Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Deepest of Longings

God put a design in place when He created families.

He planned that children would NEED nurturing and input from their parents to grow into healthy adults, who would in turn be able to give that healthy nurturing and input to their children.  This is as much for the health of the adult provider as it is for the survival and thriving of the next generation.

There is still a lot of research happening in this field, but there is already ample results to show that children NEED this.
Children NEED healthy physical touch.
Children NEED healthy boundaries.
Children NEED modeling of healthy interactions.
Children NEED modeling of healthy relationships.
Children NEED all of these as much as they need food and shelter and protection.
It is how God designed it to work.

So what happens when this breaks down?
What happens when the parent is not able or willing to provide what the child needs?

Those needs often go unmet.
Children whose needs for these are not being met act out in an attempt to have their needs met.
They "misbehave" in school.
They show that they are not getting positive attention at home, or that they don't know how to develop relationships, or how to maintain relationships, or that they don't understand boundaries.
They have a longing for something they cannot put into words because it is not something they have ever experienced, but innately they know that there is something missing.

And when those children grow up, what happens then?
Unhealthy relationships.
Unhealthy physical touch.
Unhealthy interactions.
Unhealthy coping mechanisms - drugs, alcohol, serial relationships, workaholism, adrenalin junkies, overeating, shopping addictions, etc.
The longing for having this modeling doesn't go away, though there is an expectation that they act as if they have it together, because, after all they are adults.


Some of us DO learn ways of coping.
Some of us are better at picking up on behavioral expectations than others...just because we may *look* like we have it together does not mean we were ever EVER taught any of it.


Lesson: Do not assume that an adult who looks "put together" doesn't still have a need for nurturing and/or discipleship.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Keeper of Stories

I know a LOT of stories.
Stories that would amuse.
Stories that would break hearts.
Stories that explain behaviors.
Stories that inspire.
Stories that are not mine to tell.

I hear stories every day from people who trust me with their stories.
They believe me when I tell them I care about their stories, so they share them with me.
They also trust me to NOT tell their stories.

And so, because they are not MY stories to tell, I keep them.
I am the Story Keeper.

The stories define people, and their struggles, and their joys, successes, and failures.
The stories explain emotional struggles, and financial struggles, and relational struggles.

I have learned a lot in my role as Story Keeper.
I have been humbled...recognizing my arrogance.
I have learned how to love deeply, even in a professional role.
I have learned how to allow others the autonomy to walk out their own stories.

I have been changed by this role.
I am changing some of my narrow views of the poor.
I am enlarging my views of poverty in this very wealthy state in which I live.
I am finding that my heart for people is growing.
I am learning to love others, hopefully the way God loves them.

I came into this role as a Story Keeper with my own story.
My story is the only one I am at liberty to tell.

So, because I am the Story Keeper, I tell my story alone.
Because through my story, I hope that others' perspectives will be broadened, and that they too will be more able to hear and keep the stories of those with whom they come in contact.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Healing is a LoooOong time coming.

I have been on a journey.

I began this journey at a young age,
the age when I realized my life was not "normal".

I never felt like I fit in with the community where I grew up.
Everyone else had relatives close-by.
Everyone else had decent relationships with family members, parents.
Everyone else had been part of the church community for as long as anyone could remember.

We were outsiders.
We were different.
For many years, I attributed this to the fact that my parents were college-educated, and had a very different background that most in our community.
After some time, I realized that this only partially explained how I was being raised.

The other piece of my upbringing that set us apart had nothing to do with background and had everything to do with my parents' desire to isolate themselves and us from any outside input.
The reasons varied.
They wanted to raise us on a farm.  A farm much different from those around farming was new and different, and was a far cry from how either of them were raised.  It was an escape, of sorts, for both of them, from the rat-race in which they found themselves after college.
They wanted to have nothing to do with the "outside world", the world that might corrupt their children, or themselves, and might be watching their every move, reporting to the government.
They want to isolate us from the supposed terrible influence of publically-educated others.
They wanted to protect us from exposure to drugs, and drinking, and promiscuity, and rock music, and the Catholic church, and "them".  Whoever "they" were.

