Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Hurts, Especially When it's Your Family


Let me state first and foremost, for the record, that i am extremely grateful to my parents for providing for me after the "economic downturn" (which the economists refuse to call a Depression despite the fact that it is), and for everything they've done since then.


I am repeatedly chided by my Mom . . . to wit, i'm "too extreme," i'm "paranoid," i don't take enough initiative (which is her excuse to nag me about anything that springs to mind), and various other comments in reference to my clothes, my attitude (she often says i get a "tone in my voice," and when i FINALLY responded the other day that she gets a tone in HER voice, her response was "maybe you should think about WHY i get a tone in my voice), and anything else that springs to mind. She doesn't start the day off with "good morning . . . ." Instead, 4 out of 5 mornings, she begins with a complaint. Something i did, something i didn't do, something i did wrong (and, believe me, she can always find something WRONG about what i did, no matter how much initiative i took or whether or not it was done well). Just now, i received information from the Labor Department in NYC. It's just the same information i get every week . . . this propelled her into a mini lecture about how i should be calling every third day (regardless of what the instructions say), to go over the internet to find out if i'm "approved" rather than use the phone (she never uses the internet for anything that she can get Dad, me, or Jordan to do for her), and on and on and on and . . . .

Basically, i'm almost to the point of chucking it all, shoving a few belongings in a backpack, and living on the road. I'd probably starve to death or die from exposure, but at least i'd die in relative peace. I think the basic problem is, while i was away in NJ and NYC, i GREW UP. A LOT. I managed to survive on less than anyone in my family does (with the possible exception of Mom before she was married), and had my own mind about things, and was a LOT closer to God during those hard times than i am here . . . how strange it is to think that, while anyone else would have thought that i was in dire straits, my relationship with Christ was much stronger, and i spent a lot more time in prayer. And perhaps, to anyone who's firmly entrenched in the status quo (and, God help her, Mom is), a lot of what i perceive and believe is "extreme," although i have a hard time believing that it's "paranoid," because a paranoid person believes that __________ is out to get HIM, because he's somehow special . . . i know better. I'm only a threat to the status quo in my poetry and Life-Path, and as long as that's generally ignored (and it is), no "great conspiracy" or whatever is going to regard me as a threat!) It's been on the tip of my tongue to tell Mom that all the Prophets, and Christ Himself, were regarded as "too extreme" by the status quo of their times. And a lot of modern figures who were regarded as revolutionary, even pacifists like Gandhi and MLK, were also considered extreme (extreme enough for someone or a group of someones to kill them). This, however, would just ignite a veritable powderkeg. My mother is, after all, getting on in years, and she's entitled to her beliefs and feelings, and she's probably too old to change. But by the same token, i should be entitled to my beliefs and feelings, and not immediately "given in" to her way of thinking just because i'm living here. I don't want to start a fight . . . but i can't speak about Faith, religion, politics, philosphy, or most of the stuff i write poetry about, around her, because that simply turns into another thing on the "List," which is apparently a page in my Mom's mind she turns to for her nagging. I'm sure that in some regards, she's right . . . i've not been the most exemplary human being, and i've fallen short of my own goals (let alone hers, which are apparently on a completely different track than mine), and as long as this situation maintains, it's only going to generate more antipathy. I avoid her . . . and i hate feeling that way. My Dad remains, for the most part, neutral and uninvolved . . . although he's been chiding me about a few things now and then. I CANNOT LIVE HERE MUCH LONGER AND RETAIN MY SANITY.

I'm now praying for patience, and for an open door that clearly marks a direction. I can't believe, at this point in time, that thinking about a "career" (in the terms the status-quo uses to describe that hell of ladder-climbing and struggling to make ends meet while you're stabbing your friends in the back to gain access to the next rung--my parents were never back-stabbers, but they didn't "love" their jobs, and the way they--Mom in particular--talked about their co-workers, bosses, etc., didn't exactly encourage me) is going to be in any way viable. The ways of this world are foolishness, and even people who should know better seem to think that acquiring more material things is what success is made of. Success at what? The things you own end up owning you. I'm getting too used to having all this space, TV, computer access, snacks, and all the "benefits" that go along with it. My writing has suffered. The funny thing is, if i'd remained in NYC, i'd have more access to "help" (as loath as i am to lean on the government for support) and to things like food-stamps and job programs than i have in Roanoke, and i would have more access to the Spoken Word scene that still calls to me every living day. I know i'm supposed to do more there than i did. I pray God will forgive me for not pursuing that more aggressively even when i had the opportunity. My dependence on Christ and my poetic endeavors both were stronger and more whole-hearted when i had it "rough" than now. I've come to understand the concept of "suffering" better . . . God doesn't "inflict" suffering or hardships on His people as PUNISHMENT, but rather as TRAINING, character-building . . . as the Message translation puts Christ's words, "using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, so you'll live, really live, and not just get complacently by on good behavior." That last part stings, because in this day and age, it's too easy to just be a middle-of-the-road, "law-abiding," church-attending person, and to think you're doing pretty good when all you're really doing is going through the motions, creating a microcosm in which you can exist without thinking, where everything can be a reflex rather than the result of an actual active thought-process, and where you can be "comfortable" and "succesful" without stirring up waves or making anybody else "uncomfortable" in the process. But doing the right thing, if other people can see it, is bound to make some of them uncomfortable . . . either because they just don't like it, or because it makes them feel guilty on some level, or just because doing the right thing is DIFFICULT, and requires EFFORT, and a lot of people get confused when someone would struggle to do the right thing when it's so much easier to "go with the flow." Despite the fact that you're just as likely to get ignored for doing the right thing, or snubbed, or out-and-out hated, i want that. I want whatever God is pointing me towards, no matter what kind of crap i have to wade through to get there. I'm not giving up just because i'm surrounded by people who already have, and i'm not going to let my love and thankfulness for my parents mislead me into thinking that i have to BELIEVE and THINK the way they do. No free-thinking, independently intelligent individual should ever try to force or compel another person to do that. And that goes double for Christians . . . if--by the way you're living, the courageous and bold speaking of God's truth, and the compassion and giving that you show towards others--people aren't going to be convinced, then they're not going to be any more responsive to browbeating, nagging, pushing, or bullying.

God, please keep me together until something better comes through . . . .

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