And perhaps I would feel less of the constant melancholy that clouded my days. But my actions, my heart, my prayers, my understanding of the Bible seemed to change nothing in my mother or father and the melancholy hovered, always.

My faith became ritual. I began to doubt God. I never thought, in my teen years, WHY was our family so sad, and angry, and afraid, and dangerous? Rather, I supposed that I must deserve this pain somehow.

Oddly, this ache drew me to God, the “Man of Sorrows,” hoping surely God would take my hand and lead me through the darkest valleys of my melancholy heart.

In college my depression worsened to the point of hardly holding on to learning. My father’s disappointment in me increased. The panic and dread I experienced when I was with him made me constantly sick to my stomach.

He took control of my life, as he had each step of it, including attending college. It was not that I didn’t want to learn but the cloud that had hung over me for most of my life was bleak and heavy.  It made college nearly impossible.

My father had always controlled my outcomes. I wasn’t in control and by the looks of it neither was God. All those year, my Dad didn’t change from the raging and controlling man he was at home. No matter how often I prayed.

 4.

From Tim Keller, I see with total clarity that the Bible, which I have always loved and studied, has suffering as a main theme. I hadn’t seen this though in certain books I have found solace. The Psalms has offered prayers when I had no words.  Ecclesiastes is empathetic.  Job holds truth.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalms. 34:18

 The great truth which I am clinging to today is that even in Job, his sufferings were not punitive.  As Keller wrote the purpose of Job’s suffering is an “enlarged life with God.”

Though God is silent these days, I find it is more important than ever to read the people of God who lead us into greater understanding in our faith, Keller being one.  Beyond that, I sit in silence no matter how uncomfortable.

I have found fifteen minutes breathing in and out, and in and out, again.  This supports a quieting of my mind.  Perhaps you like me have thoughts  that clutter up your head and worries push their way in. Allowing yourself just fifteen minutes of quiet is a stunning exercise.

In the in breath ask God to SPEAK.  In the out breath, release your doubts and fears. Let yourself be there.

To me this is prayer.   This is clinging.  This is dependence.  This is hope.

Even when God seems silent.

P.S.

My Psychiatrist and I have cut my antidepressant dose in half. It has taken about a two weeks and I already feel emotions. Although they are not all positive emotions, at least they are feelings. And I can focus enough to read!  I am reading Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller. I’ll be writing my way through the personal insights I gain from this book in the next few weeks.

{This is for the Dads. I See You}

This blurry pic, a copy of a copy, is my father holding my son.  You cannot see it from this cropped copy but they are sitting on the floor.

This is for the dads, I see you.

Recently at wedding of two friends it hit me.  I’m past the feeling of broken-heart-ache when I see tiny babies.  For nearly a decade each time I saw a newborn I’d practically lactate with longing for just one more child.  My body kept telling me it needed another baby—even after two miscarriages, three unbelievable and healthy children, an exquisite step daughter, (who is now twenty-five, but only five when we met.)

and yet my body kept crying for more. 

At this wedding I noticed for the first time I was no longer at risk for snatching someone’s infant from them, out of a need to smell that baby’s goodness.

I tried holding a baby that night and my mother magic was gone.  I couldn’t console that child and I think that he read my fear.

This is for the dads who are afraid.

Petrified and yet cannot admit it, dads who take off work to “babysit” their own kids. But guiltily, if they’re honest, would rather go to a movie, or for a motorcycle ride or make music or read a book.  Don’t feel bad, you are taking time off work for your kids.  My dad never did that.

This is for the dads that shuffle meekly behind harried young mothers while they nurse.  Somehow showing solidarity?  I don’t quite understand it.  For the dads that never quite do it right—the bottles, the diapers, the comforting. You should understand that moms don’t mean to make you feel incompetent.

I sensed your fear, even pain, holding a baby that I could not console.  That I didn’t quite have it anymore.

Suddenly I felt weak, un-mothering, broken.  Something inside me hurt—but more than for my lost ability to have babies, I was aware of all the Dads in the room.  All the dads who perhaps feel like they don’t quite ever measure up.

This is for the dads who trudge off to work to earn an income for a family when they’d rather be making music, or writing poems, or doing whatever men do in “man caves.”  While their wives have ten year nervous breakdowns, while sitting at the pool and don’t even manage to have a meal cooked at 5 pm or throw a load of laundry in.

This is for the dads who never criticize.

