Thursday, December 11, 2014

Giving a Piece of Myself

Best or worst gift you ever gave.

Several years ago I broke off contact with my parents. It was my choice to take a break from interacting with them, as I try to continue healing from CSA and 2 rapes as an adult.
I finally ran out of strength and energy to try and get them to understand my pain, and the things I needed from them. I didn't stop loving them or wanting their approval. 
I needed time to learn that I can love them in all their imperfection, and that their not understanding didn't equal not loving me.

We see each other periodically now, exchanging information via email. I still haven't gotten to the point that I'm comfortable with random phone calls. I just can't take the possibility of being caught off guard with them, but I think we are making progress. Our relationship will never be the one I wanted and needed, but I tried to give them the gift of knowing me when I gave them this gift at Christmas 3 years ago. 




Dear Mother and Daddy,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year all rolled into one!

This year I have decided to do a joint gift for you. It is a basket filled with things I love and want to share with you. This note is an explanation of each item.

Mother, this shawl is for you. It is made of 100% recycled cotton yarn. When I first returned to crocheting a few years ago, I was determined to learn to read patterns, and this is the first shawl I made using a pattern. I have kept it because I loved it so much, and now I want you to have it. The colors make me think of you. You may wear it or use it as a table linen. I hope you enjoy it. (It can be machine washed on a cold delicate cycle, and then laid flat to dry.)

Daddy, the prayer beads are for you. I have always been intrigued by prayer beads, and as I have worked on healing I have found them to be very helpful in keeping me centered in moments of panic or stress. I have included instructions on how to use them, along with a prayer from Julian of Norwich. Turquoise is one of my favorite stones to work with, and I hope you will enjoy using them or just looking at them and thinking of me. (If you are interested in more information on using them, I have some books you could look at. Feel free to email me about them.)

The remaining items are for you to share:

Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals is a devotional book that I have been using for a couple of years now. It is based on The Book of Common Prayer, but has been modernized and simplified. Each day provides a message, readings from the Old and New Testaments and Psalms, as well as a hymn (all in the back of the volume) and then providing an opportunity to pray for others. I frequently look the hymns up on YouTube and listen to them as I read. This particular volume has opened my eyes to a greater understanding of God’s love for all people, and helped me widen my world view.

"The Ghost on the Canvas" is Glen Campbell’s final cd. He has retired since being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Campbell has always been one of my favorites. I feel as if I grew up listening to him, along with the Lettermen, and Jimmie Driftwood, among others. Anyway, I have found this cd to be very moving both musically and lyrically. I hope you both enjoy it as well.

First Watch (gift certificate) is a new restaurant in town. I know how much you enjoy going out to eat, and I always enjoy sharing new places with you. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch until 2:30, no dinner. The food is lovely! Wonderful eggs, waffles, pancakes, sandwiches, and soups. I hope you get a chance to try it, and let me know what you think.

Finally, the basket is from SERRV.org. They are a fair trade organization, and I like the hands on quality of their items, as well as knowing the gift serves a dual purpose. Of course, my theory is you can never have too many baskets!

I want you both to know that I appreciate this time you are giving to me to work on healing, and I look forward to continuing to improve and deepen our relationship. I love you both very much.

Blessings


I know this gift was given with an open, searching heart, and I think they received it that way. A single gift can't repair our damaged relationship, but I still feel positively about my motivations and the desire I had in giving the gift to them. Even now as I write this, I feel the anxiety rising in my body. Tension and discomfort. I wanted so much from them that they were unable to give. I believe I have forgiven them, but I keep them at arm's length for my own wellbeing. 

I will give them gifts again this Christmas, but none will ever be as meaningful as that gift and what I tried to invite and say in the giving of it.

linking up with Writer's Workshop and Just Write




18 comments:

  1. I am amazed and humbled at your courage in being so transparent with strangers like me. I am praying for you, Melanie.

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    1. Writing has been vital to my healing. Thank you for your kind words.

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  2. Oh my. Very emotional and beautiful. Melanie, are you familiar with Joyce Meyer Ministries? She, too, is a CSA survivor and has quite a story to share. God bless you and you love your parents with boundaries. It's okay. xoxo

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    1. Yes I am aware of Joyce Meyer Ministries. Thank you for your kindness.

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  3. What a beautiful display of love and forgiveness! Thank you so much for sharing your heart so openly and bravely!

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  4. Best wishes for continued healing. It takes a very brave person to reach out like this.

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  5. You are brave and amazing! So many people would choose to just write off the relationship, yet you gave a gift of vulnerability. I pray that your relationship with your family continues to heal.

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    1. It took me years to arrive where I am regarding my parents. While they were not the abusers they did put me in harm's way. They have not been supportive in the ways I needed. This is my approach to honoring both them and me.

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  6. I give you much, much credit. In reading this, all I can honestly say is that you are a far better person than I have ever been as a survivor of child abuse.

    My thoughts and prayers for your healing.

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    1. Let me be clear. My parents were NOT the abusers. They were neglectful and have been at best unhelpful in my healing. Every surviror must find and walk their own path. I wish you peace, comfort, healing. Blessings.

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  7. Oh Melanie... what a gift... an offering, really! I love how personal this was and how it gave your parents a little glimpse into who you are and what you love. Praying for you, friend - over the holidays especially!

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    1. Karrilee -- Thank you so much for these sweet words of encouragement. I appreciate the prayers, as the holidays are a difficult time, but I press on focusing on Advent and the realization that I am trying to be my authentic self. Blessings.

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  8. What a wonderful offering. Giving your parents a chance to understand you and feel closer to you was a huge gift. I love that you found a way to nurture a broken relationship while still keeping yourself safe. You did good.

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    1. I like your phrasing, "nurture a broken relationship". That was indeed my goal. I have made a conscious decision not to write my parents off, because I don't feel it is what God wants from me. But it has been a difficult road to travel. Blessings.

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  9. I pray that one day your relationship will be what you hope for. It is good to reach out without expectations because it is healing for you, whether it is for them or not. Interesting post and a thoughtful gift.

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    1. I think that was the lesson I had to learn -- no expectations. Thanks for commenting. Blessings.

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