Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hold The Applause

I try hard not to let the past define me.
There was a time when that was all I knew how to do.
Lord knows that in some Christian circles they applaud real loud for doing so.
If you'd asked me who I was I would have answered with one or more of the following:
Abused child.
Sexually abused child.
Sexually abused teenager.
Teen bride.
Abusive mother.
Chronically ill woman.
The list could go on.

The work I do in therapy and spiritual direction is helping me drop these labels.The more I heal, the more their impact on my day to day life shrinks.

We are all so much more than a label.
Even. my. brother.

As I sat down this morning to write about my visit with my brother yesterday a questioning thought came into my head.

"Are you going to make him into a them?"

Why yes, yes, I was going to.
Before You wrecked that plan by asking me such a question.

Before my brother arrived yesterday I felt a seething anger.
After he left I went immediately to my counter where there were fresh baked muffins, and stuffed one into my mouth. I wanted to stuff 6 more in in rapid succession but I didn't. That gaping hole inside felt like a screaming cavern.

I was going to write about everything that transpired between the anger and the muffins. Nothing more than ordinary and sometimes strained conversation. Telling body language. A sadness about what is. And about what may never be.

I often rant to my family about people who either want to make me an 'it' or people out of their comfort zone an 'it'. It's always other people I rant about doing that of course. Reading this book challenged me to change years ago. Change that is still in the works, obviously. This morning as I sat down to type I got a reminder that to embrace humanity, means embracing not only my own, but my brother's, too. Knowing that doesn't magically make my anger disappear. It doesn't mean I condone his actions. It doesn't make me want to eat less muffins. But it does mean that if I distance myself from his humanity then I reject something of myself in the process, too. It reinforces my identity as a victim.

I'm still feeling a bit stunned by that question popping into my head just as I was getting ready to write this post. I try to be open to guidance. Some days I swear at its arrival. Sometimes I get rendered darn near speechless. And some days I write a totally different blog post than I'd planned.


Owen said...

A mature and generous person; you.

anj said...

Hope - It is okay to take some time and give yourself grace on the journey of letting him be a him instead of a them. I am holding you in the Light that you will stay with your Guide, not behind and not in front.

Hope said...

I don't feel like I'm mature or generous owen. But I couldn't ignore that sentence that popped into my head as I sat down to write. If I had made my brother a "them" then I could have distanced myself from his humanity and I would have had to repress some of my own. I don't know where I'm going with this comment other than when the Spirit nudges me and I actually pay attention, I hope for the grace to lay down my own will and obey. Of course, I do that imperfectly. I always will. Who knows how often I get nudged and either don't hear or won't hear. But when it comes through so loud and clear, God grant me the grace to hear and obey.

Owen said...

It's mature to have listened to that inner voice, no? It's generous to act as you are and to return to the blog with these thoughts not simply leave the previous days thoughts hanging :)

Hope said...

Thank you Anj. I do tend to want to run ahead or look behind.

Owen - yes - there is a maturity in listening. I concede. :) Generosity in sharing my journey as it is - I don't know how to do it any other way. Or maybe it's more honest to say I don't want to do it any other way.

Anonymous said...

"Are you going to make him into a them?"

Oh my gosh. That is excellent. Hubby said something like that to me once and it pissed me right off as well as stopping me dead in my ranting tracks. Good stuff, Hope. Difficult but good. And I agree with Owen; it is a choice you've made to trust the Spirit.


annie said...

I think you are on to something Hope, and I am glad for you.

Anonymous said...

Wow hope, once again I am in awe of you and your courage to change. You know, we are only human, and sometimes all we can do is try, and that is enough for now. Only God can forgive perfectly.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I see growth and grace. It sounds like you made it through a difficult situation and took another step in your spiritual journey. And what could be better than that?