This for the dads who are fair and good, “egalitarian”—mindful of their partner’s thoughts, and tears, and breakdowns, when what they really want is dinner and maybe if they’re lucky sex.

My dad, he worked. 

Came home and kicked us all around.  He didn’t listen to my mother— no matter how he pretended.  She couldn’t debate him, not about big or little things.  She was never quite good enough. When she asked for help, he told her to be stronger.

As for me, I shuffled in the background trying not to be seen.  I lost myself.  I lost perspective of my own center, that I was a human being who deserved (just as much as him) to have opinions, emotions, and take up space in the room.

I stopped breathing.

I’m a forty-six year Old Woman who was never a child.  I’m not saying it’s my father’s fault entirely, but this is to all the dads who need to know. You matter to your kids and your partner—You have power.

You can break your children. Or help them grow up into people of compassion and empathy.

You may “only” bring home the paycheck; causing your kids to think somehow you don’t care as much as mommy.

This is what I say to you Dads—Don’t buy into the bullshit of being less compassionate.  There is a type of empathy that all people have and God and nature intended.  It is not exclusive to women.  It’s not exclusive to mothers.  You may do it differently, but we need you.

This is for all the dad’s that need to know, it’s okay to let go of macho and give more hugs. To work less and BE more.  To change the diaper differently than your wife.  To cook dinner and throw in a load of laundry, listening all the while to your hapless sad wife.

This if for all the dads, no matter what the culture says, that step in the door of your home at the end of the day and get down on the floor—your kids need to know you. Stop rushing.  Say no once in a while to external things.

Be available.

This is for all the dads.  I see you.

At the end of his life, in the last months when my father was pretty sure he was dying (though he was holding out for a miracle) my Dad admitted to me this stunning truth.  That his “incompetence” as a father caused his anger and raging, his disapproval, his meanness, his perfectionist expectations; they all came from feeling like he didn’t know how to be a good dad. (Here’s a poem I wrote not long after his death titled: Good Dad, Bad Dad.)

When we were very young he stopped trying.

What a tragedy.  It’s too late for me and my dad, but it’s not too late for you.

This is dedicated to Tom.

{a message from my dead father}

Jumbles of words wake me up; clotting in me.  My body resists waking for it’s much too early.  This is my day-to-day litmus test.  How bad? Long before dawn, I am scanning for the gravity of my depression. I have always eavesdropped on myself in this way.

Somehow the heart knows, even if one has learned to shut it up, even when we deny it or work diligently to be fine in the daytime. But while asleep the soul’s true confession takes hold and those few moments before waking are clear.

The words woke me.  I need paper, pen. I am remembering Dad, how he held on to say goodbyes and even give us time to make amends.

What amends does mother need and with whom?  I push through cobwebs of my dream world; the sentience all but gone.

What were you saying, Daddy?

My daily reading in Bishop Edmond Lee Browning in A Year of Days says that we remember the dead, miss them, because we love them.

“This energy between us, the energy we call love is eternal. The soul is made of it, and it is set free from the compromises and disappointments we experience…” And, then, “They are now perfected, made entirely of the love we shared on earth and continue to share.”

It is difficult for me to imagine.

Tonya, me, Paula, and Holly with my father (L to R) in 1976.

I was a little girl longing for peace. I became invisible, on purpose. I was hoping it would help them. I disappeared into the fog, lost, alone, afraid of every turn.  Courage only came from him.  When he pushed.

I thought by disappearing I could make things better.

Recently, I have remembered frequently that day of waiting.  The endless wait to discover – would he die? Brain cancer was a death sentence and all I felt was glee, a dizzying freedom. I pierced my nose.

Silly, but somehow this marked the hour I started living. Soon I wouldn’t have to fear his

His recrimination,

disappointments

anger, even

rage.

His control and power. Her fear, his constant

pushing.

Soon he would be dead and we could live. I was glad.

In those murky, cotton filled minutes, the in-between of sleep and waking, my father was with me.

He was perfected, finally fully loved.  There was nothing to fear.

And he is gone again, but there’s a fragment here, he left for me.

It’s something we need.

He’s waiting for her, but he knows she needs more time.
…………

We’re all going to die.

My mother isn’t any closer to death than many older adults, but I realize as we face uncertainties that there are things that need finishing when you are married to a cruel, controlling megalomaniac, it is damaging to say the least.

