Wow, I cannot remember writing more than one or two posts about my current personal struggles in a long while. Yet it is here, it is heavy on my heart and my fingers are near a keyboard. I vowed from day one to be transparent when I write here and I have. I truly believe any success this blog has had is in large part due to the fact that I don’t sugarcoat or bypass the tougher issues altogether but head straight into them. I suspect today may be one that I am far from alone in.
You know as messed up as my upbringing was in so many areas, I have never been one to hold bitterness or live a life complaining about how unfair my start was in this world. I have always felt that if anything it would set me back further then I already was. So although memories don’t just die away, I made a decision to not allow my past determine my future. Honestly I had enough on my plate that I had no choice but to deal with that adding on more bad memories would just sink me.
Holidays in my family have never been ” holidays”. I cannot remember ever having a long table full of people in my family gathering to eat and celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving. I have no recollection of our family ever sitting down for a meal on a holiday. As a middle school kid, I remember getting invited to a friend’s house now and again for a holiday and just taking it all in. It was as much entertainment as anything. After all I did not walk home kicking a can frowning complaining about my family’s lack of anything. I did not know there was a right or wrong way. It was what it was.
For the sake of length and today being fathers day I am going to stay on that topic ( Fathers Day) in this post and some major struggles I have had as an adult due to the absence, violence and unsure state of mind I have always had about my own father. Let me reiterate something. If I wanted to word things a little differently I could tell some pretty hideous stories about my father and the start he gave my brother an I in life by introducing us to booze, porn and smokes in 3rd grade. I could write a book on how those things set me back, made me seem like a pervert, and have people thinking I was a rebel by 9 years old. After all nobody told me it was not cool to roll up on my bike to my buddies house to play with a pack of Marlboro reds rolled up my sleeve.
As an adult I have paid a hefty price for a few of those things though. For example when a 10-year-old and his little bro are hanging out at dads little lake shack for the weekend, we were accustomed to having playboy bunny types from a local club come by and ” disappear ” with dad into the bedroom and making some zoo animal like noises. Heck we tried to pass the time without dad’s attention by just kicking back on his couch reading his Hustler mags and smoking his smokes. Oh well we thought , we will get our turn later.
What an incredible impact those times made on my life that I would not learn until high school when it came time for dating, and the overall purpose of a woman, Even into my 20’s and deciding to get serious with a girl ( which meant I was nice enough to hide all the others I was..um, seeing as well.) That was a true gentleman to me. Now imagine in all other areas a boy relies on his daddy for . It was the same perverted perspective no matter what the scenario. You see not only did we learn from my dad’s actions, but from his lack of action,. There did not come a day were where he sat us down and had that ” boy did I make some bad mistakes” talk and helped us out of any mindsets he had shaped. Quite honestly I don’t think he ever felt he did anything wrong . If he is still living today I’m sure he would just change the subject.
To sum up my experiences with dad I would say this to give you an accurate perspective. In my 20 years as a social worker I’ve worked with sexually abused, physically abused addicts, pedophiles, domestic violence victims, violent offenders, wife abusers and many more. I can honestly say that no matter which scenario I ran into for the first time in my career-it would be rare if my first thought wasn’t a memory and not shock. If it hadn’t already happened to me personally I’d witnessed it so much that it had an impact. However that’s not the point of this post. The point is where I’m headed next, but you needed to have an understanding of what the scenario is before you understand the next part.
All this ” stuff” has left me with many choices on how to handle what happened, especially on days like today – Fathers Day. Now if it were 4th of July, my thoughts would be on the suicide of my brother on that date after being molested by the one and only Father Albert Gondek.
It’s fathers day all day and I cannot change that.
Here comes the crossroads I have been leading you all to.
What should I be thinking each year on this day? Go get wasted with my home boys and talk about how life sucks with a loser father? Maybe spend my day writing a ” therapeutic” letter to him even though the last prison he was in thinks he was taken out shortly after being discharged. It is not for him but for me to ” work through” it all. The Christian man should have long forgiven him, and released himself from anymore burden of weight and bitterness he is carrying. Then again my sister ( who he raped) chooses to be especially bitter on days about him and make it known that she hates his guts and will never forgive. Of course Pam’s choice comes with a price, as her anxiety has never gotten any better so she takes meds to help with that. My mother on the other hand chooses to not discuss if it ever came up, an if it got too heated for her she would slip into denial and change the subject. But what should Tj do. I will tell you.
Tj does not do anything . I am a grown man and if I still have not gotten around to dealing with it, I more than likely have destroyed any remaining relationships I had by refusing to let it go. Forget about it ? No, I cannot control that part but I can control how I respond to any drive by thoughts that try to bring me back to those times. I can choose remind myself of the decision I made years ago to forgive, to release all bitterness, to let God be God, and to take complete control over my day just like I do at Christmas or any other time when the memories are not to great. You may be thinking ” sure easy for you but you don’t know what happened in my case” .
You are correct, but it males no difference. We all only have two ways to play this. Play it on the world’s terms, or play it by he Word’s terms ( bible) No other options exist. Now if you are not a believer in Christ or the bible, hang on a minute, this still applies to you, You see when God puts a law in position, it is that it is. Regardless of who we are. For example take the law of gravity. You tell me , TJ I believe we came from fish-men 6.3 billion years ago. Not in your God and His rules. Then I say, cool, get on my roof and tell gravity you are not a subscriber and walk off the edge like a boss! What? Why not?
So there are certain guidelines that are there for all. The consequences of choosing either are real and they are extremely different. If you are in a place where you have had bitterness and anger all the time you think about a certain incident, it means you have opted for the worlds system. You can expect lots of anger and bitterness plus difficulty in all of your life. Its part of the benefit package. Usually in my career experience it leads to things like ulcers, migraines and all as well. Sickness in general, inside and out. The reason is simple. People wrongly assume that if they withhold forgiveness from a person who hurt them, there is some kind of a built-in meter of pain that continues to plague the other person until they are dead. The truth, the man in the mirror is the sick one.
Withholding forgiveness from someone and expecting them to suffer is the same as drinking a bottle of poison and expecting another person to get sick
I realize it is not always easy to forgive someone ( it does not have to be in person either) but it is much easier than you carrying the weight of all negative encounters in your life around with you. Who is it in your life that you refuse to forgive? Is it time to empty your burden bag?
Make today the day you celebrate no more anxiety about the incident or incidents that have kept you down or angry ? Experience freedom like no other. Or, spend the rest of your blogging life on here posting about what the latest from your weekly therapy session was.
I remember where and when I did it. I was in the back of a church in Titusville, Fl by myself and I chose the ” all at once package with God” lol- it went this;
“Lord, today, I release anyone in my life who has ever accused me, abused me or harmed me in any way. I ask you to release all bitterness in me so I can live in freedom all of my days.”
That was it! Can you say it, and mean it?