Anything can set it off. Yesterday it was a parched tree, stripped of its bark. Under the cloak of a clear azure sky and adjacent to healthy trees beginning to shed their green for crimson and buttery hues; it was there, lying on its side along Hwy-23 in Fond du Lac.
A cast off.
used and left to decompose
I felt like that tree, so worn and ugly. Without thinking, I pulled to the side of the road and parked.
Tears formed, and I wept forcefully for my lost childhood; for the betrayals, sting of abuse and immense responsibility heaved upon the shoulders of a chubby girl who should have been allowed to play. On the exterior, the family presented perfection, but on the inside, there was darkness, secrets and pain.
Of course, coming forward with concealed truths often creates reverberation from others in the clan. Denial from pain so great, it is often cloaked in other unhealthy escapes. I understand them, as I used to escape too. It is not my mantle to judge as I did not reside in their bodies, but for me, it needs to seep through the cracks in my soul to the land of forgiveness. For only in that sacred space, can we experience grace.
I thought I had come to peace with it until the doctor’s report revealed old scars that erupted in me, new anger, anguish and lachrymose. For days, I thought of little else, weeping often.
Today, I am able to recall the good days, and there were many. The laughter, baking, vacations, going to Mass, family parties, and holiday fun.
It makes me smile.
I do miss them, terribly. And forgiving them is nothing new, though I cannot deny the scars, for the scars were the catalyst in creating my brokenness and allowing the hand of God to begin His work. Long before they each passed, we cried, we confronted the darkness, they asked for forgiveness and I comforted them.
They didn’t know; for every parent wants to do well, but we know so little when we begin and soon it has galloped away from us. Unless we make an effort to change, we often model and act on the behaviors we loathe.
The thing with forgiveness is, it isn’t a solo performance; it is ongoing and ever changing, and as with the story unearthed within my ribs, it offers a new opportunity to free myself from the bondage of resentment.
No longer do I desire comparison to the withered tree, instead, I wish to be supple like the red velvety petals of a rose, the purr of a kitten just finishing a bowl of milk or a child experiencing love for the first time.
God doesn’t want our hardened unforgiving hearts; he wants us to be welcoming, forgiving and supple. And He wants us to be free.