As I sit here contemplating this visit from my father, I know full well it wasn’t really him actually visiting me in my dreams.  Perhaps my subconscious knows there are things that I can do to help my family bring needed closure, healing, last words, even forgiveness – I don’t know.

I remain open.

When my father was ill, I read a powerful and important book, Final Gifts, written by hospice nurses Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley. I learned a lot from their intimate experiences with patients at the end of life. It shaped me profoundly. I saw him hold on for certain goodbyes.  I saw him waiting for particular conversations.  And finally, I saw him go when he felt finished.

My father is a part of me.  He made me into what I am.

I stopped living out of fear and now I know I have to begin again.

[BE FEARLESS]

4559My word for 2012 was ABUNDANCE.

Even as I chose that word — abundance, I wasn’t totally sure; seriously, what was I thinking resounded the echoing voices?

I have never lived a so-called abundant life.  Was it even possible?

Most of my childhood, and early adulthood, I spent afraid, crouching. And I’ve been unable to choose joy, as I’ve cringed and cried my way through recent years, even while overcoming, learning, and growing, I’ve been afraid. Even as I have healed  Even as I’m being birthed into someone I don’t recognize and it is sweet and good, more and more fear.

I came from a Daddy who was sometimes hard, sometimes mean, mostly lacking the sweetness a daddy ought to bring to a child’s life; just hanging out and loving on his kids.  Simple enjoying one another, like what I see between my kids and their dad. It’s not perfect, but it is affectionate and safe.  My father meant well, I’m sure that he did.

“He didn’t mean to” I used to tell myself.  And he could be sweet, sometimes. Affirmed beyond your wildest dreams, speaking out loud what felt like a prophetic word.  “You’re going be something.  You’re doing to do things.  You are going to do great things.  And, if by chance you don’t, well I’ll still love you.”  Yes, he said those words whispering dreams into my soul, of “big things” as he crushed my spirit with his rages and cruelty.

I suffered and staggered my way into adulthood afraid of living.

I could explain it all away — it was his insecurities, his megalomania, and his extreme self-centeredness   But never mind.

My spirit was crushed along the way and it wasn’t until he died that I began to really breathe in and exhale enough air, to live, to grow, to let go of the grip I had on trying to control everything.

And Mother, she was cool, soft and sometimes tender, but withdrawn and far, far away from us most of the time. She was expressively absent, though present physically.  He was absent physically but Always There looming, controlling, hurting.

It has taken me a long, wandering road of building trust with God, believing – truly that Jesus loves me.  Daddy has had to be dead a long time.  Trust of any kind, is hard-earned. And hard-won.

FEAR: an emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger usually accompanied by a desire to flee.

That was my life.

I choose these annual words now like an elixir, a Magical idea, that will heal my broken soul.

I want abundance, brazenly.

I want to be fearless.

I want laughter. I want to have more fun.  Dare I say it, I want JOY,

audacious, defiant and powerful solace!

I want to create beauty, unafraid.

I want to believe in life’s possibilities, impudently.

I want to write unique and beautiful things, boldly.

So this year, 2013, is about being fearlessness.

I don’t know how, even now. I am sick with it.  Stomach and heart burning inside, where there are still big voices saying it is impossible for me. And brick walls surround my heart.

I am terrified to give up my fear.    But that’s the journey, that’s the tiny bit of trust in the Holy.  That’s what I hear — be fearless.  That’s what I need.

To be

FEARLESS, yes, that is what I want for 2013.

(Perhaps not surprisingly, but it did shock me, I have written 175 items on FEAR.  I’ll be collecting them to see what themes arise, but this is one:  Let your Fear Fly Free

{Forgiving is a Miracle: Courageous and Holy. “When Daddy’s Rage”}

We are not too old to take courage.

We are not too late to sacrifice.

We are not too lost to reach out to each other and linger on the rim of time.

– Ann Voskamp

As I read those words this morning I was thinking instantly of my relationship with my Dad — gone since May, 2003. He was a tortured soul in many ways or perhaps I just didn’t understand him.

It was when he was dying that he admitted to me that he often felt righteous in his anger and raging at us.  All this reminded me of something I wrote several years ago. I share it now.

———————————————————————————–

Forgiveness of grave acts of injustice can feel like an abstract concept to those who have not experienced those acts. (PRISM magazine)

My pastor said yesterday … that anger and the need to retaliate when someone has hurt you is “normal” even as normal as the reflexes a doctor checks when she taps on our knees during a check-up.  Normal.

