Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How do you?

How do you come to terms with the anger and emotions that flood your soul at the mere sound of your dad’s voice?  How do you forgive and love as Christ loves Him when there is no remorse? 

Over and over I find myself trying to forgive him.   And over and over I that anger clings to me like a wet blanket.

Maybe its the fact that there is no recognition of the effect his actions had on my life.   The sleepless nights living in fear, longing for protection from the daily onslaught of the world.  Knowing that he was the one I feared the worst.

How do you let go of that anger and love the person who made you feel that way?

Monday, June 20, 2011

The realties of Legacy

How much do I know about the legacy of my family?  Do I recognize the traits that have been passed on from generation to generation?  Does that legacy affect me on a daily basis?  These questions have been swirling around in my brain for several weeks now.  As a result I have concluded that the legacy we receive and the legacy we give is really the essence of who we are.

While in Idaho a few weeks ago my mother shared some wonderful stories about my grandfather and my great grandmother.  Their life was not easy but they had such generous hearts and  a tenacious spirit that battled through anything for the betterment of their family.  As I listened I began to feel like little pieces of me were falling into place.  “so that is why I am so driven and yes quite stubborn?” and “Aww, my grandpa showed love through gifts, just like I do”.  Hearing about who I came from, the line of my ancestors, helped me to understand more of who and why I am.

But I also learned that other character traits not as wonderful had been passed along in this legacy.  In some of my mother’s stories I started to see a certain amount of passivity in my grandfather towards my grandmother.  In his words he “loved my grandmother”, so he continued to let the words of her mouth beat him and his children down.  In essence he choose peace in the relationship over the love of the person.  I am the same way as are my family members, my mother even married a man who was even more passive but without the loving spirit to temper it.  As a result of this legacy, communication in my family is almost non-existent and setting healthy boundaries often results in the loss of relationships. 

Healthy communication is such a key element in any relationship.  Without it, real honesty and trust can not be built.  But with healthy communication also comes truth, speaking it and hearing it about yourself.  Passivity is the easy way, keep your mouth shut in hopes the problem will just disappear and the truth won’t have to be told.  As I write this I laugh out of heart ache in my heart.  The reality of this legacy in my family means we don’t ask the hard questions or really even talk for fear of conflict.  The result of this is an under current of anger and unresolved conflict coursing through my family.  My relationships with my parents and my siblings have been destroyed and are built on mistrust and uncertainty.  And I see the same traits being passed down to my nephews and my niece. 

As I have walked this road of boundaries, setting them (or not when my passive nature takes over), I have found a lot of heartache.  However, I have also found a slow renewal of relationships with my mother and my sister.  I often ponder though, what if my grandfather would have chosen to speak truthful love into his wife instead of choosing what he thought was peace?  What if my mother had been taught how to set healthy boundaries from a young age, would she have tried to escape her home in the arms of my father?  I can get lost in this ‘what if’ all day.  In the end this is the legacy I have received.

The legacy I give though is my choice.  I can choose to navigate the world of boundaries, learning to love people with truth.  I can choose to have the hard conversations with people, often facing their rejection of me and the words I bring.  Through that choice I can change the legacy my children will receive.  I can also hope to continue the wonderful slow process of truth spoken in my family. 

  I am still learning how to navigate the battlefield of boundaries because a relationship built on trust is what I desire to have with my family.  Gratefully, my mother and I have started down this path and we have both wounded one another in the process.  The words don’t always come out, and the truth is not always spoken.  But I feel the foundation of our relationship changing; from one of surface level day to day distractions to a deeper connection built on trust and love.  All I can hope for is the courage to continue down this path.