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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

To Whom Much Is Given......

For the last few days my emotions have been gathering like a pending storm. It's not a bad thing, I assure you. We're human, we come with emotions. We all manage them every day.
I finally turned to my hubby last Sunday to talk with him about my gathering storm of emotions. I'm recording it here for our daughters.
It's time to talk about my parents. I love my (earthly) parents very much. They provided me a kind of footing in this world that was unavailable to many of my peers.
We didn't have a lot of money, but I was well cared for. I grew up attending church. I received both voice and music lessons in my early teens. I attended a few (NYC) Broadway musicals. We dined out as a family, experiencing a variety of cuisines during my childhood years.
All of our graduation ceremonies were attended to by both of my parents. Education was a very big deal to my family. I went away to college and graduated with a BA in journalism.
Our lives looked like a perfectly shiny penny to outsiders. However, we were far from perfect. My story is not new. I have been amazed by just how common my story is. There was alcoholism, violence and pedophilia. It was traumatizing for all of us. But we lived to tell. And to forgive.
Here's the thing. Physical scars heal much quicker than emotional scars. After a few years, some physical scars are barely noticeable to the naked eye. Ah! But emotional scarring? That's a whole other ball of wax.
Like I said, I love my parents. In their own way and as best they could, they've loved me too.
One of my sister-friends recently posted a quote by Frederick Douglas on her FB wall:
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
My parents were broken. They didn't mean to, but they almost broke me too. But God had other plans, so here I am.
It's easy to forget about children who are living in non-traditional, non-ideal and/or precarious situations until something unusual occurs to make them news-worthy. Sometimes their news is good (success), sometimes it's bad (tragedies). My guess is there are probably hundreds of thousands of us.
Unlocking My Heart
I grew into a kind of stoicism as a woman. I cried so often as a young adult, that I came to hate my own tears. (I may have gone overboard with my stoic ways.) I don't even cry at funerals. But human emotions can be tricky and unpredictable.
In honor of my baptism, I recently received a few gifts from another of my sister-friends. Her kind gesture triggered a switch in my heart. I fought valiantly to hold my emotions in check for a few days and I actually did okay .... until last Sunday, while talking with my husband. I didn't bawl, okay? But I just could not stop the tears from streaming.
During my college years my parents grudgingly released their authority over me. They surprised me by being angry about my newly acquired autonomy. Though we never completely lost touch when I became an adult, I did keep a physical and emotional distance away from them.

We were indefinitely pissed off with one another, having no plan on how we might reconnect.
As time healed my wounds and as my own children grew older, my heart began to soften. One full year after I stopped drinking, just when my oldest was about to graduate from university, I invited my parents back in to my life.
Seeing that all had been forgiven, my parents were ecstatic. Me? Not so much. Our roles had changed. Now I was a grownup and expected to do better, if I knew better (yuck!). My parents would now get to act like little people in need of my patience and attention (what the ?!) They had no desire to pick up where they left off with parenting.
I had an epiphany. They didn't know how and they weren't gonna try to learn at this late date. They just wanted to be my friends. (Not brimming with love-for-me-friends, just friends).
I had to accept that. We learned to love each other gingerly, slowly and with a respectful distance.
Throughout the years Heavenly Father has sent earthly angels to replace the love I've occasionally lacked. Even when I shut Him out, God never ever stopped loving me. He blessed me with my own loving heart and the most amazing husband a girl could dream of.
And yet..... I did try to keep locked the part of my heart which still yearns, the way an infant stretches their arms, expecting to be picked up.
Consequently, when my baptism gifts came, my sealed heart began to rumble and my tears really flowed. I am reminded, to whom much is given, much is expected in return (Luke 12:48).
Thank God for discernment. Who'da thunk my pain would have come to be of any use? My heart is cleansing itself for a reopening.
Have you ever closed your heart and reopened it again?

Mama & Me at Twinkle's College Graduation
May 2011


Pedaling said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

i think i have closed my heart and re-opened it again a few times (i can think of 3 times in particular)..and, each time, by re-opening my heart -aka forgiving- i thought i was gracing a gift from me to the other person---you know the one who had wronged me!!
only to find that by forgiving - i ended up with the gift, as i was released from the anger that bogged me down in SO many ways.

love that scripture you referenced in I think of often.

watching you I see someone who is just ready to embrace all that is good- who recognizes familiar truth, who is willing to open her heart, let go of the garbage and enjoy life!

so, a BA in journalism?--i should have guessed that.

Granny Annie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You are an inspiration.

Nikki said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Amazing post and so heart felt! Your story truly is an inspiration and once again a must read....posting on my fb page!! Big hug and thank you so much for sharing! Love you! :)N

mCat said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Your words certainly triggered something on my own mind. My relationship with my mother as well. Not stellar. Still tiptoeing our way around and trying to figure out the right balance. Sadly it took me until I was 40 something to realize that she did the best she could. Mistakes and all, she didn't intentionally try to hurt us or allow us to be hurt, she just did the best. I have to remind myself of that all the time, so I continue to keep a soft heart.

namaste said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

pedaling, so true about forgiveness being a gift that works both ways. open hearts are funner than closed hearts. i'm so glad we both have ours open. yes, that luke scripture has been booming in my head since forever. haha! i can't get away from it! you've mentioned my blue nails and now my BA. thanks & thanks ;-)

annie, you're one of the angels. thanks!

nikki, thanks for linking me. you are truly awesome sauce! that's maria-speak for you ROCK!

mcat, i'm not gonna lie, some days i HATE being the bigger person. but my heart won't let me feed my ego any longer. thanks for opening your heart and identifying.