Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Some Good Times With Mom and Dad

Today I want to share some happy memories of my parents.

First Dad. When I first got my driver's license, I worked at McDonald's in Carey (about a 20-minute or so drive from our house in Sycamore). Occasionally they would let me drive the van to work. They did not have insurance that would cover me as a driver, so Mom almost never let either my older brother or me drive, and when she did, she was extremely cautious and worried the whole time.

One day I decided to take the scenic route to work, and took some back roads that went past my Uncle jim and Aunt Betty's house in the country. So, even though there were no cars there and likely no one was home, I was so excited to be DRIVING past their house that I started honking and waving...and NOT taking my foot off the gas.... I forgot there was a sharp turn in front of their house...with a steep ditch and a field beyond....

Long story short, I left van tracks in the field. It was not my aunt and uncle's field. I got out of the field and made it to work, but CSI had recently become popular on television, and I was just sure the police were going to study the tracks in the field and trace the havoc back to me...and I would end up rotting in a jail cell...so I called home to fess up. And I specifically asked for Dad, because for some reason, he was less likely to kill me for what I'd done. And he took the news very well, and it was forever our little secret from Mom.

Another car story with Dad...when I first started driving with my permit, they had gotten me a $250 yellow '77 Chevette that barely qualified as a vehicle, and one day Dad rode with me while I drove it into Sycamore. And the hood came up and blocked my view as I drove down 67 from Belle Vernon. It never even crossed my mind to pull over, so I just stuck my head out my window to see and kept driving. Ever so patiently Dad looks over and says, "Umm...are you going to stop?" :D

And one more memory with Dad involved playing a friendly game of Euchre one night with Bobby and joe Turner at their house when I lived there. I forget exactly what we were talking about, but to illustrate whateve I was saying, I asked everyone, "Haven't you ever blown in a cat's ear?" And I took it for granted that they all had.... Dad looks over his hand of cards at me from across the table, cocks his eyebrow and says, "No, I can't say that I have...." And everyone laughed at me for a VERY LONG TIME.

Mom, on the other hand, was always cooking. It's what she did. And I don't care who you are, my mom cooks better than yours, I'm pretty sure of it. So what I remember about Mom was how we would always have TGIF and movie nights on Fridays with David and jesse and sometimes Holly (my Uncle Dave's kids), and Mom would always keep the popcorn coming.

And when I would spend the night at my cousin jessica's house, we would always call Mom and ask for recipes...like for french toast and fudge and stuff like that. And Mom would always make spaghetti for jess and send some home with her because she loved it and no one else at her house did.

And last Christmas (two thousand eight), Mom had printed out three recipes for me that I particularly wanted (caramel popcorn, buckeyes and pumpkin roll) and made two of them with me to demonstrate how it was done. (I often give her a hard time and accuse her of not teaching me how to cook, so I think that was her way of shutting me up!)

Occasionally Mom and I would slip out to a movie with no boys, too. Three movies I remember going to see with her are Dr. Giggles, Sister Act, and What Women Want (with Mel Gibson...oh yeah!).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Love

For the last week, I have been going through boxes...a lot of them...boxes of...stuff. It's stuff I've accumulated since I was 13 or 14 - school work, notes, pictures...folders, papers, notebooks...bills and junk mail...just a ton of stuff I either wanted to save for sentimental reasons, or stuff that got piled up and boxed up because I just didn't want to go through it at the time. This stuff has been moved with me from place to place, everywhere I've moved in the last 10 years. I thought it was time to go through it and get rid of it. I'm down to the last four boxes.

I found a little photo album my mom had put together for me of my high school graduation and party. There were pictures of my dad and my grandpa, both of whom are dead now. Dad wasn't smiling in any of the pictures...he just looked disinterested. That's how he looks in most pictures I have of him from special events and holidays from my and my siblings' childhood. It made me sad, and it brought back a lot of emotions and feelings I had forgotten about...feelings I've run from and tried to forget about since I moved out of my parents' home 10 years ago...feelings that have followed me and dwelt beneath the surface despite my best efforts to squash them into oblivion.

My high school graduation occurred at a very difficult time in my life - it was two years after my brother hung himself, and I was still going through a time of extreme grief and depression. My brother's death troubled me for reasons other than the obvious. I guess somewhere deep inside I knew he felt the same way I did.

Unloved.

In my teenage mind, I just could not comprehend why my brother had lived for 14 years, feeling unloved like I did, just to end his own life and that be it. It seemed sad and unjust to me. And yes, I did question God about it. A lot. Until He told me to stop. [I then stopped questioning and was able to go on with my life.]

Of course, I am no longer a teenager living with my unhappy parents, and my brother's death was almost 12 years ago. My relationship with my parents has greatly improved in the last few years. [Their own relationship, however, which was never a good one, devolved eventually into a divorce a couple years after I moved out.] And tonight I think I came to a realization.

It was never about me.

My parents loved me. They just didn't feel loved themselves, because of numerous circumstances and happenings, and so they weren't capable of expressing real love to anyone else.

Not only did/do my parents love me, but so many others have loved me...people who owe me nothing have loved me with the love of Christ, and it has made me into a completely different person. His love is true, and it is powerful, healing and transforming.

Every person on earth is important and is here for a reason. But some [many] people are so broken and damaged because they have never known the love of Christ...they have only known imperfect love from imperfect, damaged people...that they do not function anywhere near their full potential.

1 john 4:10-12 says, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." This tells me two things: 1) people experience the love of God through other people, and 2) if God's love is in us, then we must and will express it to other people.

God, help me to love other people perfectly, with Your love. Help me to see others as You see them. Help me to judge every person as equally deserving of Your love! Help me to love people in such a way that their true humanity is healed and restored...so they can in turn love others with that same redeeming love.