Archive for the ‘redemption’ Category

“You can’t fix me,” an older person told me recently, then proceeded to hangup.

I hadn’t said much. I had simply shared a picture of a possibility for dealing with his negative feelings toward himself. I had said, “When the baby cries, we hold the baby, so when our soul cries, we might  …”

He wouldn’t have it, the self-care in it, the personal gentleness with the crying child within.

Of course, the “you can’t fix me,” has some truth to it. I can’t. We can’t. But such a defiant declaration, in this case, felt like a shield, a barrier thrown up, a protective rationalization to avoid changing, to avoid any solutions, to avoid taking responsibility for feelings — a decision to avoid self-care.  This may, indeed, be one of the great temptations of old age, living with a ubiquitous “I’m too old to change” mantra. This can problematize, pathologize and negativize a life.

One person loves their inner person, another hates the self inside, and other doesn’t think of self much at all. We live in the world we create in our minds.

But can change that world, the story, our biography, using insights, using new thoughts,  perhaps using information given us from others. It is possible to re-see our lives and re-story the past. Possible is a post-mythic stage of life, a post-stuck stage, a post-hurt or post-wounded stage of life in which we embrace reality, listen to new voices, seek the corrective perspectives of other family member’s stories, see things and people differently, even accept and experience redemption.

I was always a bit jealous that my older brother was sent away to a prestigious prep school when he was thirteen. It seemed to me, in this, that my parents were more invested in him than me. Recently, he told me that the experience caused him to experience an acute homesickness. Being separated from his family — it was full of pain.

Story-listening, I realized I would have felt the same. I would not have wanted to be away from home, family, hearth, pets, privacy, the safe harbor of mom and dad and brothers either. So, I can drop the envy. It was misplaced. I have; I do. I am now glad I wasn’t sent away to school.

It’s narrative psychology. We live in the world we create in our minds; we can change that world. We can, with other family member’s help, even perhaps co-author a new world, a different story, a more positive narrative.

We can. 

Perhaps — if we are open to grace, and healing.

I’m grateful.

Brains may default, choices may go rogue, ethics may atrophy, protective labels be ripped off, relationships come unmoored, hard surfaces crack, beautiful floorings stains — muck and yuck and lots of cluck — and yet …

After deformation, deterioration, defamation and detonation —  your basic buck and duck and chuck the muck  —  extraordinarily, new options may sprout, miraculous opportunities recrudesce, redemptive chances break through and the good within the good of the persistent good pop it’s beauteous head back up to the surface like a gorgeous baby Hippo surfacing in a becalmed African river.

Last week, on Saturday,  I watched my 89 year old mom cut her 70th wedding anniversary carrot cake while my little nieces Ruby and Rose chased each other through my brother’s house screaming, while one of my brothers sat and sweet-confabulated with my wife, while my lovely daughter and her boyfriend hung out laughing in the backyard with my nephew and his wife.

Last week at The REFINERY Church — the place I love and care for and have worked so very hard to esteem and redeem —  I watched new white base boards go into the youth room, new warm-yellow, mason jar, Edison bulb lights go up on the youth stage, a pretty new wood and glass door being placed into the opening between the courtyard and the Gallery and new lavender trumpet vines being planted on the big trellises framing the classroom building.

Good — all good, all positive, curative, redemptive good — for everyone who goes there, ever will go there or who still watches from afar — or up close.

Next Saturday I’ll go to a very fun, super-dooper-trooper, post-emptive-redemptive and ultra-moltra-resultra wedding in the new REFINERY Church courtyard. Two-hundred or so of my friends, neighbors and fellow congregants will be there. We will snoot, hoot, and root-the-reboot —  together!

It will be the good within the good of the pre-existent, mid-resistant ever-persistent good.

I am so grateful!