It has nothing to do with you

Mr. Malakoa thinks it funny to snap for me to come over to him.  My mother does not.  Mr. Malakoa and I have been married more than six years, not a great amount of time, but long enough for her to say something about this.

She never has.  Until today.  Mr. Malakoa wanted to show me something on the computer so he called out, “Serving Wench” and snapped.  I’m not crazy about the snapping but don’t mind the Serving Wench.  It’s clearly a joke, albeit one that is not funny.

Today, my mother was in the kitchen and she told me, “Does he know how utterly objectionable that is?  It’s sexist and…”  She went on quite a while.

I said to her, “Why don’t you go tell him?”

At that point I broke and went in to talk to him about it.  My mother followed.  She told him what she told me, and said, “Maybe someday I can find it is funny, but having lived through the times when people  did that seriously, I’m not at the point that I can.”

What did I do right?  I told her to do it herself.

What did I do wrong?  I went and talked to him anyways.

I came close to drawing a line but didn’t do it.  It’s not a big deal, but was better than what I would do before.  In the past I would have fallen all over myself to get him to stop and please my parents.  Mr. Malakoa has reached the point he knows he can’t please them so he doesn’t try, but I’m not there so much.  It seems like more good than bad comes from them, but according to him it’s impossible to be the right thing to them.  So he’s not doing it.  I’ll be he’ll stop with the whole “wench” thing when they are around, though.

Mr. Malakoa is the ultimate boundary setter, and some times it pisses me off.  Instead of doing something for me, like helping me make the baby’s bed, he makes me do it myself or wants to teach me how to do it.  I didn’t say I wanted to learn how to do something, I wanted him to do it with me.  He’s not for it.  And I’m stuck with this new task I don’t want to do.  (I’m half kidding.)

But let’s move on.

There is a very good chance your parents are sinners.  So are all of the people that are going to be at your Thanksgiving dinner.  I don’t have to tell you that this sort of thing brings up difficult memories – depression might come on stronger, regrets, resentments might rule the day.  If there is hard liquor there is the chance you’ll be on pins and needles waiting for the scene.   They’re all a part of the celebration.

I’m not going to say that things don’t have to be that way.  This is a good time to be in your Bible and to sing hymns and spiritual songs, but that’s not going to cure all of the past years of hurt.  There is probably a time you will come and be ready to forgive them, but if this is not the time for that, it is a waste of your heart to feel guilty about your inability to do so now.  If you’re in therapy, now is a good time to meet more often that you do know.  If you have a spouse or best friend, go shopping, or bake with them and talk about how you feel about all this stuff that went right and went wrong at holidays in the past.  If you don’t have either one, why not shoot me an email?  I can’t fix things, but I can better know how to pray for you.

One last thing – if you have a relative that beats you down, especially a parent, I want you to realize right now that you did not have the parents you deserved.  They might have been the parents that you needed, and it might be a chance for you to comfort others, but you might now be at that point, yet.  Now that I have a child of my own I cannot perceive how terribly some moms and dads treat their children.  I’m not going to go into it here because I don’t want you to have flashbacks or bring more hurt upon you, but I really want to emphasize that the verbal and physical abuse was never acceptable.  You may have made mistakes or were flat-out naughty, but you didn’t bring it upon yourself.  Take a moment and believe me, no matter what anyone else says.

My dad used to tell me, when I was a middle schooler and high school student, that you don’t choose your parents.  I believe him: Your parents are given to you, and you are given to them like a treasure.  It doesn’t mean you are treated like one, but it doesn’t stop who you are.  The parents were not your idea and their behavior, again, has nothing to do with you and everything to do with yourself.  I believe you need to obey the commandment, “Honor your mother and father,” no matter what, however difficult it is.  It’s the first command with a promise – you do so, so “all will go well with you.”  What a surprise that honoring them brings you good things in your life.

And a very last thing:  Even terrible parents can’t stop you from being all you were meant to be.  You are a wonderful person; you do have talent and you can pursue the things you desire.  It may be harder for you because of your past, but it’s entirely possible.

I have met people at the “behavioral center” that went through horrible, brutal things.  One, who was 32, told me if that thing hadn’t happened to him, he would be somebody.  His current profession was drug dealing and he had spent time in prison for hitting a police office.  He truly believed his chances were gone and his life was over.  He had received over a million dollars and was in a position most of us were dying to to have.  He didn’t need to be there.  And it’s not too late for you, either.

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