Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Will the Neighbors Think?

Today, I'm working on two important relationships: the one with my husband and the one with my mom. My marriage is very happy, but I think it's that way because we are always working to make it better. I'm reading The Respect Dare, a 40-day devotional to a deeper connection with God and your husband.

It has been fun and challenging, especially because I am reading it with a group of women, so we all share our experiences, thoughts, suggestions, and so forth. So along with the deeper connection with God and my husband, there's the bonus of deepening friendships with some amazing women.

But the other book I'm reading, Making Peace With Your Mom, isn't such a walk in the park. I think I've said about a million times that I have a good relationship with my mom, and what was that? I am not protesting even a little; I'm just saying. Wise guy. Anyway, you can always have a better relationship, right? Especially when your mom moves in with, and you realize, hey, how fun, she still does all those little things that drove you crazy when you lived with her AND MORE.

Anyway, I'll reiterate, I'm not going to complain about my mom. What I've realized from reading this book and delving into the exercises--it goes deep...uncomfortably deep...scraping the recesses of all you've repressed deep--is that my relationship with my mom is the basis for every other relationship in my life.

It was from her I learned to love and not love. It was from her I learned what was considered beautiful, acceptable, right, wrong, polite, rude, phony, religious, and God forbid ladylike. It was from watching her and my dad that I got my first glimpse of romance. My dad was a true romantic, but my mom was more like, "Just hand over the diamond, Jack; I don't care about your poem." My dad's name wasn't Jack; she was channeling her inner Si Robertson.

I learned some good stuff: girlfriends are important, babies need to be held, everyone looks better with a little lipstick on, and there is a pill for nearly anything that ails your body and mind. I learned some other stuff as well: words can hurt worse than fists, silence speaks volumes, never let anybody lay a finger on your kids, and who cares what the neighbors think?

In reading this book, my biggest lesson is that who my mom was in my memory isn't who she is now. I mean technically she is, but I'm not. Those memories have no power over me. I can journey back in my mind and reframe the experiences. I can choose to show my mom grace and kindness instead of allowing anger and pain to fester and turn into bitterness and resentment, I can go be the mom who loves and protects the little girl in the memory.

One of my favorite verses is Luke 6:37: Judge not, and you will not be judged; Condemn not, and you will not be condemned; Forgive, and you will be forgiven. I also think it's one of the most difficult to practice, but I keep trying.

1 comment:

  1. No, Luke, I AM your father. Search your feelings. You KNOW it to be true!

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