From My Mom’s Husband: “May This Event Serve as a Healing in Your Life.”

Last night I got a short email from the psychologist I just learned was married to my mom for 25 years. (See yesterday’s I Just Found Out My Mother Died — Five Years Ago.)

As a sign-off , he wrote, “May this event serve as a healing in your life.”

Wasn’t that kind of him? Sure, maybe not as kind as letting my sister and me know five years ago that our mother had passed away. (Yes, he knew of us both — and getting in touch with me is as easy as Googling my name.) But let’s not nitpick. Plus, the ways of a trained “healer” (as his website describes him) can be unfathomably mysterious. My own mother, for instance, had a master’s degree in psychology; her second husband (the one between my father, who was a salesman, and her last husband) was also a psychologist. My mother was quite extremely keen on letting you know that she thought of herself as a spiritually enlightened healer. Existing “on a whole other spiritual level” was my mom’s entire thing in life.

And yet, “enlightened healer” is not really the first description that pops to mind when I think of her.

Ah, the mysteries of the self-proclaimed spiritual healers. Who can fathom them?

(My reply to mom’s husband’s email consisted of, “Yo, friend. You might want to back off the superciliousness inherent in your ‘May this event serve as a healing in your life.’ You don’t even know me.”)

Hey, speaking of people who do know me, from the very bottom of my heart I want to thank each and every one of you who have written in to either share with me your own sad story, or to thank me for sharing mine, or to simply send me love and support. I’ve become busy as of last night and today, but please know that I’ve carefully read each and every such message sent to me, and each has touched me in a way that’s almost … disarmingly gratifying, frankly. This is the first time my blog has ever afforded me an emotional experience so singularly rewarding. You guys have made me feel not just good, but great. You’ve made me feel great, and loved, and appreciated, and … handsome.

Okay, maybe not handsome.

But kind of! It’s been that great!

I’m extremely appreciative of you all. At a time like this, it’s sooooooo great to know you’re being heard by people who actually … get it. What a gift you guys are to me.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • Tricia Blosser

    That line is hilarious! I mean, first of all, it's obviously implying that you *need* healing, and secondly, it's wishing that the event of you finding out now that your mom died 5 years ago of cancer is the catalyst of that healing!! WTH?!?! Wow. People are so weird. I mean, "enlightened healers" probably are the forerunners of the weirdness of people. You know what's also weird? When I think of "enlightened healers" in my life, they're most often the people that don't think of themselves as such.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing John.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I think "weird" is the nicest word for it. But you make (in your kind, generous way) exactly the right point: the people LEAST likely to be anything but enlightened, or "spiritual healers," or spiritually advanced in any real way, are those quickest to let you know that's exactly how they want or expect them you to think of them.

    There are few bets in the world surer than "Spiritual leader" (Christian or otherwise) = toxic, dangerous person. The only reason so many such people do "well" in life is because nothing, but NOTHING, blinds people like confidence.

    Everyone wants a big, smart daddy or mommy to tell them what to do, and who to be.

  • Holly T

    Oh, my-LAN-ta.

    This whole thing…. all of it… the timing… wow.

    I haven't spoken to my parents in like… 4 years-ish. Sometimes I get "the look" from others when that fact is touched on (lightly), during conversations. Especially at church. Yeesh. I hate that look.

    I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me, but nope. It really is ok to take such (in)action when a relationship is utterly toxic.

    Would I want my daughter to involve herself in such a toxic relationship? No. Even if it was ours. I love her too much.

    I gotta say though…. I love God (especially His grace, fo sho.) and thank God for therapy. I didn't smear all of this doo-doo on myself, but I'm the only one who can remove it, and replace it with…. um… something awesome. (I dunno yet, but God will get me there.)

    Your blogs/posts/comments/etc are a sensible mesh of Godly man and HUman. Strikin' a chord with many. Sweet. Good fer you. Your transparency is appreciated! It has real relevance and purpose.

