Relationships are the hardest part of being human for me. I guess if you look at my past it’s easy to see this manifesting itself in so many of the things that I have done. There are probably plenty of reasons for it. For one thing, I was born without a father. I am not sure at what age exactly the fact that my father did not want me hit me. I think it was when I was little and my mom was spanking me and I screamed at her that I wanted my dad and she told me the cold hard truth: I might want him but my dad didn’t want me and that is why he wasn’t around. Rude.
From that nice little memory of my childhood I’m sure you can tell that my relationship with my mother was not very warm and fuzzy. I do not understand why really. My mom helped raise a lot of children, she ran her own daycare in the 80’s and some of those kids still think of my mom as someone who helped shape them into successful adults, but that was not the case with me. She had plenty of her own wounds from growing up with my grandmother and growing up poor and brown in Texas before the civil rights movement plus working in the fields at that age of 6 until she started working in the hospital at 16. My mother not only didn’t have a childhood, she didn’t even know childhoods existed. She made a lot of promises to herself that she would be a better mother than her mother was, and she failed a lot, but really I can’t put that all on her, because she simply didn’t have the tools needed to heal from all the things that happened to her. She still doesn’t and she is getting older. That makes things so much more difficult and urgent.
I didn’t ever learn how to have relationships with others. In school I was always awkward. Mostly because I didn’t have a dad, that made my life so hard on so many levels. I was abused because I didn’t have a dad (in my mind, which is the only mind that I have) and I never learned how to let a man love me without letting him take my body until I became Catholic. That was just how I thought love went. The only man who was dad-like in my life was also the man who sexually abused me for years. I didn’t know how to relate to other girls because they had dads, nice clothes, nice families and I didn’t have any of that. I had my books, my boom box and a few friends who were also misfits and who eventually ending up moving or stabbing me in the back.
This past week the idea of relationship kept coming up. For one thing God IS a relationship. He simply isn’t IN one. So relationships are kind of important. I also came to the understanding that sin is the action that is taken that damages a relationship with either God, someone else or with myself. Sin is also a symptom of a wound, not the wound itself. I cannot explain to you just how much that revelation has changed how I see the things differently. Not to mention how freeing it is to free myself for a set of “rules”, but to put on the yoke of Christ which is easy. It is obeying Him out of love, not a false sense of following a list of rules full of “fun stuff” that I can’t do. I finally get why Jesus says that his yoke is light!
It feels good to understand that, but I’m still stuck because I have no clue how exactly to be in a relationship with anyone. Not Jesus, not my husband, not my oldest son and not my mother. I do not know how to love them, I know how to enable them and how to feed my codependence of them, but not really how to love them. I am learning, but it is a slow process and while I am learning, they are all wondering what the hell is happening. Not so much my husband, because he is learning all of this stuff along with me, but for sure things with my oldest child and my mom are kind of in a weird place.
The one thing that I am learning how to do is how to set boundaries. How to say no and how to not feel like what someone else thinks or feels is something that I can control. I can’t. I can only control myself and do what I have to do to take care of myself and how they feel or what they think is on them.
That is so hard for me because I have always heard that thinking of yourself is selfish. I’m still not sure how it isn’t selfish, but I know that God wants us to take care of ourselves. We are temples of His spirit, made in His Image and Likeness so taking care of ourselves is taking care of Him and it helps us heal our wounds. Sin is a symptom of our brokenness and taking care of ourselves helps us heal from that brokenness which cleanses us of sin. That is how we become who we truly are. That is how we set the world on fire.
That is what shedding of sins is: being healed. If you read the gospels every time Jesus heals someone, He cleanses them of their sins. That is what confession is too. That is why confession is a healing Sacrament. It all makes so much sense to me, what purity and perfection is. It isn’t being better than anyone, it is about being HEALED. Healed people are saints, they are free from wounds and in a relationship with God. They know Who He is and He knows them. They talk, they get each other and most importantly, they work together.
My goal is to work on my relationship with God, my husband, my kids and my mother. Everything else is secondary. I think that once I get those straight then, and only then, will it be time for me to do the work that God has put on my heart.