Manure and Miracles
WEEK 51….the second last post of this incredible 52 Week discovery and the continuation of my LAST topic, Creativity….was supposed to be light hearted….fun….reminiscent of sweet and not-so-sweet moments from life lessons learned during difficulties. During this time, I have reflected….pro-ooooo-cessed….articulated….changed….really, really changed, healing bits of my soul that were unreachable until I was determined to get at them, get through them, and give LOVE permission to gently smooth those painful scars away.
Has this soul-work been effective? Do I now exhibit the kind of freedom and attention, which have become the crux of my sojourn? Or am I simply clanging away at my gong, busy with my ‘busy’, singing like a free bird from inside a cage of fear, worry, guilt, anger, and other such sorted manure.
Yup. If you are stuck in a cage, manure piles up quickly. If you have not already guessed….the ‘US‘ that should be my focus this week, has been a little stinky.
Alright….a lot stinky.
Surprise! Life still turns to hoo-ha after 51 Weeks of articulate work. I am still left wondering….is my soul actually free?
Why….would I allow any type of confinement to still exist within me? After breaking out into glorious freedom, I should want nothing more than to burn any structure or remnant of that ratchet, gnarly, internal prison….yet the cage remains. Maybe cages are a permanent construct for finite lives, holding immature souls together until they gain enough wisdom to stand confidently in who they are meant to become. Perhaps cages are teachers of how to overcome an obstacle, how to defeat darkness while learning about grace….and unconquerable love….and infallible hope.
Perhaps cages always remain, but their doors….are open. Now what would stop me from noticing that door as accessible? Emotions? Tunnel Vision? Lack of Imagination? Whatever limited perspective kept me from seeing an exit, I refused to budge toward insight for years.
My liberty came with a price tag. I think hard choices are never free, but if the cost of staying confined means losing your life….is there really a choice?
I gratefully rejoice in the hard-fought freedom warranted to me and my children, yet I have watched parts of me walk back into that prison, effortlessly. It is a familiar place….predictable….memories of kids growing live there….but, oh wow….the odour is stifling!
Arguably, the best icon I can use from Mum’s dwindling basket of treasures that started this whole experience, is her favorite perfume. Now, I was never a fan of this scent, finding it very powerful, which is probably why she liked it. The thought of applying the perfume to my skin makes me a bit nauseous….sorry Mum….so I will take a small whiff each morning, hoping it helps neutralize the odor offending my senses currently.
The stinky pile I am sitting on now, started in my first marriage. But there is more than a pile. This mountain of nonsense could be divided and categorized into an entire library. Here are the Top 3 Factors that ultimately lead me to find, then escape through, that available cage door.
- I believed I would die….by his hand….or my own decision to stop breathing.
- The kids witnessed a traumatic event unfold between me and their father, so I could no longer convince myself the violence was happening in secret.
- I wanted to show my kids what real love was, so they would not allow themselves to be ill-treated, or in turn, offend against anyone else in an abusive manner.
I am still alive….and doing pretty well….so I guess Point #1 can be deemed successful.
The kids are now witnesses to a relationship built on laughter, respect, tough conversations, playfulness, differences of opinion, acceptance, true love conquers all….even in long seasons of storms….perfect imperfections….and it is so, so good. Hubby gets most of the credit here, but taking a second chance on love with him, is my favorite decision in the last 10 years. 🙂
So far, no manure piling up here. Point #2 just takes some intention and awareness to maintain a happy, calm homeostasis.
Which leaves Point #3….where the colossal caa-caa breeds pain so deep into my heart, I think I know how it would feel to be defibrillated while conscious. Seeing my children suffer as they try to reconcile a skewed sense of right, transform a twisted view on love, and redefine their Divine, is almost impossible to bear as the mom who did not understand the harm sooner. It was the hardest corner to turn, and finally admit….for this family, this situation, these kids having two (unhealthy) parents care for them, was more destructive to their development, than having one parent struggling for a different life.
Each of my kids are stretching independent wings….wrestling their giants, sometimes within socially acceptable expressions consistent with new adulthood….
*Perceiving their Safety as Guaranteed.
*Putting as much Distance from Home as Possible.
….And sometimes….against society and its norms….
Because these behaviours deviate from what society is comfortable talking about, the people connected to them, are often judged to be failing. Living with these challenges in the lives of my children, I have a VERY different viewpoint. While I would not say these choices are easy roads to travel on, it is their road to travel. As their mom, and a person with some ‘travelling’ experience, I know certain paths hurt. Some scar.
Some routes are direct. Some take a lifetime.
Sometimes people get lost….going round and round….repeating a trajectory over and over, until finally grasping their bearings and recalculating a different route.
But these roads are not deal breakers for me. Love is bigger than these kind of challenges. The love for my children grew deeper by forcing me to ask….what would I not be able to bear as their mother….which up to this point has been….nothing. I would bear it all.
…and found a way to breathe in it. As much as it hurts….to laugh in it. When I feel abandoned….to hope in it.
So where is this AJ now? I cannot see her through the old prison bars she ran back into after learning her child has adopted the enemy of freedom….Point #3….repeating the domestic violence all my hard choices were designed to avoid.
When a child asks in earnest for feedback on whether they act like their father….afraid to become like him….it means they are already not like him! This reflection alone, allows them the chance to become who they want to be….and become better. My reassuring arms can wrap around tight to confirm….this monster is not inside you, my dear.
When another child abandons their previous fight against oppression, and instead becomes the oppressor….this is the smell of rotting cruelty, the odor of corrupted memories, the foulness of rejection, the stench of undisciplined power and manipulation….all piled up right where I left them, in a dark cage steaming with doubt and despair. This child has now done what I feared would be hardest; Personifying the violent and inhuman attributes of the devil I divorced. How do I as mother….the one who nursed, held, worried over, struggled to guide, and desperately sought out this child for countless days and sleepless nights, while continuing to believe the best was possible….how do I love through this?
My arms and words have long been rejected. I cannot fight the beast holding my child.
I slip silently back.
Ignorantly walking toward a reeking cage, stinging tears disguise my senses.
I step through the door. Shame and guilt team up to cast tricks so convincing, I no longer see light….or have air….no breath….just death here.
The sobbing rivers from my eyes move my pain. Thank God for that. With each tear, a prayer….for strength, wisdom, patience….protection from fiends that would swallow up hard fought joy, sweat soaked peace, and a fierce confidence in love. Always, right back to love.
Big, big love.
Remembering love will heal. Reminded love will forgive. Thankful love will make everything better. Trusting.
I wait here, for OUR miracle.