Thinking out loud while "changing my thinking"

in Him


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Letters to the broken

As I stood in the kitchen washing dishes, the news of his father becoming a drug user began to circle my mind. Even though I knew there was no direct way to verify this allegation…there was also no reason to deny it. He used to deal…he just got out of jail  for dealing, about 8 months ago… and is currently dating a woman who is known to actively use.

The thought of his son, now only 2 years old, losing the chance to have a dad involved in his life… the thought of what he will be exposed to as he gets older, and learns what his father is into… the thought of the cliché “history repeats itself,” seemingly so real, in a world where patterns propagate over and over again. The cycles are so heart breaking and painful to watch. Endless shadows of families that could have been, turned to single mother households… endless tales of young girls seeking affirmation from male counterparts leading to unplanned pregnancies.

Take a trip to your nearest low-income neighbourhood and watch. The evidence is overwhelming. But let’s not pretend it only exists in underprivileged communities. Even the wealthy suffer the same epidemic. Our society is laced with brokenness.

If I could write a letter to each man, woman and child.. it would go something like this…

Dear Brother

Before you walk out that door…Know that this attempt to show you’re in control… to show that you are “wearing the pants” …is a blatant display of your weakness. This woman, that you whispered promises of love and gave hope of a future… will be left with yet another wound, which will turn into a scar. Her heart will be broken… her insecurities enhanced. Her sense of worth will diminish as she recalls every conversation and quarrel you every shared… questioning whether any of it was genuine.. or if she just ‘played the fool’. Know that the fierce, rigid attitude with which she guards her pride, will crumble the moment you walk out. Realize that the child or children, who allowed you to creep into their heart(s), gaining acres of trust, respect and love… will lose their sense of safety and security… their world will become increasingly unstable… they will become intimate with abandonment, and flirtatious with the art of escape.  Before you make the choice to leave… ask yourself, how will this impact them? and is your immediate satisfaction worth it?

Dear Sister

We have been down this road before…I understand those words caressed your deepest areas of need… but must it end in the bedroom? Why not stop this time.. and allow him to learn you in every other way but the physical. Rather than have him be your measure of worth.. why don’t you begin to see your own worth? Look in the mirror and see how radiantly beautiful you are… embrace the tenderness of your heart; you were designed to nurture and comfort.  Don’t be ashamed of your emotions… though you are not to be led by them… having them does not make you less sane…less valuable. Before you submit your body… has he made you his wife? Has he honoured and protected you from the selfish desires of his flesh, and yours? Has he taken the time to know you in all your complex simplicities? Does he lead you down the right path? Will he make the choice of loving you, a daily mission?

If you’re a mother, look in your child’s eyes and ask if this he will be father and “daddy” to this precious, impressionable soul? Realize that the power to influence your child (or children)… is being released into his care.. for better or worse.

Dear Child,

I am sorry for every time your sense of security was trampled on…for every moment your parents chose to put their needs and wants above yours. I am sorry they did not create that environment of love, support and wholesome family hood that you needed. I’m sorry they made you feel like you had to earn your significance; fighting for their attention and approval. I am sorry you were guilted into responsibility or were considered too stupid to ever be a mature adult. Recognize that despite their seemingly infinite imperfections… they too are lacking. Choose to forgive them. Choose to love them. Choose to disrupt the pattern of brokenness by responding… by making the right choice. Your story does not have to follow their pattern. Your story can travel along a different path.

If I could write letters to each man, woman and child… I would say,

“Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light”

There is still hope.

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The Cardinal Sin

 

I have been out-of-town for 2 days, with a large group of what I will refer to as my adoptive family (truly love the bunch). But before I expand on other thoughts and experiences I had during the trip…there seems to be a greater sense of urgency for me to uncover a huge error on my part…

As you can imagine, I was tagging along on a family vacation to Universal Orlando…so naturally, this in itself, is a somewhat chaotic venture being that we had 8 adults, 1 teenager, and 2 babies (a 5 and 3-year-old)…all piled in 2 hotel rooms (not suites by any stretch aka SMALL)…and 2 vans.

My little sister and myself, were assigned to ride with the married couple and their 5-year-old for the trips to the theme parks… so during these periods I was able to see, hear, and basically share in the experience of their married life… whether I wanted to or not. And trust me, I am leaning more to the NOT.

It’s one thing to witness my spiritual parents marriage, where a certain level of comfort and understanding has developed over the years of our growing relationship.. it’s a totally different ball game when dealing with people who you feel at home with (definitely give them credit for being warm and welcoming)… but have rarely encountered…aka AWKWARD!

