I was sitting in the middle of my bed when I felt the
break. It was a knowing that shot up
from deep inside and broke into my
current thoughts like an earthquake, and then almost as suddenly it vanished. The break was that I knew it was
my fault. I cried at this; actually, writhed in pain would be a better
description albeit a bit dramatic. But it’s true, I did writhe in pain for a
few moments at the realization that I had played a part in my own demise; that I had been playing games with myself
without knowing what I was up to.
So here’s what happened:
When parents gets divorced, and handle it badly, it is like walking up
to their kids with a shiny silver platter, taking off the lid, and saying, “here
honey have some rejection, and abandonment, and low self-esteem, and trust
issues, and insecurity, and don’t forget the low self-worth! Make sure you tuck
them nice and snug into your backpack. Okay, now off you go. Good luck out
there!” Sheesh. Sad, but true. The problem that I was
currently facing was not that I had suddenly come to terms with the divorce and
realized I had to forgive my parents. I
had been down that road already, many times, and have forgiven them.
The problem that I was facing was me and my game playing. I was talking out of both sides of my
mouth. For years I have agreed with the
experts, and said many times myself, that when you are a kid growing up in your
parents’ house, you are the recipient, for better or worse, of how you are
raised. Adults who condemn probably grew up criticized. Adults who live with
guilt probably grew up with shame. Adults who like themselves probably grew up
with approval. Our parents wire our hard wiring. We are the way we are because
of how we were raised.
But, when we become adults ourselves, it is our job to
re-wire our hard wiring. I knew this, too. And this is where the game playing
was in full force. On one hand I acknowledged that I couldn’t use the backpack
they handed me as an excuse to
fail. I knew I could not say, “I cannot
achieve because I am not good enough; that’s what it says in my backpack.” On
the other hand, I was doing exactly that.
My mouth was saying, “it is my responsibility to have a good life,” and
my actions were showing, “I’m not good enough to be successful in friendships, to make my dreams a reality, to be a good wife or mom, etc., in order to
have a good life.” My back pack was so heavy and so deep rooted that it colored
every aspect of my life with a thick blanket.
It blinded me. I couldn’t see straight.
That’s when I found myself in the middle of my bed. There
was a break, a knowing that washed over me like a cold, wet rag. It was my
fault I wasn’t further along in life and I had to forgive myself for that. For sure, my
parents set me out in life on a tilted landscape. As an adult, I tried my best
to right my horizon but until I did, I made decisions, bad decisions, based on
the notes in my backpack. This is what I had to forgive myself for. I had to
forgive myself for being human, for having needs and looking in all the wrong
places to have them met. I had to forgive myself for believing the lie that I’m
not good enough, and for holding myself back from my dreams because of this
lie. I had to forgive myself for carrying around the backpack and letting the
madness go on for so many years. I should have known better, I should have known what was going on; but I didn’t, so I had to forgive myself for that. I had
to forgive myself for looking horizontally, at other people with their own
backpacks, to rescue me and fix me rather than looking vertically to the only
being that could truly meet my needs and heal me and give me self-worth; the
Creator himself, the Triune God.
That’s when the immediate healing came. It was like the
bones glued themselves back together. My horizon was now straight. I wasn’t
walking sideways anymore like the girl in the V8 commercial. I had my portion
of veggies in the form of forgiveness of myself. I sent my backpack to the
Smithsonian but I haven’t heard back from them yet. –Tara