I hate that word – “Normal”.  I don’t understand the use of it.  It is a bit reckless to say anything is normal these days when people have such diverse experiences and upbringings. But think I understand what he was trying to say, that a wish for vindication when you have been hurt is a healthy response.  But even that doesn’t sound quite right.  It is a human response?

But what response should one have to being hurt or abused or rebuked or shamed or yelled at — retaliation?  No, I think he means a human response to lighter stuff.  If you are being gossiped against it is “human” to want to strike back.

When I think about my childhood, I think the healthy response is to shrink and cower.

One learns to hide, to disappear, and to not be the object of Dad’s attention.  Perhaps this response is not “normal” but it sure was reflexive for me. That’s why it is hard to hear that wanting revenge is a normal, human response.  If that is indeed what my pastor meant.

Then, as I look back, I see that THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES when I wanted a sort of revenge with my father and mother.  I have carried fear of my father for as long as I can remember and an anger at my mom for not protecting us.  And a kind of fury.  I used to have rage dreams all the time. On the really rare occasion I will have them still, but they are thankfully now years in-between.

The powerlessness that comes from having a father who never admitted he was wrong creates that anger and sense of worthlessness.

It is not worth trying to explain yourself.

It is not worth having your own opinion.

It is not worth expending energy because nothing really matters, nothing really matters at all.

I am so glad I am past that.

It’s just too bad my father had to die for me to come to this place.

I carry a huge feeling of loss that I never knew sweetness in my relationship with my dad.  I loved him out of fear and a wish to please him.  I know he loved me.  But he just – couldn’t – help himself? If it is true he couldn’t help himself, I wish he could have let God help him.

I miss him now, as I ponder what could have been.  He really was a dear man, loved by so many around the world who were his friends and never knew the secret rage he carried inside him.  I’m glad that many people didn’t know – in a way – because Dad accomplished many good things, helped many people, was loved by many.  God why did you take him so young?  Sixty-two?

I hope it wasn’t simply so that I could live. No, I don’t really think God works like that.  It was a convergence of events coming together to give him cancer and take him.  And my ability to heal, to forgive — I have to believe that I might have come to it even if my dad was still here.  Perhaps it would have taken longer, but it would have come.  Eventually.

I have forgiven my father and then I think of my mother who still has a story to tell.  I don’t know if anyone would believe her, but she has so much in her life story that could be helpful to others.  Surely we can’t be the only ones in this situation, caught between a person who does good things and has their secrets A Christian leader who means well but whose home life isn’t right, isn’t right at all?  That’s our story

IN THE END what needs to be said is this: Forgiveness is what each Christ follower is asked to do in response to the forgiveness Jesus extends to us.  It is not easy.  It can take a long time.  It often depends on the emotional health of the person doing the forgiving.  It always depends on all the factors surrounding the situation and each person has to sort that out, often with the help of a pastor or a counselor.

I have been in therapy of one sort or another, off and on, for twenty-five years!  Wow, that’s crazy sounding but it’s true.

Pulling back the layers of pain,

the years of stagnation and lack of healthy growth as a human being,

the crazy mixed up ideas,

the strange perspectives and opinions picked up over the years.

The times of resisting God.  Or not being willing to obey God.

And finally, I came to a point of decision, for myself – without the guilt, or fear or coercion of others, but in complete obedience to God.

Forgiveness, it’s messy.  It’s damn difficult. But it is so sweet, when finally healing, forgiveness and the mercy of Jesus come down.

And you begin anew. And your story continues…

I am still left with where rage comes from? What makes a daddy hurt us so bad?

I have pondered my father’s strange rage for many years.  I cannot pretend to have answers and obviously I cannot ask him.  But I have a friend who works with incest survivors.  She has a very special ministry. My father always said that he was sexually abused as a child, by a minister in his church.  I never believed him.  But I asked my friend about this and she said:  “When a person admits to this as an adult, they are telling the truth.  They have no reason to lie.”

No reason to lie.  She also said very often anger like that comes from abuse in the past.

I don’t know if it is true but I cannot ignore this about forgiveness, about following Jesus into radical loving.

Paula Huston says: “Regarding the tender souls of children, Jesus says in a passage that can be read as referring either to young human beings or to “baby” Christians: ‘Things that cause people to sin will inevitably occur.  It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.’ (Luke 17:1-3)  The roots of our adult sin patterns are often to be found in the still-gaping wounds of childhood.”