What I came to notice is that the husband appeared to have the same “always right” attitude that I have come to not be a fan of…despite my own friends saying I have the same quality. But it was not so much the attitude that bugged me, as it was the way of speech… the sarcasm, the tone, … all seemed pretty disrespectful… though the transparency is admirable… it struck a chord with me…

As I watched the occasional bickering over minor details such as when and how directions were given… to temper tantrums over being hit a certain way – though there was an attempt to dial it down with justification of how the hit was executed … to criticisms of what was being done… etc…

Now here I have to PAUSE…

Mind you, I identify with these things… I throw tantrums over minor things because I want the other person to acknowledge how what was done to me was in fact significant just because I feel that way

And as much as I don’t like to be constantly corrected aka criticized when I do things, I am also known to be the criticizer…to the T.

But watching these things as an outsider makes you realise all the more why they wrote a book called “putting away childish things”…

So during one of the few distasteful meals we had there, while he was messing with me and just being his typical self… I made the comment, “all I have to say is [your wife] is truly special and very patient”… SMH SMH SMH … oh boy… joke or not…serious or not… real or not… WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!???!!!  WHO DOES THAT!!!???!!!

At the time, I did not think too much on what I said, but when it came back in the midst of another one of those bickering’s.. I thought to myself, you truly over stepped your boundaries…

As he mentioned sarcastically, “why don’t you find something else you can criticize […]”…and said how his wife had a fan (me.. smh)… I was like… man… you surely should learn to just shut up.

I meant no harm by my statement.. but it taught me a real lesson…never commit the cardinal sin of inferring and/or interjecting nada, when it comes to married couples… for at this point, they are one. Whatever is said even suggestively about one half… can be harmful to the other half…even if it seems not to be so offensive.

I sent an apologetic text this morning after I got over the, ugh… how should I rectify this situation… and he graciously let me know they took no offense…

Life lesson learned!

 


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Is bubble gum a junk food?

 

Game nights are typically considered a fun, lighthearted opportunity for a group of friends and even “guests” to get together without all the pressure of being a good conversationalist…low expectation of reaching some deeper level relationally…and though some social awkardness may occur due to varying personalities (etc), it is easily forgiven and brushed off.  Tonight however, turned it to a major battle of egos over bubble gum. Bubble gum….
From the point of my arrival, we made it through Taboo with the competitives being able to show grace to the newbies..then we moved onto mafia which thrusted us into a different facet of interactions because the accused had to either defend themselves and/or convince others of who the killer could be…etc… this is where people began to cross lines (boundaries of being polite especially when you are not familiar with the other people playing) in saying one person looked guilty…or in my case I liberally accused someone, who I later found out was completely innocent, of being scandalous.
However, scattegories once again, took the medal for game night spiralling out of control.
We made it through 3 rounds of challenging letters and categories…with fun, weird, and some outrageous answers that were just plain desperate…but even when conflicts in opinion occurred, we were able to settle them through majority votes or just decisions to let it go.
But then came that infamous last round that people just had to tack on…the letter rolled was B…and we were all determined to make it count.  What’s amazing about it is that  everything was going fairly cordially and each pair (team) was gaining points, but when we got to “a type of junk food”…and bubble gum became the subject of debate…it was all over.
The tensions in the room grew…muscles in peoples necks tightened…tones and pitches began to vary indicating increased intensity…to the point the people began to point at one another, stand in order to dominate the situation (a classic approach when taking a stance)….but even as i watched things escalate and tried to intervene…at a certain point I realised there was no going back….too many lines had been crossed…too many offenses had been made by commentary that were condescending…marked separation in educational background…and then the snap! before you know it…arms were  flailing in the air, words that were now directed towards the people involved completely…no longer just the object of the debate…”is bubble gum a junk food?”
Absolute catastrophe…eventually the two main egos that were clashing ended up in separate rooms.
As you can imagine, game night ended abruptly…and the real question became, was it really worth it? Would they be able to move forward from this?
How would this affect their relationship?
The first question is so easily answered…for one point, in the game of scattegories, pride truly could have been set aside….and the biblical principle of esteeming others/ prefering others as better than yourself…basically loving one another as Christ loved us…would have been the true star of the night…a true demonstration of the gospel.
But for now, all that is left, is an opportunity for people to choose to learn and grow from this experience…and that is my hope…that wisdom and love will prevail…and rather than loss of relationship, a closer one will develop with deeper understanding and respect for one another.