It is so hard to try and break the chains that have bound us in this life. We have chains that stretch back through generations. We inherit tendencies from our ancestors. The world impacts us. And sometimes it can help us break away from these ugly traits, habits, and tendencies. And sometimes it can enhance the ugly, or at least, reflect back what we are putting out there. And sometimes we can glaringly see these chains for what they are. It is then that we have to choose. Do we keep hanging on to them, or do we break them?
When you are a caregiver, or if you have chronically ill family members, you can see these chains in action. You see deep interactions between family members. Every day is a life-or-death day, due to these illnesses. So these expressions of family ties are heightened. You get things flung in your face on a regular basis. Your childhood comes leaping to the forefront. All my life I have been told, “Just don’t be like your mother.” I mean, my entire life. And now my mom lives with me. (Oh, the irony on so many levels!!!) But the interesting thing is that, for the most part, I enjoy my mom’s company. She is very, very difficult, and when she has one of her “forgetting” days, life is a challenge. I have learned to “step to the left” or to remind myself that “it is just a moment.” (I actually have post-it-notes that say that on my bathroom mirror). And today, well, today was not about mom, but it made me reflect on the urgings thrust upon me to not be like her, when the reality was more of “be like me” from my father. And he thinks he is pretty much perfect, always right, and that we all should learn from his example. And that has been for my whole life, too. Sigh. And somehow, even as a child, I tried to tap-dance somewhere in the middle of the both of them. Ha-Ha-Ha. One of my sons pointed out that my father is alone, and a lonely old man, who will probably die a lonely old man. It mades me sad. I think that my father believes it is okay to lash out and blame everyone for his state in life, because he is so lonely. However, he has never taken responsibility for life being what it is for him. He has never faced up to his own choices and the repercussions for those choices. And it makes me sad. I have tried, consistently, to forgive over time, (“Seventy times seven times” Matthew 18:22) hoping for a different outcome. Today’s phone call was much of the same. Silly me.
And sometimes, your genealogy, your ancestral inheritance, slaps you in the face. I had that today. And I hung up on it. Ha-Ha-Ha. You see, I allowed the God Box in the God Closet (see previous posts) that are reserved for this tumultuous relationship I have with me father, to be opened. Again. Sigh. And today my proverbial last nerve snapped. And so I hung up, mid rant. That was hard, because time for our relationship is running out. And that could very well be our final conversation. But I said what I wanted to say, and I chose to break those chains and not repeat all of that crap with my own family, my own children and grandchildren. The revelation for me was that today I was just finally done with it. I was completely overloaded. I just could not find room for more. Part of it is, I am sure, caretaker burn out. But most of it is so much of the same for more than 60 years, that it finally took its tole on my psyche, and my heart and soul.
“Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8
There are lots of Scriptures I could have quoted about love and forgiveness. But even Christ was angry (money changers in the temple comes to mind) and frustrated. I can only lay out mercy and forgiveness. So if the one I forgive or have mercy towards tramples that, and accuses me of not being forgiving, I can only lay it out there for them. It is their choice to accept it. The person seeking forgiveness, and the person giving forgiveness, can both become better for the experience. Can or may are the key words in all of this. It is still a choice. It is the expression of free will. Today I chose to “not be like them.” I chose to walk away, because “your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” He knows what this situation needs. I leave it fully in His hands. Fully. Because I cannot do this, any longer, or again.
Today, I am turning these chains, this history, this inheritance, this genetic thing, all of it, back over to God. And I am, once again, getting out of the way. The Lord will sort it out. I have faith! I hate that I keep allowing this to happen to me. And I am so thankful my Lord and God is so patient with me. The proverbial God Box was shut, and the same God Closet was closed. Again. I am still learning! Ha-Ha-Ha!