You know that video?
The one with the girls all beating up the one girl. They keep showing it , over and over on all the news shows.
This morning it was on NBC. Rod was watching it. I watched Rod. His face had a look of pity, disgust and anger on it.
I told Rod it gave me a feeling of familiarity. (yes, everything is all about me today, apparently)
I've been in the position of the girl who was getting hit more than a few times.
The rage would catch me by surprise and then it was all swinging fists and screaming as I would try to cover my head with my arms.
It was my Mom who would do it.
My childhood was spent trying to avoid her out of pure fear. I never knew for sure what would set her off. Out of the two, rage or apathy, her apathy was preferable.
One time I rode our horse when it's foot was hurt. One time I went to bed without washing my mascara off. Once I was doing poorly in math. Those are particular times I remember. There were plenty more.
As I grew up, I slowly figured out that not everyone lived like us. Not every kid was afraid all the time.
As a kid who was ever hit for whatever reasons, I slowly discovered that the physical bruises fade quickly(at least in our family) and are actually almost inconsequential.
The shame of having a parent who treats you worse than you would treat a dog leaves a wound that is difficult to heal. The more I saw parents that doted and loved on their children, the more ashamed I felt. I was unworthy of that love. What was wrong with me?
But God placed people in my life. Jesus with skin on. A church family.(Psalm 68:6) Most importantly Rod, who loves me unconditionally beyond all others and stuck by me. (After 25 years of marriage it still nudges my heart and gives me butterflies that I can say, with conviction "Rod loves me." It still seems like such an unexpected gift.) He taught me what love really is and showed me what it is not. And believe me, I tested him. Poor guy.
When I had my own children, I adored them with every atom in my body, and I was terrified that I was going to hurt them. As they grew, that fear receded and my love for them grew, year after year. I just didn't know about that all-encompassing tidal wave of parental love. I loved them with my entire being during those harsh unlovable teen years, when it is a struggle and they sometimes look at you with contempt.
Now it is an easy joy again.
When I see this cheerleader video, I can feel those old scars and the anger begins to find a foothold. Shame, guilt and anger.
Forgiveness, like love, is a choice, not a feeling.
Though I have forgiven my Mom, sometimes I just gotta do it again. Not justify it, or rationalize her behavior. But forgive, as I have been forgiven.
Not because of her, or even me. But because of Him.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13