Friday, June 4, 2010

Journaling after reading Nouwen's Imperative: Live Patiently with the "Not Yet"

I never felt received by my mother, my father, and my stepfather. This lead to me not feeling received by others outside of the home, first by teachers and classmates, then later in life it would become boyfriends and coworkers.

My mother’s emotions were bat crazy; she was in and out of unhealthy relationships, and she was running from a painful past that she could not escape. She was up, she was down, she was angry, she was caring, she screamed horrible words at her children for minor infractions; and so, nothing I ever did was good enough to make her act loving toward me, to keep her from yelling and cursing and playing favorites with the others.

My father and mother divorced when I was two, he joined the military, and after not seeing him for several years, he returned with a new wife. Naturally, I did not feel accepted by him either. The stepmom was not my mother, so naturally I didn’t care for her and I believed the feeling was mutual. Whether it was or not, I’ll never know, but after a recent run-in with the stepmom’s own craziness, I wouldn’t doubt that she wished my father had no children when they met.

My mother remarried shortly after her and my father divorced, and I really didn’t like this new guy. While my mother did not discipline me and then scolded me when I did something “wrong”, the stepdad wanted me disciplined from the very start. He grew up in a healthy home and wanted the same for his new family; he wanted structure, and rules, and a sense of normalcy. This went against everything my mother knew, so they fought and fought, viciously sometimes, and with every argument I hated him more and more. Fast forward 25 years and this man has become one of the few most important people in my entire life, and my mother, for me and for him, is no longer in the picture.

As I grew older I carried this sense of chaos and not being accepted into every situation and relationship. In school I had problems with teachers and classmates, and when the age came when I could date—watch out. I carried the same craziness I viewed from my mother into every relationship. Once I started drinking, which was at the age of 16, it was a whole new ballgame with more chaos, more broken friendships, more fights with the mother, and more problems in the classroom. This continued for 10 years and ended with a broken engagement, a broken arm, and a whole lot of pieces to pick up on my own.

Picking up the pieces began with counseling, then church, then medication. In between the “thens” were bouts of depression, serious depression, when I wanted to end my life. A few nights of heavy drinking ended with a bottle of pills, a razor in my hand and a choice to make. Such a dark, lonely place I was in. Looking back, I often wonder how I got out alive. Never had I felt pain run so deep, and I felt as if I was in the bottom of a well, screaming for help, pleading for someone to save me, but no one heard me. Except for Jesus.

Almost a year has gone by and with the help of a few spiritual counselors, my doctor, drug and alcohol therapy, and listening to and reading spiritual subject matter, I am doing okay. When I read that last paragraph I think of how far I have come, and how perhaps I should feel like I am doing great compared to back then. But I don’t want to reference “back then” to gage how well I am doing in life. I want a higher, more healthy standard for my life and that’s what I’m working on now--building a solid, never before seen, solid foundation for myself on which I will grow and thrive and love.

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