This is my last post until the first of May. Next Tuesday I'll be flying home to spend a week with my parents and finish up the radio documentary. After that I'll fly to the city where dearest one will be at a conference and we'll spend a night there and then head home. Some of you have said you will keep me in your prayers for the duration that I am gone. Thank you. Prayer changes me. For the better. Even on days when it feels like a complete waste of time and nothing seems to penetrate the invisible shield of my being, prayer is doing it's work in me. Yesterday I returned to contemplative prayer after an absence. Tears and peace were a part of that process yesterday. To open myself up to God and rest in His presence, knowing that God does God's work in me as I show up and remain willing is a mind boggling Mystery.
Here is the letter I sent to the radio producer tonight. The process has been painful, yet worth it. I think anything we go through in life has that potential. I am grateful and humbled to be given a glimpse of that in my own journey.
Dear Radio Producer,
The taping is going well. For a few days I thought it all was garbage but I'm over that for now. :) I'm working on making notes of what is on what track on the discs. I've used up most of one disc and part of another. I think at the most, with the recording I'll do with my family, I will use 3 discs in total.
I met with my therapist today and had her record what she thinks selling the land will do for my healing journey.
Later on I had a pretty big 'aha' moment in my session.
I've kept going back to the thought about owning my story and what does that mean and how badly do I want to do that. I figured out today that doing this piece is forcing me to look that in the face. One of my friends told me not too long ago that parenting is a make work project. In the process of parenting we give our kids enough baggage to last them a lifetime. Owning my story is about taking responsibility for what I'm going to make of the baggage. Am I going to carry it forever? Am I going to use it as a shield to keep others out? Truly owning my story means absolving my parents of the responsibility to make it better. It is what it is. Owning my story means letting go of being a victim. It means taking responsibility for my choices today. It means an end of pointing fingers. Of saying, 'it's all your fault." My life is what I make of it. I've spent way too many years giving my power away to others and not taking responsibility for my own life. In one of my taping sessions I talked about selling the land being a catalyst for me to face forward....to stop living in the "perhaps one day" and accept that life can only be lived this day.
I'll get those thoughts recorded unless you'd like to cover them in the interview.
Another interesting bit that I haven't talked about with you and that I only thought of mentioning today is that 8 years ago I had a nervous breakdown and the straw that broke the camel's back for that was my dad's refusal to let me sell the land. Shortly after that I went into a tailspin. That breakdown was a pivotal point in my healing journey. It was the first time I really felt the pain of my past and it started the process for me to individuate from my parents. Eventually I had to confront my mom about a situation and at the same time tell my dad the truth about that situation. During that phone conversation I held a little piece of paper in front of me at all times that said, "I am an adult." In part of that phone conversation I told my dad that he was the one with the power as the land was in his name even if us kids each had a piece named in his will. I don't think I'd ever been that blunt with him before. And in the healing that took place, as I was willing to feel the emotional pain and not run from it, I finally stopped letting the voices of my parents be the dominate voice in my head. I had just turned 38. I had a lot of shame connected to the breakdown. So much so I didn't tell my family about it and I never even mentioned it to my family doctor. I had a brief time when I just about checked myself into the psych ward but started to function a bit better and chose not to. I cried for about 6 months straight. It was the most pain filled time of my life and while I hope to never experience it again, it forced me to grow up. Anyway I share all that with you because I think it fits the thought that this really is a journey.
One other thing I wanted to mention to you is what I am and am not willing to talk about on tape regarding the abuse. If there is a way to allude to the abuse without naming names that is my preference. I have never gone back to my brothers and talked about it with them and do not want that to begin with public radio. Also I'm not willing to talk specifics on tape about what the abuse actually was. I am willing to talk about the fallout of it, about the emotional pain, about my side of the journey at whatever depth is necessary. Also the physical, emotional, verbal abuse from my mom - if there is a way to approach that without getting specific that would be my goal there, too. I want to be as grace filled as possible about it without skirting the topic. I have no idea what your plans are for that taped conversation between us but I just wanted to give you a head's up on my thoughts so I don't have to say at that moment that I'm not willing to talk about that.
You know if nothing ever came of the piece, if you decided to scrap it, it has already done it's work in me. This process with you has been another pivotal point in my healing and for that I am incredibly grateful and humbled. The story is bigger than any of us. And it's not over yet. I read not too long ago that courage is moving forward in the face of fear. Next week, the conversations with my parents, will take incredible courage. Without the opportunity of doing this piece I would shrink from it instead of embracing it. Often, since coming home from treatment, I've ended my journal entry for the day with - "I can do this." Then I put down my pen and do the next right thing in front of me and keep moving forward. I think every night as I'm with my family, I'll be writing in capital letters I CAN DO THIS.
Thanks for being a part of my journey.
Talk to you soon - in person.
YES YOU CAN! I can't even begin to describe the huge smile cracking my face in half here - I AM SO VERY PROUD OF YOU!!
This has been such a blessing to talk with you about and read about in your words - you are a light on my path dear friend and I am so grateful to God for our friendship. GOOD ON YA!
Praying, praying, praying here - and you had better call and keep me posted!! :) Love you!
(((Hope))) You know I'll be praying! Have a good trip, my friend.
For what it's worth to you, it's done its work for us, too.
Thank you Heidi and Mich for your prayers and friendship.
Peter - thank you for that. I never even thought that it might make a difference in someone else's journey (short sighted as I can be!) I know you pray for me as well and I thank God for your faithfulness.
I WILL pray, and I am, as always, so proud of you.
Yes, you can SO do this!
Continuing to pray for you.
I'll miss you while you're gone!!!!
Looking forward to hearing all the good stuff!!!!!
God bless you as you begin with the first word. God grant you peace and hope, Hope.
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