So perhaps my father was hurt as a child.  And I was a child, crushed by his pain and hurt, as he took it out on his family in his rage and anger.

At some point we are each responsible to work through our experiences and get to a point of healing.

Again, from Huston:

“Then, and only then (after the process to be sure) we can see the other person as “a human being, no matter how degraded, a fellow soul made in the image and likeness of the God we adore.”

“God causes his sun to fall on both the good and the evil, and his rain to fall on both the righteous and unrighteous.” (Phooey, I can’t remember the reference.)

The longer we shut up our heart against the one that has hurt us the closer we come

to losing our own heart,

our humanity,

even our life.

And for some even our minds.

These things happened to me in the form of depression, alcoholism, and self-loathing and disgust; a misery of life, abject poverty of soul. I was a dead man walking.

There is hope, found in Jesus at the cross.  Laying those things down, the heavy burden of pain, of picturing yourself putting your pain at Jesus’ feet.  If you truly give it to God, release it when you can and

be ready for miracles!

MELODY

** Some people have a hard time picturing things in their mind’s eye.  If that is true for you I would urge you to watch the movie THE MISSION.  That movie changed my life.  I believe it will give you a picture of your pain and lack of forgiveness as those heavy pieces of armor that the priest dragged up a water fall as penance.  Whenever I begin to forget what my bitterness and anger, lack of forgiveness are doing to me, I can see in my mind’s eye that sack of armor.  No one can live that way.  No one should live that way.  No one needs to live that way.  I did for so long.

{My Father is Dead} A Remembrance on Father’s Day

“I will not leave you orphaned… I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left–feeling abandoned, bereft… I’m leaving you well and whole.” — John 14

My father is dead
but he is alive in my head.
He haunts me.
I often wish I could kill him 
off for good, then I remember how much
I miss him.

My father is alive. In my heart and in my head.  And in the quick stream of my soul,
where pain rushes, he lives.  The deep scars of his voice,
the disappointed echo in the canyons of my mind
is strong.
I just want to be well and whole, I cry.

My father is dead
but he is alive in my head.
And on those days when every child needs a father, I cling
to an image of him smiling
at me, he is
enjoying
a brief moment of respite from the demons
that terrorized him.
(And us.)

My father is dead, but still he bullies
(me.)  I think,
he never meant to hurt anyone.
I think,
he’s watching me, from afar.
I hope he’s happy with me (now, finally.)

My father is dead, but he’s alive
every day that I go on strong, loving, powerful, a remnant
of him. Memories fade.
Forgetting is sometimes good.
But he left us so much more that we must remember.

My father is alive
in me.

MELODY

Other things I have written about my father.

{When Did you First Believe that God is Male?} #mutuality2012

Where do we form our ideas about God?  And more importantly when?  How young does it begin to register in your head and heart, your idea of God as a masculine figure and that your daddy is also male? How did they become so mixed together, mingled and intertwined?

And I asked myself today.  How do you pull them apart, which you must for a variety of reasons but most of all because you don’t know how to pray to that God. You don’t know that God.

What if you grew up feeling that you will never measure up, never have a day in your small, inconsequential life of being good enough, no matter what you do.  What if you grew up believing that your life, whatever you become, whatever you might

Hope for, dream or wish, whatever you might be today isn’t enough? 

What if you have believed since you were a very young girl, that all your striving will make Daddy love you more and yet it doesn’t work? Did not work.  What then?

What if you learned that God isn’t male What if God isn’t just a daddy or a father but a mother, a healer, even a lover?  God is something beyond our comprehension, wild and incredible, beyond imagination.

How are we to pull those ideas apart, with their

Deep Roots that have grown up all over us, entangled

with one another, clinching our chest tighter year after year – strangling,

smothering,

killing you.

I know that I cannot separate these things.  In my human effort it’s impossible to make my shouting, critical, mean-spirited, controlling, effortlessly (it seemed) horrible and cruel daddy to stop.

I have to throw that idea away.  I have to toss that idea of human daddy being God or or God being like my daddy, toss it far into the ocean with all the other idols I have collected in my life.  I’ve got a few, but this one is a huge Monster of an idol and in my power I cannot even lift it, to toss it away into the vast murky universal ocean.

I cannot.

