Sunday, June 7, 2009

Jaded & Bittersweet

So, I had a mini-meltdown in church today. Had to go to the bathroom because I didn't have any tissues in my purse and then refrain from bringing out a roll of toilet paper with me to wipe my snot and tears.
This flood of emotions hit me from my blind spot like a mac truck on the interstate, but I can tell you now how it found me..... (this is your 'get a tissue' warning)
I know families are not supposed to have favorites. We are supposed to love all our kin equally, right? That's a lie. We are human and we are flawed and selfish with our own likes and dislikes. Some people we get along with and some we don't. Well, I've always considered myself to be more like my mother's side of the family than my dad's. They were/are sweet, kind, generous, loving, non-judgemental..... all the things families are supposed to be. And I was one of them, a Bearss/Bennett. Directly. By blood. The other side was fun when I was little, with the fishing trips and yard sales. But as I got older, I started to see the manipulation, guilt trips and favoritism creep in to my world. One of the other grandkids was always better at something than you were. You never came to visit enough like they did. If you didn't eat something that Grandma had made, you were intentionally trying to hurt her feelings. You get the idea...... And when I was old enough to be able to decide for myself when I would visit, the visits became fewer and far between.
But now that my dad's parents are living in my parents' house, I have been forced to spend more time with them and have come to notice things about them and myself that I hadn't before. Or maybe that I hadn't wanted to see before.
Like how Grandma and I eat our breakfast exactly the same: crumble the bacon over the grits and the eggs and eat them all together. How Grandma and I both have to clean the crumbs off the table around us after we are done eating. Lots of little nuances and quirks that are the same but aren't glaringly obvious until you spend a lot of time with that person.
So, I have been forced to see that despite how hard I have denied being a Hampton/Almond in the past, I AM one of them too. Directly. By blood. And you can't run away from that.
(Yes, I know that this self-denial falls into the judgemental and favoritism categories that I was denouncing before, and I do catch the irony of it, so don't rub it in. This is where the mini-meltdown part of my day comes in.)
This weekend I got to see a whole new side of my Papa. The mean, hurtful, bully side. And while at first I was just seriously pissed off that he had emotionally tortured my mother, I later started wondering..... is he just getting crazy in his old age (90), or is this who he really is? Has he been putting on a show for all these years and has just now gotten where he doesn't care to hide any more?? Is this one of those personality traits that has been passed on to me and so far I have been successful in keeping it locked up inside me? This was the thought that scared me the most. That one day I would become like him, how he was this weekend.
I was sitting in church during worship with all these thoughts swirling around in my head when the dam broke. Tears streamed down my face and I had to go outside because I could feel the sobs coming. And as I stood outside staring at the pastures across the street from our church, trying to pull myself together so I could go back inside, I heard the Lord say to me: You are not their child. You are Mine. You will become who I am if you will trust Me and follow Me. You don't have to give in to your DNA, because I have adopted you and made you My own. Of course this made the tears flow even more, but also gave me a peace that I hadn't felt for some time.
So, now I have to choose to love the parts of my grandfather that are like my heavenly father and forgive the parts that are not. (crap.)
But doing this will make me more like the God who saved me from myself. And that's the person I want to be. The person He sees. Not the person I think I am or am afraid I will become.

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