How do you want your children to remember you?
After those first couple of years after they left to strike out on their own, will they still seek you for advice or barely call? Did you bless or burden their childhood?
I was struck by how much I, and many commentators, resonated with Hands Free Mama’s post The Bully Too Close to Home. Our internal bully lashes out on the ones we love most because we will never be enough, they will never be enough…and in the process we pass that voice onto them.
If the calendar suddenly flipped 20 years, with a continuance of who I was, I think my children would feel burdened. What I hope my children don’t remember about me… How I would cry because of chronic pain. That I would yell over little frustrations because I was overwhelmed by life.
I can’t express how thankful I am that their father always has had such a different reaction to the stuff of life. That they have seen him reach out to comfort me because he knew that my anger was an expression of my pain. That they listened to the words of peace he would whisper over me. That they heard his prayers to God. I know because I’ve seen them comfort each other with hugs and an “Okay?” I’ve felt them crawl up into my lap and their tiny arms reach around to hug me while I’ve cried.
Do you ever want to hit the reset button? Just clear a path through all the junk that has built up in your mind? You can, no matter the year, the day, or time. The only path I’ve found to change and renewal is one that I have to choose constantly, on a daily basis. If I coast and do not consciously choose, I tend to drift back towards a self I don’t like: feeling powerless and overwhelmed, running on fumes and fuming.
When I refocus on God, when I dwell on Him, through reading His word, praying and worshiping, all these things that have piled up in my mind can get cleared out of the way. Only then can I truly see and love those around me.
And if they remember who I have been, I hope that they see a mother who, while she could never love them enough, found a way to change. That they know that hope is always there, to know that forgiveness is possible. To know and follow the Way. To allow the One is who overwhelming to show us that He has already overcome what threatens to overwhelm us.
We’re all on our journeys to healing and wholeness. Sometimes it’s only when we take a hard look at ourselves, our hangups, whatever they may be and no matter their cause –envy, anger, pride, greed, lack of self control–that we can start our journey on a better path.
Enough is enough. Let’s stop setting the standard at perfection because, let’s face it, despite our resolve we still make a mess of things. What do you do in that moment when you realize you didn’t even graze the bar? Be a blessing.
“You never fail until you stop trying.”