    Hm… I dunno, there, John… but I THINK this event has served as a healing for my life!!!

    Ok, maybe for my …past few days…. XD

    Either way, thanks and high fives!

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Bless your heart. That’s so sweet. Thank you. (I TOTALLY know what you mean about that look. So often, in the past, I’ll say something–and you’re right, ESPECIALLY if it’s to a Church-lady type Christian–about how I haven’t seen or talked to my mom in 25 years, or however long it’s been—and they’ll give me that very distinct “Oh. So you’re crazy” look. And I’m always, like, “No, see, SHE’S crazy.” But … usually it’s too late: I’m the guy with the messed-up family. But then I BLOG about it, see—and hence do I learn of the vast numbers of you out there who, like me, are … hopelessly normal.)

      • Holly T

        I’ve always felt compelled to defend myself. It’s not fun whatsoever.

        My defense usually came out sounding like I’m a total idiot… Which is so not OK with me.

        Upon reading your reply, I thought of a page I JUST read in “our daily bread”.

        It’s tomorrow’s page, April 1st, actually. Not fooling… Har-har!

        It’s called “To speak or not to speak”…. Basically says: Sometimes defending ourselves against false accusation can be futile. (duh) In which case, just shut yer trap. (Ohhh!)

        Jesus defended himself (John 8:13-59)… BUT also, he didn’t (Mark 14:15-39). Jesus…. He’s so smart.

  • Holly T

    I just read my comment and the "XD" is supposed to be a laughing-face-guy, but the particular font that shows up, makes it look like… a spazzy typo…. So, um, just go with it, please?… It's laughing. Promise.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Oh, right! Okay. Whew. I KNEW you weren't wishing me a Porno Day.

      • Holly T

        Nope, I wasn’t, but I’ll let you know if I read anything on that in “our daily bread”! ha!

  • http://soiledwings.com Sherry Meneley

    “May this event serve as a healing in your life” – that is rich. Rich I say!

    I wonder if Guru Bob ends all his correspondence like that. I need a nifty meaningless signature phrase…. hummm.

    John, finding the humor in pit toilets is a gift. Good for you!

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    It IS rich!

    Or would be — you know, if bullshit was money.

    Thank you, Sherry, very much.

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    What?? Such remarks from a perfect stranger didn’t make you feel healed? Even a little bit?? I guess, at best, it could’ve been his own klutzy way of offering condolences or something. Maybe. I balk when people start offering me ‘encouragements’ that even remotely resemble suggestions on how I should feel. I’m, like, “Just let me figure out what I’m feeling, and then let me feel it.”

    But I digress. Thanks for sharing about your mom.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      You never digress. You’re always Ms. Right On.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    Right up there with “I’m a Life Coach” and the line: “I’m from corporate and I’m here to help.”

    They all get The Hand.

    What “event” is he talking about? An email?

    Very funny post, btw.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      A life coach! I've GOT to blog about that sometime. I live in a town where freakin life coaches are EVERYWHERE, and they ALWAYS meet their clients in the coffee shops I'm in, so I LISTEN to their "sessions." I've GOT to write about that. It's … well, actually, as cynical as I WANT to be about it, it's actually kind of not entirely horrible. Anyway. Thanks, Ric. And thanks, also, for your support over on HuffPo. I've got to figure out how all that "fanning" stuff works over there. Once I do, you'll be the first of the four or five people over there I "fan."

      Oh, and you're right: I don't know what "event" he meant: if he meant the "event" of my mom's dying, or the "event" of my learning about it five years after the fact because for some reason he didn't see fit to let us know our mom had died. I just … don't know which he meant. Lucky for me, I don't care.

  • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

    In her defense, if she was saying “on a whole other spiritual level” then she wasn’t saying that “whole nother” thing, which absolutely drives me crazy.

    Of course, there is the concept of trying to live on a whole mother level, but that’s too much to ask sometimes.