Sometimes "they" were dark-skinned.
Sometimes "they" came in the form of the census takers.
Sometimes "they" were working for the public schools.
Sometimes "they" were the people laying telephone cables.
Sometimes "they" were actual criminals who broke into the family property and stole things.
Sometimes "they" simply drove down our very quiet road at a higher-than-acceptable rate of speed.

A piece of the isolation was this paranoia.
Another piece of the isolation was the very probable removal of us from the home for the very real, visible, regular bruises, cuts, bites, broken bones, and hair pulled out by the roots.

I have been out of that setting for more than 30 years.
Still when I think of it and process it, my heart starts racing, and I feel tears welling up for the abused child I was, and for the trapped and unseen feelings that accompanied the abuse and paranoia.

I have been working on this healing thing for a LONG time.  It IS getting better, for which I am VERY grateful.  I no longer flinch at unexpected movements or touch.  But there ARE still triggers and nightmares from time to time.

Healing takes a LOT longer than I would like it to take.
Healing is also complicated, especially when people raised in the same house have different versions of what "reality" looked like.
I look forward to the day I am completely healed.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The struggles

I have been mulling this over in my head for a while, and though I hesitate, this is something that MUST come out somewhere...

I told my husband yesterday that I am ready to take my ball and go home.
I'm tired of pettiness.
I'm tired of the politics of military life.
I'm tired of not belonging.
I'm tired of being an outsider everywhere I go.
I'm tired of the nomad life.

It also scares the wits out of me to think of his retirement.
God has used the Navy to provide well for us.
Not abundance, mind you, but well enough that we WERE finally getting our heads above water.
And then it felt like the Navy yanked that solid ground right back out from under us.
They moved us to one of the more expensive places in the country.
And now they are punishing him for the consequences of trying to LIVE in the place that they moved him to.
Meanwhile, we were putting down roots in the place where we were.
There was a career path for him that was "almost inevitable".
And then they changed the rules, and took that away, too.

And my response to all of this has been a seething anger for months now.
I don't like where we are.
I don't like how the Navy has treated us.
I think the change in rules was unfair.
I think how they are treating him now is unfair.
I don't have a face or a person at whom to direct my anger, so instead it migrated to me being angry with God.
And I don't like that I have gotten to this.

I can DEFINITELY see that God has worked, despite the Navy....
I can DEFINITELY understand that He is continuing to work for His good and His Glory....
I am DEFINITELY willing to follow His lead in this....

Meanwhile, we wait.
We are not strangers to God's waiting room.
What we DO know is that we ARE moving.
When?  No clue.
Where?  No clue.
I don't do well with the waiting.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Writing again

It appears as though writing for school and writing for self-expression cannot happen at the same time.  My blogs get neglected when I am in school.  And here I am, one week post-finishing this second Master's degree, and I have found my way back into my blogs, and wanting to express myself in words again.

So, I am here to brain-dump about what is going on....

I am finding myself easily irritated with people these days.
I am T.I.R.E.D. of politics.
I am S.I.C.K. of New England.
I want stability.

I want to get on with my life...not being inside this parenthesis that is Navy life...but living a "normal" civilian existence, with a house, and stability for my children, and a boss that appreciates my husband (his boss, not mine), and enough time in one state to finally get licensed.

I want my driver's license, and my car registration, and my voter registration, and my area code, and my home address to all match.

I find myself contemplating "ghosting" on FB.
I also find myself contemplating "telling people off" on FB.

Meanwhile, there is much to do, and very little time, and nothing official as to when anything is going to happen...and I find myself slowly falling apart.

Here's hoping that writing will help put the pieces of the neglected parts of me back together again....