I have been thinking a lot about my mother lately. I have been trying to reconcile myself to the fact that like many children we have characteristics that are like our parents. Both in personality and physically. And that is difficult for me. Especially since I have so many not so pleasant memories of my mother and the things that happened to me when I lived with her. Both at her hands and the hands of others. But, on her deathbed I told her that I forgive her though I couldn’t forget. And I meant it. But what does that mean for me? What do I do with the memories and the feelings that pop up from time to time?
Something funny is that I look at my feet and they remind me of her. We have very similar feet. We both had relatively small feet. Though hers were smaller than mine. But I am also almost 5 inches taller than her. I think she was 5’2 I am 5’7. I used to be 5’7 1/2 but lost 1/2 inch somewhere. At any rate I look at my feet and think of her running. When she was up and moving when she was younger she was always running somewhere it seemed. Always rushing. Always late for something. I felt like a shadow In a room, a presence not generally noticed as life rushes by. I have purposely tried to slow my life down, but when I was younger I was rushing, always rushing. I guess most people do when they are young. I envy the young who have found that balance already in their lives. I have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain, so did she. I fight depression all the time. She had even darker demons to fight. We both suffered at the hands of our parents. We both suffered at the hands of others. The things in life that shape us and break us. There are dark ways in which I am like my mother.But, there were good things too.
I want to remember good things about her. If I am so much like her I want to remember that there were good things about her. She taught me how important social conscience was and how to be compassionate and passionate about what you believe. She had kept her Vietnam protest posters for years and had marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in Washington. She had friends of color when it wasn’t acceptable to do so. She dated men of color even though it was totally frowned upon and caused our family to be essentially social outcasts. But, it didn’t matter to her. I am angry about it sometimes that she had so little regard to her children that had to live in this town. She was very selfish in that regard. However, what change comes with being comfortable?
I would discuss it with her from time to time and she would get angry at me for being so selfish and “closed” to others. Other times she would let me know that if we always walk in line and if we don’t fight what is wrong with the system then the system can never be fixed. She was a political activist, a social activist and a person of passion and conscience. This doesn’t always make for a great parent. Definitely not in her case. She was brilliant and intelligent and incredibly flawed. But, I didn’t see her give up. Ever. Even when her mental illness would crush her down she would get back up over time. She was a manic depressive and bipolar and that was a formidable combination to try to live with much less be a single parent.
She painted for years. They are very hmmm…original…but they are definitely her own style. At least she had the courage and the determination to paint and be creative no matter what. She didn’t let anything stop her until age itself put limitations on her that even she could not overcome. If there is anything that I hope and pray that I have gotten from her it is that ability. That trait to not give up. As I am typing this I realize how much regret I have that I couldn’t over come my anger enough to tell her all of this while she was alive. I could barely stand to have her touch me when she was alive. I would cringe at a hug, feel nauseous at a touch of her hand. There were times I thought if I stayed in contact with her that I would lose my soul to her; It would be sucked right out of me. Even as she was dying I was afraid of her at some level. And it makes me so sad.
She did die though and I still have my soul. And I was able to touch her before she died and not hate her and with my last look at her knew that I had loved her and she had loved me to the best of her ability. At least I had that. And so I look at my feet and think of her and I will do the best I can to think of all the good ways I am like her.
I can relate to everything you have said. You have spoken of faith and questioning faith. You have spoken of the bible that we all use to find answers and for guidance being used as a tool for good and as a tool for evil. For there are those in the world that take the bible and twist the words and the intent to meet their own ends and to ensure they are always “right.” I have had the same questions myself.
If every bible in the world burned today I would still have my faith. I was saved by the spirit without it. I knew of God and Jesus and I had heard his message but never took it into my heart fully. And it wasn’t being hit over the head with the bible. My experience was life changing and all encompassing. Though it took years for me to get to the point I am at. Bloody knees and elbows from crawling back up the hill even though I slid back time and time again. I knew I could never give up. Doubts would creep in and anger. And sometimes downright hatred.
