Sunday, June 8, 2014
It’s become so incredibly obvious that the time came for me to let go of trying to have a real relationship with members of my paternal family of origin…at least for now…and possibly indefinitely. It became clear to me this past week when, on the anniversary of my father’s attempted murder, my attempt to once again address issues from my childhood with my relatives was met once again with the same avoidance that has gone on for years.
I do not understand how two people who have professed to think of me as “the son they never had” and who had a dog of their own at one point could essentially say nothing in response to my disclosure of an incident from my youth in which my stepmother deliberately struck a neighbor’s dog with her car. How can a person blindly ignore such cruelty by not even acknowledging my disclosure? By failing to acknowledge my disclosure in any way whatsoever it seems to me they are tacitly condoning the violence and unethical conduct that was an unfortunate element of some of the most formative time of my early life.
More to the point, how can someone who is avowedly a practicing Catholic behave in such a way? To be perfectly blunt let me rephrase the criticism: Who would Jesus ignore? Indeed, how can completely avoiding the difficult topic of misconduct and abuse be construed to be at all in keeping with the teachings of Jesus Christ? In my mind there can be no congruence because Jesus was not tolerant of cruelty, deceit and exclusion. Jesus is not reputed to have ignored the marginalized, the suffering, the victims of violence. In fact, he is reputed to have been as welcoming, kind and nurturing of them as he was of anyone else he encountered. I can still remember the story of Jesus saying to a man crucified next to him (while he himself suffered his own crucifixion) that he would join Jesus in paradise.
More broadly speaking I simply do not understand (and believe I never will understand) my fellow American citizens who blather on about being such Christian people and yet act in the most un-Christian of ways. Consider the following laundry list of issues:
- Do you marginalize the poor?
- Do you persecute minorities?
- Do you steal?
- Do you gossip for the pleasure of undermining others' reputations?
- Do you deprive people of justice for crimes they have been victims of?
- Do you ignore the pain of others (regardless of whether you have contributed to the suffering of others or not)?
- Do you willfully avoid all challenges that might be made to unethical, irresponsible and/or unkind conduct and attempt to victimize those who challenge you on your harmful behavior?
If you can honestly answer ‘Yes’ to any of these questions then your conduct does not align with what I understand Jesus is reputed to have taught were the values of the Kingdom of God.
As I have noted in previous writings I do not know that I personally believe in the historical Jesus Christ as shared with me by the Catholic Church during my childhood.
The whole of Jesus’ life makes for a nice and even inspiring story. And perhaps he did live on this Earth at one point. But I have come to this point in my own evolution: I believe we should be kind and caring to one another not because we believe some deity would like or expect us to behave in such a way but because being human is enough of a reason to be kind and decent to one another. And yet apparently having that as a reason to be kind is alone not enough for many people. It is enough for me. I suppose I would fit the description of a secular humanist. Again, I do not care what the exact term is.
As I finally move on from expecting my paternal family of origin to ever change in a significant way I feel a lot of grief. This is to be expected. Letting go of dreams that those closest to you will truly be present and listen to you is not necessarily easy. Indeed, it can be excruciating. But it’s also necessary if I want to maintain my own health.
This June continues to be much better than last June was. My cholesterol was noted to have increased by forty-six points according to the lab results I received yesterday. This is a bit concerning to me. But otherwise my physical health is quite good. Restoring the health of my outlook remains the larger task.
In other news I continue to marvel at how vivid the world appears to my perception now. It still hasn’t even been a year since I began to experience the beneficial results of EMDR therapy. So it’s still my first time around the wheel of the seasons in which I am experiencing the wondrous beauty of the world without the subtle veneer of trauma clouding my perception. It’s been raining so much lately that the Twin Cities is beginning to look like a northern version of a tropical jungle. There is so much vivid greenery everywhere! And it seems I have never appreciated the beauty of the color green as much as I do now!