I'd like to tell you a story....
Once upon a time, a life time ago, there was a family. A pretty ordinary. They clothed themselves in the standard Christian clothing. Their closets held skeletons just like every other families does. Their bank accounts had holes, again, just like everyone else's does. Behind closed doors there was hurt and love just exactly like every other family.
There were kids and pets and laughter and drama.
I don't think I can paint a more clear picture of ordinary for you.
Somewhere in the ordinary, in the everyday, life began to make a slide for some of them. It began to creep, so slowly and subtly that no one saw.
There was a boy.
A pretty average ordinary boy. He had his boy dramas and teenage angst. He had his rebellions and piss off moments. Medical issues bothered his everyday, but nothing overly intense.
This boy was a listener. A sensitive soul even though he never seemed to be so.
He heard the words and felt the meanings of the unspoken.
Life is made of ups and downs in this family, the same as any other.
The intensity of his medical issues grew as he did, as does for most. Sometimes a person grows out of something, sometimes a person's issues grow bigger.
He experienced times of excruciating pain. The kind that forced tears to slip from the corners of his eyes at the slightest touch or movement.
He found his escapes. He had his eyes open too.
I know this man as an adult. I know only his side of life. And I know that life is exactly like the classic observation experiment. Every person that experiences something, like a car accident, will give a slightly different report of the "truth" of what happened. Each person is correct in their report.
As an adult, he's been accused of being a runner. A person who avoids his problems, refusing to confront and fix.
In a way he is.
Let me continue the story through his eyes.
As the years unwound, his family began to unwind. Or at least that's how it seemed in his eyes. To him, the problems grew and escalated in direct relation to him, his health, his personal ups and downs.
His love for his family pushed him to a different place. He pushed himself into a place that he hoped would cause less and less hurt and pain and problems for his family.
A quest began. One to deny and cover up and discount anything that might harm the family he loved so deeply. In order to stop their pain and problems, he stopped reaching out and began reaching in, except that over the years the reaching in took on it's own life. He found all the vices and tried them on for their escapes. Some helped, some didn't.
Some back fired on him and brought more harm and drama and unrest to those he loves.
He also began to deny who he was. He tried to become all the things and people who would please them, who would bring them joy and happiness and make them proud. He's still chasing that kite tail instead of being himself.
So now, he combines. He runs away and uses his preferred vices.
Never with the intent of harm for the family he loves more than his life, never with the intent of harming himself, but always with the intent of giving them a gift of peace.
It's the idea that pushes him to the place of thinking their lives would be better off without him in it.
Decades later, as an adult, he still clearly sees himself as only the source of drama and pain and problems in his family.
He runs furthest and pushes hardest against his dad, the one he loves the most, the one who loves him the most.
Remember, he's a listener, to the spoken and unspoken. He watched a lifetime of his dad slowly and steadily growing to believe more and more deeply by the day that he was a bad dad. A failure if you will, because as a dad, he couldn't protect his son. He couldn't heal his son. He couldn't fix all the hard parts of life.
Both hurt, dad and son, but neither are failures. Both do the best they can with the best intentions.
The man came to believe the only way to make his dad happy, was to pull away from him, further and further, because he alone was the sole source of the destruction of his dad's life. If his dad didn't feel so awful about all the broken pieces of his life, then his dad would be happy.
So now we see yet another twist in this tale. The man believes that his unsolvable issues, his medical stuff, is some how his own fault and is the biggest cause of pain in his dad's life.
There is another aspect to this story line.
The man doesn't believe he has the right to be sick or feel pain, because as so many well meaning, loving people have told him, over and over through the course of his life, it could be so much worse. He should be ever so grateful and thankful that he has a life as good as he does.
We've all said it at least once to someone when we really shouldn't have. We all have our junk in life to carry.
But now he's an adult, still wearing all the medical and emotional and life issues. He has given himself an added layer of failure and guilt though.
Life still happens to him and he still pushes in and pulls away instead of reaching out, still because he doesn't want to hurt the ones he loves.
He has learned to manage and control all his health issues, but life still happens. He takes calculated risks and sometimes the outcomes are bigger and "worse" than he expected. When the flares of his health issues pull him down for days on end, back to that place of excruciating pain, he adds on more, believing solidly he has no right to be sick, to feel the pain, to complain or be unhappy, simply because "it could be so much worse."
So what happens next in this story?
Well, I want to write it a happy ending. I want to tell you somehow the characters find a way back to each other. I want to have it be a magical love over comes all type of story.
I don't know that it is.
I want it to be.
But I don't know what will happen next.
I do know this is all our families.
This is the story of my sons and daughter. This is the story of myself. This is the story of my mother, my cousins, my brother. This is the story of my besties, of my "enemies".
We all see ourselves and our families in this tale.
In my own circles of life and reading I have been getting lots of "pushes" about love. What it really might be, how it might really act, the Christian cloud context of it all and who we really are as people. It's a lot to take in.
It's a lot to accept, our human failings and how profound those are. It's easy to sweep them away using all "the right words from the stories on the page". We know how to say all the platitudes and we toss them out quickly to soothe our own feelings at the recognition of how small we really are to "do it right".
I don't know that we, as humans, ever hit that spot of doing it mostly right most of the time. I know I don't and I won't.
This is where all of us Christians chime in about how great it is that we have the God we have and how perfect it is that He does what He does for us, and it is, but there is more too. Because that average, ordinary Christian clothed family from the start of the story is still in it's same place.
Yes, miracles happen and it could all be simply washed away and they could be completely "restored" to a "perfect" loving family, blah, blah, blah. It could.
Or it could do what it's done and stay what it has become.
Where do we go from here?
I don't know my friends. I really don't know.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
And sometimes, a story is just a story.