Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Born into LOVE

remember those that.." loved us into being".

Psalm 139

 A quote from Mr. Rogers in a remake of his life in a 2019 movie, starring Tom Hanks. I have not seen it yet, but an interview with the actor included a scene with this statement by Rogers. There I sat, stunned by the thought that my parents wanted me. My father was so disappointed by me not being a BOY. I heard this in his voice, over and over, as he so admired all the nephews. My name was to be "Lance". My mother endured many arguments with her mother in law and my dad over circumcision or not. Dad was vehement about it. No one was going to call him "unclean", nor would his son be. He would NOT be cut. Mom confided in me, at age 35, that she was so stressed, she considered ending her life over it. I know now of my father's deep prejudice of the Jewish people and this was also in his strong feelings about it. So my mother, not the mothering type, has four girls, in hopes of having a boy for my father.

  I went to my old photos and found two pictures. and I looked at them closely. I had not really seen them. Here was my father proudly holds up his firstborn daughter. Out of his own life of brokenness, addiction, family neglect, and being at his father's side during a fatal logging accident, my father kept on living. My mother's own upbringing in a southern Idaho religious cult, after sexual abuse by the founder and eventual exile by her own family, met my father and was willing to start a family. What follows my birth is more trauma for my whole family. Drinking leads to domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect.

Therefore, I have spent most of my adult life on a psychological roller coaster. In therapy since college. Literally in a bi-polar adult lifestyle, emotionally up and down, now understood as both genetic and caused by childhood trauma creating my PTSD. There was little room in my mind to establish much self-esteem. At my core was the belief I was not good enough for my dad.  My journey has been about finding my "wholeness" and my true Father. I was baptized and confirmed while taking religious studies at the university. My dad, when asked, came to my baptism, the only family member to do so. I so wanted Him to accept me. I can now see the relationship with my own father and my concept of my Creator was the same. If I was not good enough to be loved it was better to not believe in a Holy Father at all for I would never be worthy. So I explored other practices, Zen, Buddhism, Taoism, and more. Looking for a way of life I could be proud of myself for living.

It is now clear to me, in these photos, that my parents loved me into being. With every bit of heart, mind, soul, and strength they left their pasts behind and went on with life and I am here as living proof of this hope for their futures. Just as God loved us all into being and sent his Son, Jesus to show us how to be fully human, to love, with all of our traumas and weaknesses. My parents both chose to go on with living, to pursue some normalcy, happiness, and hope for the best. I was taught how to be a survivor, to endure another day. Because of this endurance, my mother would hold a factory job for 11 years with weekly rotating shifts. The only job that paid a woman union-wage so a single mother could raise four children and stay off welfare. We had to look on a calendar to find out if our mother was home, sleeping or working. We were called " latch key'' kids. My father barely kept a job after mom divorced him twice and injured himself falling two stories off a scaffold at work after showing up hungover. He even survived a suicide attempt at 55, to become sober for the first time during the last two years of his life. He had been drinking since his week-long binge, after watching his father die in his arms, nearly cut in half from a logging accident on the Oregon coast. He was 17.

My father taught me loyalty to family, tradition, Norwegian pride, the pride of one's craft, and the gift of gab. He was also a very affectionate man. My mother taught me commitment, respect, and gentleness to all living things, and not to fear independence.

 My parents' lives have given me faith in God. I can see God's grace. We CAN love, bring joy, give, and receive forgiveness. Carl "Windy" [story teller}and Alberta "Bert", thank you for being my parents, your firstborn "Judy Lynn".

                                                                             Joy and blessings.

from my dear friend, Lindsay

My Chosen Theme

What has LOVE got to do with it?


First of all, I am 70 years old and do not profess to know the full meaning of this word, or what it means to love another, let alone myself. I will spend my whole life and probably the life of this blog writing about the only subject I could deem worthy.

Second, the word LOVE here is capitalized because for me it is interchangeable with GOD. It is with this Love,  He came to be with us. This is my deepest knowing as a follower of the teachings of Yeshua, Jesus. When asked, he spoke of only two commandments, both equal. Love thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength and Love thy neighbor [with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength, my understanding and imperfect practice. ] as thyself.. Mark 22:37

 To me God is LOVE and LOVE is God, so I will be asking also "What has God have to do with it?"

This question has been with me since my first clear memory at the age of five. I was standing, hidden away from view by any family member, standing up against the huge picture window facing the front lawn. The floor-length floral curtains and large maroon tufted couch hid me from anyone even knowing I was in the room. I could see the whole world out there, neighbors walking and cars driving past my house. We lived in one of the newly built "suburbs" of the fifties, just commuting distance from Portland, Oregon. An old farmstead purchased outside a small town called Milwaukie, with an "ie," I used to always say as a kid and even an adult.

I still remember what I was feeling that day, with all my strength, as a child in pain, asking from my mind, "It is not supposed to be this way", from my heart, "Why don't they love me?" and my soul, " I feel so alone?"

Was I being heard that moment, in that room, on that day? It was perhaps my first prayer. Did I know even then as a child someone was listening?

  This is when, I know now, my journey and path began to open up to me. It was not going to be one I would have tolerated or allowed for a child and will eventually influence me to consider later to not raise children myself. The greatest sacrifice of my life came from the fear I was too much like my parents. I did not learn from them how to feel connected and cared for. I learned about drinking, screaming, hitting, crying, hiding, hunger, loneliness, shame, blame, beatings, and worst of all neglect.

What has GOD got to do with that?

This leads to my next post, Born into LOVE, and forgiveness for me and my parents.

John 4:16