And yet even with the doubts I could not and cannot deny him. I have felt the holy spirit and it saved my life. And yet there are times I question and I still seek and I put my foot on the uneven and crooked path that I hope will lead me to the answers I seek. And that is what is important. The journey. God does not expect us not to question. Without questioning and exploring we do not learn. We do not grow spiritually. He is there even in the darkest hour. That small spark of light that seems almost so invisible as to not be seen. And yet he is there and when you reach for the light it will grow.
I will work through my doubts and with faith I will work through the questions that I have. Not all will be answered in my lifetime and that is okay. I will question and search and continue my journey. I still have growing to do.
I have been thinking a lot lately about knowing when to move on. When is it okay to stop punishing yourself for things in the past and let them go? Or do you need to keep the memories and allow them to lash your mind and your soul in punishment forever?
I have always found it hard to let go of mistakes I have made in the past. Especially ones that have hurt another person, ones that hurt my family. As I have been working on family issues, memories of mistakes I made have been playing in my head. Sadness and regret have been overwhelming me the last few days. I need to move forward and I can’t because of the ties to the past. I have stated to others that they hold the chains that hold them back with their own hands. And it is true.
Horrible things happen to people all the time. People do horrible things to each other all the time. It is how we respond which makes the difference in whether good or bad comes out of it in the long. This post probably makes it sound like I am some heartless person who hurts others. It isn’t that. I get no pleasure out of hurting others and certainly none from hurting myself. However, I do not want to forget what happens to others when you hurt them. I want to take responsibility and own the things I have done in my past. I want to grow from them and not repeat them. I want to be stronger and kinder.
When do you know when to let go? When the pain no longer teaches you or makes you stronger. When the chains just weigh you down and make you tired and defeated and keep your feet planted firmly in the past. Making it hard for you to move forward and forward is where you need to go. Does it make what happened in the past go away or justify it? No. But, you cannot accomplish anything, you cannot grow if you stand in one place.
Excellent read and really needed this today. :D
Don’t ever feel left out
Where you are is where you belong
Your presence is better off where it is valued
Never mold yourself to the expectation of others
Don’t betray the one person who is always there for you
Don’t betray yourself
Humans are hard wired to fit shapes into it’s respective holes
Like the game all toddlers play
But the real world doesn’t always work that way
You belong where you are valued and with personal growth your value is forever evolving
Respect your personal growth and value your presence
Value Your Presence
Photo : www.shotbyelisa.com
This post made me smile. Some beautiful moments.
Originally posted on Gudsol:
We always think that our children are very sincere and balanced, but when go outside with them even in park, mall, relative home or any public place, They show their feelings exactly when this would be desirable, it does not matter whether it’s a man, toy, animal or even a monument – a child never hesitate to come and share their emotions, hug and even kiss! And this turns out pretty cute, touching and funny pictures. This is upcoming extra-ordinary generation.
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I really liked what he has to say. There are times when I see myself as a vase that has so many cracks in it that it can barely hold water much less hold it’s shape. But, I keep filling the cracks and the holes with the help of the Lord and with often the help of those around me and most of all with the help of myself. As long as I wake up and stand up, even though it may be shaky. I make the glue stronger and the fractures a little less.
Originally posted on john pavlovitz:
Whether you realize it or not, every single day you rub shoulders with people in great pain.
They are among the growing multitude of walking wounded in your midst, many presently laboring as they try to take that most excruciating of steps: the next one.
Most of them don’t wear their damage so that it can be easily seen, though. To be vulnerable like that is to risk further injury, and so they gradually learn to conceal and cover the tender, throbbing, torn-up parts of themselves from others. Though they surely suffer in the solitude and silence, at least there they find some illusion of control, some measure of safety.
And if you aren’t really looking closely as they cross your path, you might likely mistake them for the confident, together, secure, unaffected people that they so desperately want to be seen as. You might well be fooled by their carefully crafted veneers of success…
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