Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Forgive or forget?

Warning: If you know my parents, know that this is only my perspective. I am sure they have frustrations and hurts of their own. I am sure my story has inaccuracies that could be pointed out and misunderstandings on my part that could be explained away. But this is my blog, this is my struggle.


As I wrote in my last post I have found a new identity in my relationship with God. This identity is based on who I am as a child of God and what Jesus did for me on the cross. This I know is true. But what am I to do with the old identity, or more specifically, my family of origin, more specifically, my parents. Lots has happened in my 30 something years on earth that has hurt, tarnished and ripped that relationship to pieces. People have changed, both for the better and more frustratingly for the worse at times. I have tried over the years to rebuild my relationship with my parents. Tried to heal what was, which did not really work because as I later found out, my healing could only be done by God. We have tried to create the relationship we would want to have, which worked for a while. But even when it was working, there was too much underneath that I ignored in order to make it work. And then we moved away and peace overcame me. I was free to create my own family, my own traditions, my own memories. I was finally free to be my own person.

And then we moved home again and I had to deal with my parents again. I prayed a lot about how to mend the fences. Prayed for how to be loving, to show grace, and share in forgiveness. I prayed a lot. I tried to seek council from wise women, but it turns out that wise women often have kids of their own. They could not understand my separating myself from my parents, my breaking the ties. The few people I have trusted enough to seek their council all agree that I need to protect my kids and my family, but what does that mean to protect? Some say you have to do what is best for you but that is not really a Biblical principle. Turn the other cheek. Forgive 7 times 70 times. Love your enemies. Honor your mother and father. These are Biblical principles. I want to do the right thing, not the right thing for me, but God's right thing. I want to make choices that honor God even at the cost of my comfort and a few hostile family dinners. And yet, the still small voice in my head says, "What about the other Biblical principles?" Lately I have been thinking about the passage in Luke 8:19 - 21 that says,

Now Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you." He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice."

My family of origin wants to hold onto what never was but they wished it had been. I get that. I love the holiday movies with the whole extended family cooking Christmas dinner. While cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation is fun to watch in a movie, bickering in laws and petty snipes are not a fun way to spend Christmas day. There are lots of families that come together at the holidays in a joyous and caring way, families that truly love one another. I want that to be true for my family. But I am only one member of my family. I can only control my own behavior, make my own decisions and bring my own joy and love to that table. Though when I am at that table, the little girl in me often shows up, with all her wounds, all her anger and all her frustration. I have grown a lot but something about being with my family can bring out the ugly in me. And when it does not bring out the ugly in me, when I am calm and at peace, it feels like that somehow rocks the boat as well. At what point is it okay to say, "Enough."

I honestly don't know. I am still struggling through this issue. I want to be the bigger person. I want to forgive and forget. I want to move forward. Though in all honesty I would really like to just stop. I just want to be done with it all. I know deep in my soul that it is not going to get any better, at least not long term. I have been on this ride before. I know the roller coaster has smooth parts, I know there are moments of great exhilaration, but also moments of extreme fear, huge disappointments and wounding words. And the thing about roller coasters is they go in a loop, a continuous circle. The only way to make it stop is to get off. And I want off.

Honor your mother and father.

My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice.

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