I’ve had a heart to heart with my mother about upbringing – which reinforces my stance on how important it is to follow God’s guidance in life and child-rearing. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the Bible applies to so much of our lives today – it really is not just a history book for a particular group of faith-followers…
I can’t say that I know what my grandmother’s childhood was like and I won’t pretend to understand what my mother went through growing up. Even having a verbal account come from my mother’s lips, there are many things I simply wouldn’t be able to relate to. Other things I can relate to a little too well. In saying this, will I then be able see the world the way she sees it? No. Not even a little bit.
So… where my grandmother kept my mother at a distance as a child and sent her off to live away from home – with relatives whom she didn’t know or cared about – in order to protect her and give her a better life, my mother did the opposite.
My mother took her own childhood experiences and clang to us, isolating my brothers and I from the rest of the world to the point that even now, in our adulthood, we find it hard to integrate with the rest of our family and at best, we keep close friends at a polite distance.
Thus my mother felt rejected by her mother so she rejected all other relationships but those she felt she could control.
On the other hand, I felt manipulated by my mother so I chose to leave home.
Ten years on and my mother cannot make amends with her mother because granny has passed away but my mother has found a small measure of healing and is moving forward with her life and opening up to new opportunities.
As for me, I moved back home with my mother and now enjoy spending time with her, curling up on the sofa, watching movies and sneaking food onto her bed when I steal her blankets.
Anger, I find, is such a devastating emotion. From righteous anger at the end of a war where we destroy everything on sight that brings back memories of those monstrous times under the regime of our enemies… years later, all those reminders, which coincidently happen to be positive too, are gone and we have no scars to show for our growth and perseverance. Worse, we keep silent and hidden away so our future generations have no growth, no history to look back on and to learn from.
To the stupid anger, which causes heartbreak and tears apart relationships on misunderstandings. We miss out on life and experiences shared because our pride and our stubbornness get in the way of reaching out and forgiving, apologising and reconciling.
These are the consequences of our narrow-minded point of view and lack of active communication between one another to make a change. This is what happens when we follow our own limited understanding of the reality that we encounter and assume the rest of the world will stand still when we close our doors and windows. This is the end result of circumstances and influences that we endure and of how we cope with the difficulties of life in a very real way that is not necessarily “fight or flight” but very much like “settling” all because we don’t want to step out and find out if there’s more out there than this perceived enemy at our doorstep.
“God’s ways are higher than our ways.”
Life is so much more than settling, so much more than fight or flight in dire situations that we don’t know how to handle. We can choose to push or leave, ask or hide, trust or reject, live or die… ultimately, it is up to us to live our lives regardless of the experiences that we have been dealt with and in fact we should be living life to the fullest with those very scars that we obtain, showcasing to others how far we’ve come along in our maturity.
Insomuch as being Christians we believe that our strength and fortitude comes from God and our trust in Him, but God has created us to be able to overcome hurdles and struggles even when we don’t give Him the credit. We were not created for failure, we were created for growth.
One of the reasons I like picking up the Bible is because I have a fairly vivid imagination and reading, to me, is like watching a movie in my head. There are so many stories, lives and illustrations in these pages that depict our own reality and how God influences our lives through the choices made. There are so many lessons that can be learned.
The Bible is the beautiful tale about God’s never-ending love for the humanity He created and the sobering realisation of how we repeat history, walking down well worn paths that our ancestors have thread and our descendants are likely to visit too in their own lifetime.
God gives us the choice to do relationship with Him and He doesn’t chase us down with thunder and lighting if we don’t choose Him. But all things have consequences and results that shape our lives. We must decide which choices make the most sense, not only for ourselves but for our present and future generations; for the people we meet and influence and for the people who’s life we’ll impact even when we don’t meet them directly.
Personally I believe it is so important, so very vital that lessons on open and honest communication begin from a young age. We need to shape our children from as early as we can with good morals and good guidelines so that they have a strong foundation as they grow up and they will not find themselves confused and struggling with fundamental life tools in their latter years.
To get to that stage of growth takes open honesty and a dedication to improve life as we know it. This is important not only for yourself but just as much as for others.
Of course, communication isn’t simply verbal and neither is it thoughtless ramblings of whatever comes to mind, or a backlash of sudden hot emotion. It takes patience and kindness. It’s empathetic and encouraging. It soothes and it corrects lovingly.
The irony of this entry is that Communication for me is so key and yet I am so absolutely bad at it. Getting me to put pen to paper, I’m pretty confident and open but get me to have a verbal conversation and I will ramble on forever about nothing and forget what the point of the conversation was to begin with.
Ask me to make a verbal argument or corner me in a verbal confrontation. You’re going to get nothing out of me. I freeze, my mind goes blank and I then I get emotional and the mental stutters come in full force. Even worse, if you are someone close to me, I get defensive and really nasty but I will never be direct about what I actually think or feel. I just want to hurt you for hurting me.
There’s still so much I have to learn and in so many ways I need to open up those channels of communication for my sake as much as for those around me.
The imperativeness of our lives and what we do with it encapsulates to how we respond to circumstances and thus help others respond to their situations. Most of what we do are recycled ideas and plans, hopes and dreams, sacrifices and successes. We limit ourselves and those around us by not sharing life experiences.
The Bible isn’t the only book that I love. I love reading. From visiting lands that don’t exist to learning something new or something old. The Bible however does bring me closer to my Father who is, every day, from step to step, teaching me to grow more and more into the kind of person I want to be.
Eventually, I hope to be able to be the kind of wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter and stranger that adds to those around me, opening up new opportunities of growth that creates a ripple affect that touches more lives than I can count.
We’ll have to wait and see.