So I sit here, on the beach.  My feet sandy, my toes getting wet just a little, I pick up a pebble and fling it as far as I can.  I do not see how far flies, but I know that it is gone.

My hand is empty.

I imagine that I hear it fall, then swirl down into the waves, the tide pulling it out, further and further away

from me.

That’s how far I toss the idol of my human daddy being my God.

Out of my mind.

out of my heart,

out of my life,

daddy’s gone.  Human-daddy-formed-god, to be replaced with …

Something New, that I do not know yet.

“God is not limited by gender because God is Spirit.” – Mimi Haddad

I want to know that God.

So I am going to stay here on the beach a little while longer waiting, hoping, dreaming, believing that this God, who I cannot even comprehend yet, wants to know me.

Melody

“The point of the incarnation was that Christ represents your flesh and mine. Perhaps for this reason, Christ’s self-appointed name was most frequently Son of Man (anthropos—humankind) not Son of Male (aner). Gendered deities were part of the Greek dualistic system, which Jesus, as your flesh and mine, stands against.”  – Mimi Haddad, CBE

{When You’re Not Qualified to be Alive}

So I’m trying something new.  Picking a subject at random that I seem to obsess about or fixate on, something that grips my imagination in compulsive and ugly ways, (I started with one of my secret obsessions.) I’ll write honestly without  a lot self-editing or controlling “the message” to see what comes out.  No answers. No over spiritualizing.  Just the real, gritty, sometimes awkward me. I’m trying to push myself in my style to loosen up a little. Have you noticed that I take myself a bit too seriously? This is my second excursion into a different kind of real. 

Parenting surely is the most difficult job I’ve ever had.  Many times in a day I think “I am not qualified.” But it’s too late, for those regrets.

No one is qualified to be a parent, not really. 

Yesterday, I was reflecting on our exceptionally verbal, strong as steel, at times tyrannical daughter  who is so like my father!  I just wanted to fall down on my knees, humbled by my own lack.  Again, as if a prayer, whispering this time as a lament: I am not qualified to be a mother.

I went through most of my life in some strange, surreal auto pilot. 

I went through forty years utterly afraid of life.  I sometimes think back, strange as it sounds and wonder aloud how I even survived the catastrophes of living in our home.  My father’s spirit and soul crushing rage destroyed me, my personality and I spent many years just grieving who I might be, might have been.  That sort of grief is debilitating.

Oh there were moments, especially outside of home, where I found  parts of myself.  I loved my youth pastor; he listened to me and allowed for my incessant questions about the Bible. He listened to my ideas and fears.  He never once yelled at me, or told me my sarcasm or sense of humor or quick thinking and verbal sparring was bad.  He somehow validated me and I loved him.

But for the most part I went through my tens and twenties and thirties heart-sick, depressed, and afraid.

So when my daughter rages at me (I told you she is like my dad) or the world, or she stands up to me, or questions … every little thing, a small part of me is cheering inside!!

She is alive.

She is breathing, kicking and screaming, going into the world believing that her thoughts, her questions, her jokes, her ideas matter and for that I am so pleased.

She is alive and I am slowly coming alive too.  I believe my father had to die for me to begin living.  A new friend, after hearing about the childhood that I had said to me yesterday “It’s a wonder that I have any faith at all.”

I am simply grateful I am alive.  Yes, this life of believing is really hard; harder for me than it seems to be for many people I know.  I’ve come to accept and understand this to be a part of what makes me, me.  And yes, this is something I embrace.

I may not be qualified, but I am grateful to be alive.

Phantom Love

You can’t just say you love me. Love isn’t words.
Love is time — spent over the span of a life.
Words are a phantom love.

I can’t mend your hurting heart.
I don’t even know why I should try.
Empty, adrift. You are searching for something.
Crying out, and I hear you.
But I cannot help.

You can’t just say I’m sorry.

Love is known through a lifetime of being, searching, knowing.
Love is acceptance. Endurance. Forgiveness.
Each of these is evident — if you love.

What is it that I am to you?
Do you feel you cannot provide for me the things I crave?
I am fully aware and accepting, that I am the woman you both shaped over time.
Strong. Capable. Faithful.
Afraid. Careful. Wounded.

You don’t have to heal me, that task is all mine.
All you have to do is BE,
with me,
in my life.

You can’t just say you love me – show me, you don’t regret, that I am.

Show me.
Just be.
With me.

 

 

(May 21, 2008)