    Oh, yeah …

    John, my boss at my first full-time job was talking to me about a rough interaction with my brother and told me that you really do have more than one family in your life. There are the people you’re born into, and the ones that you pick up later in life.

    I’d like to thank you for inviting us into your life and sharing so much … It’s nice to have a real connection with people online.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      You know, I’ve never really had this experience in the three years I’ve been blogging (and it’s three years TODAY, I think!). I usually just … you know: post stuff. But yesterday and today I am feeling the pure and real bloggy love! It’s great! I love it! Thanks especially to you, Ken. As you know, I’ve LONG valued your contributions to my blog. This place never would have been the same without you.

      Oh, my God. I think I’m going to … consider having an emotion.

  • http://sunnylockwood.com sunny

    This is just me talking…but I'd have nothing to do with that man. Nothing. No correspondence, nothing. If he was enlightened, he would have informed you and your sister long ago that your mother had a terminal disease. That way, you could have decided whether or not to contact her. You also could have decided whether or not to attend her funeral. There were many decisions you could have made, which his thoughtless silence denied you.

    And then to come up with some stupid "May this be healing" bs…..amazing, just amazing!

    Do not respond to him now or in the future. No internet conversation. (This is your big sister talking!) Take a deep breath and continue your wonderful life…without anymore anything with this guy.

    You have a good life, and lots of people who care for you, and lots more who admire you and your work. You do not need a troubled, arrogant, controlling, totally self-serving psychologist messing that up with his emails.

    Here's to your future — may it be filled with creativity and love!

    sunny

  • Karen

    Just catching up on 2 days of blogs. Thanks for sharing all this, John. Yes, ‘enlightened’ people are truly amazing. God bless you, man.
    Isn’t the word ‘superciliciousness’ a fun word to say?

  • http://living3dfaith.blogspot.com/ Tim

    People preoccupied with being on new and higher levels often have commitment issues with the levels they have decided to abandon.

    I feel sad about your mom. Sticking around obviously would have been very hard for her. Maybe the hardest chapter of her life. But no matter how difficult, I believe there is nothing better than enduring the flames that refine the mettle of our spirit. Grace eventually comes and then we actually see that all things really do work together for the good of those who love God and are led according to His will and purpose.

    Thanks for loving God through your work. Thanks for making us stop and think.

  • Bonnie

    John:

    I get having an absent parent – my alcoholic father would disappear for years. By a fluke I learned he was dying of cancer and saw him that last year of his life. It helped some, but not that much. My healing happened over the years as I grieved what I never had with him.

    I worked in the counseling area for several years…I've noticed that some of the people that get into the helping professions are there to work through their own issues. I was definitely working through some of my life issues. I don't believe (& hope) I did any harm to my clients. Unfortunately, some of the helping professionals do great harm to their clients and/or in their personal lives.

    I'm sorry you didn't find out about your Mother's passing for 5 years. It's unfair. The bottom line is you ended up being this strong, wise person with a great sense of humor despite your family history and that's what counts!

    Fantastic blog and hey you are handsome!

  • http://halcyon40@comcast.net robbi

    I wrote you once or twice before, John, in regard to your blog on women staying in abusive relationships. That spoke to me on such a level that I've slowly been trying to read through all of your blogs that I can find. (Is there a complete index anywhere?) The amazing thing is that I'm a fellow Christian who came from such a similar background and have 3 older siblings who are all estranged from one another because as someone said, "who wants to return to the site of a trainwreck?". It has been absolutely amazing and yes, I will say a true healing event in my life to find you and your blog. I'm a bleeding heart empathizer/guilt ridden shamed inner child who still has a ways to go to get to the complete emotional detachment that you and my siblings have been more successful at doing. Still, I'm so much stronger and feeling so much less crazed knowing there are other intelligent, capable, functioning people out there who have lived, loved and prospered through the poo poo. I thank God for directing me to you once again!


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