… In my post below I mentioned briefly that I had a strained relationship with my mom until very recently. This estrangement prevented me from developing healthy relationships with other women. I won’t elaborate on the circumstances out of respect for my mother but I will acknowledge I wasn’t the easiest daughter to raise. Shocker. Stubborn, opinionated, and extroverted, I don’t think my bookish introverted mother knew just what to make of me.
At the first opportune moment I was out from under her roof like a shot, eager to do whatever the hell I felt like doing whenever I wanted. That didn’t work out for me but it was something I needed to learn for myself. There was a period in my young adulthood where we didn’t speak for two years. Then when we tried to reconcile all the old resentment and anger resurfaced. It became easier to turn my back on the whole situation and move on with my life. But you never really move on. Some hurts you carry around with you and I learned, after moving all over the US, you can’t run from yourself.
So what changed? How did 30 years of dysfunction finally end?
When she didn’t want it, I forgave. When she wouldn’t accept, I forgave. When she denied any wrong doing, I forgave. Even when she refused to apologize, I forgave. I couldn’t change her so my only recourse was to forgive her. The only thing about the whole messed up situation I actually had any control over was how I reacted to her. The only thing I could change was myself and my attitude. Oh, and I grew up a little bit.
Growing up helps. It is easy to be bitter and nurse anger or turn on backs on situations too difficult to bear. It shows a level of maturity to face these challenges. Children place blame, “He did it”! Grown ups acknowledge their hand in the ordeal and work to set it right. Now, I’m not going to go on and on about how mature I am – this blog would certainly prove otherwise; however, I will go on and on about how I got where I am because of the Church. And the good thief. Do we even know what his crimes were? I know it had to be something heinous because crucifixion was reserved for the baddest of the bads, and yet he got to bypass purgatory because Christ forgave. The forgiveness I found in my first reconciliation is the same source of forgiveness I found to try and heal my family.
After awhile my obnoxious optimism and enthusiastic zeal for the Church got the better of my mom and two years after my conversion, in 2006, she came back home to Rome after a 30+ year absence. Any transformation this family has undergone is the from the sole intercession of St. Joseph, a little red plastic rosary, the Holy Roman Church, and the sacrament of reconciliation – the same reconciliation given by Christ. Any forgiveness I was able to give was because much was forgiven of me.
For Lent, please reconcile. Please forgive. Whether the person you need to forgive wants that forgiveness or not – for yourself, forgive.
Titian, Christ and the Good Thief.