Can I break away from generational birth family patterns?
Can I be someone different?
Can I tame the temperament within that sometimes reminds me too much of another that did harm?
And this was a huge struggle for my ever self-aware daughter.
I can't really recall how we got there in conversation, but we were talking about something and I referred to her mom, and she grinned and patted me on the shoulder and said she was just like me, and I think we were both laughing harder when we realized I was talking about her BIRTH mom, not me. However, what a little tickle of joy I had that I am so obviously now MOM that it threw her to even recall or think about her first mom. But that is how we got on the subject of how I had helped her heal from some of the old painful stuff that had arisen for her.
"Oh?" I inquired, "How did I do that?"
"You told me I had been with you for six years now, and that I had been under your influence way longer than I had ever been under hers. You told me that maybe it was time to move past that in my thinking, and that I was responsible for who I become." Angela shared.
"Well, I am so glad that helped!" I casually said.
"No Mom, it really, really helped me heal. I just heard it differently and it made me change my thinking. It made me realize I can be more like you and probably will be, because you really have been part of my life longer."
I was reminded by this conversation that sometimes, timing is everything. Had I said something like that too early on, I don't think it would have been taken in as powerfully as it obviously was later. Angela was ready, she was needing a different perspective to see how she might be able to escape the fear that she might be unable to reject familial patterns, and my comment later in her growing up years helped her see how very different she already is from the family she was born into.
What blossomed today was more conversation about God helping us make choices to be different, that our self-awareness is one thing...but our desire for change and willingness to walk boldly toward healing, forgiveness, shifts in understanding, etc. is what really matters. Often, we realize truths for ourselves and because we know it will take real work to untangle and rework things, we just shove it aside like a knotted up skein of yarn. As I pointed out to Angela, you know what? That knotted mess remains, and often it continues to roll right back at you, returning like a bad penny, quietly insistent that you work with it to untie the mess that is representative of your emotions. It doesn't go away because we have ignored it, and maturity is when we somehow summon the courage to grab it and start working with that twine, gently pulling it apart, forcing ourselves to see realities that are hard rather than flick it away as if that really changes anything at all.
It doesn't, it delays the inevitable personal work we must do.
That can be SO hard!
It can be painful to feel stuck, and have no language for it. It can be painful to have fears that go inadequately expressed. What is more painful is pretending none of that is present, for we revisit those concerns over and over and over again.
Healing happens, and sometimes it happens when we least expect it. A casual observation is made, and yet it is exactly the way someone needed to hear it. Something is acknowledged and someone feels joined, and things feel a little less weighty. A different perspective is shared, and we see a totally different angle to a situation and new insight is gained. All of these lead to healing, and sometimes we have no clue if what we have shared has made any difference at all. Sometimes it isn't until much later that we discover that we were helpful in a situation.
And we are all healing all the time from some insult to our heart, aren't we? Our souls are always growing, taking nurture from others, in need of the water and the sunshine that help us blossom into the new creatures and the new lives waiting for us, if only we can continue to wade through the rubble of our current lives to reach the other side. Often it is not as fast as we would wish for, and as we turn over the boulders before us we get glimpses of our deeper selves.
Healing happens...hope is alive...love wins.