I’ve been thinking about my parents a lot lately. Maybe it’s because I miss them (everyday). Maybe it’s because I feel like I still need them (everyday). Maybe it’s because I’m tired and worn down and that always makes me a little more prone to depression. But lately I feel like I’m struggling against my children, against myself. Trying to be something I’m not.
I want to talk with them about it. Desperately. Was I like this? Did I do that? How did you handle me at that age so that I turned out so darn well? How did you not just give up?!!
We had a fall down, kick-the-wall, threatening violence, temper-tantrum this morning–over putting on shoes! The thought crossed my mind that my child was being possessed by a demonic spirit from Satan. Seriously.
After about 8 minutes in timeout, said child came and apologized sweetly and had breakfast (with shoes on) without another word about it. And the thought crossed my mind that my child was schizophrenic bi-polar. Or that I was living in a giant fishbowl of coordinated drama for the sole amusement of obsessive reality TV viewers. Seriously.
How does one fill their mind and day with the concepts of meekness, humility, patience, long-suffering, and all those sweet and gentle fruits of the Spirit when you seem to be surrounded by violent and ferocious emotion and voices all. day. long.?
I have very little reference for meekness and quiet. That wouldn’t describe anyone in my family. I think back on my parents, on my raising and training up, on my precious family life…there’s little of patience, little of quiet, nothing of meekness…I read the Word and know the Word, but I struggle to defeat the flesh and connect the Word to my daily life and walk.
But I want to. And I know that want stems from seeds planted by my parents. So I’ve been going back through my memories to see what’s back there to help me now.
And I see love.
My parents didn’t do meekness. My father didn’t have much use for the ideas of quietness and gentleness. I was never lectured about developing a character of meekness or long-suffering. We were raised to be strong, fierce, warrior princesses. We were raised to never give up, never give in, never let go. (And I have the nerve to wonder where my kids get it?!)
And yet they loved us.
They loved us with a love that was humble, considering other of more worth than yourselves.
They loved us with a love that was patient, unwilling to give up in trials.
They loved us with a love that was long-suffering, unable to be broken by tribulations.
They loved us fiercely.
Maybe I should start from there.
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)