The Abusive Treatment of Body and Narcissism

The way we treat our bodies in this culture is the way a Narcissist treats everyone. Like something to use.  Narcissistic people are motivated by one thing.  Will this benefit me?

Let’s say I’m a Narc and I’m deciding whether I should say hello to you or not.  The thought process is simple. 

Will talking to you benefit me? 

Will talking to you make me look better? 

Will talking to you give me more power, or make me look smarter?

Will taking my time with you give me an edge in any way? 

Of course there are spiritualized versions of this. 

Will talking to you be worthy of my time?  My time really belongs to God, and after all, you didn’t listen the last time I told you what to do.

When relationally oriented (non-narc) types makes a decision, ‘Will this benefit me?’ is one of the considerations, but it is generally only one of many. What primarily motivates a relationally oriented person is, you guessed it – relationship.  Relationship to ourselves, to others and the world around us, which leads us to ask different questions.

Will talking to you make us both grow in our understanding of an idea?

Will talking to you make me late, which might harm another relationship?

Will talking to you honor you, honor myself, and honor God?

Will talking to you give you the feeling of belonging?

Now consider the way we treat our bodies.  Very fickle, and Narc-like, I say.  Body sometimes offers something that benefits me.  There have been times Body has been strong, and brown, cute, and just the right and shape and size for fitting into a nice pair of jeans.   There are times Body has made me look beautiful, brought me a bit of power, and given me advantages.  These are the times I’ve treated Body nice.  I’ve regarded it.  I’ve rested it.  I’ve attended to it’s needs, dress it up, stretched it and ran tracks and stairs and mountain trails with it, all friendly like.

And then something happens.  Body breaks.  It can’t do what it once did.  Just looking at Body makes me sick.  The swollen face, thinning hair, pasty and hunched.  Body that doesn’t benefit me the way I’ve wanted it to.  In fact it’s an embarrassment.  Total rejection and repulsion is what I feel toward a body that once benefitted me. 

Such narcissism.  Such objectification.  What if I treated my body relationally?  What if I sought to let my body know it’s value?  What if I attempted to receive the kindness my not perfect body has attempted to extend to me day after day?  Might I learn to speak blessings to my body?  Wouldn’t Body feel more beautiful if I made an attempt to welcome its presence?  Would the things I think and say to myself allow me to be more comfortable in my own skin? 

Some confuse narcissism as obsession with self rather than what it actually is, an obsession with a fantasy of self.  Because the true self is made up of a real human being.  A human whose body sometimes gives and sometimes needs to be given to.  Using another for my benefit is a terribly ugly thing.  So is using my own body, and distancing myself from it when it can’t be for me what I expect.  Body has value – it’s value stands alone despite not always being what I’ve wanted.  It’s time I treat it that way. 

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Cancer is Not Cancer; The Agony of being Dependent.

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This was written when I was still quite sick a number of months ago.  I was too low at the time it was written to post it.  I’ve decided to post it now.  I  share it to truth-speak about how painful cancer can be. Sharing what it was for me, as a way of being a voice for those who have not words to share.  This rant of sorts is not an attack on any one person, but a broad-brushed painting of the reality of what it is to be sick and dependant on others.

Cancer is not cancer. It’s not breast cancer or thyroid cancer. It’s strokes, heart attack activity that isn’t, doctors treating you like a hypochondriac while functioning slips away.  It’s skin that peels, clothes that don’t fit anymore, potassium levels so low that legs throb through the night.  It’s not recognizing yourself in the mirror.  Foggy mind half the time not remembering what I’ve said, what you’ve said, what we were talking about.  It’s family sweet as can be, and condescending sometimes too.  It’s having to listen to people “Oh you look like you’re feeling better” while the entire left side of body is numbed out, can’t hear from the left ear, do laundry for five minutes before having chest pain and doctor saying “you’re heart is in great shape”.  It’s your little six year old daughter telling you that you get first place for being the meanest one in the family.  The mean mom that gets tired of the denigrating remarks when trying to get kids to do their chores, one by one the entire family decides they are going to be sicker than Mom today – until their pals come over and off they race across the yard, Nerf and laser guns a-blazing, and once again, when they return to the house, asked to pick up coat, or feed the dog, the sudden illness takes over and death is at the door. 

It’s the doctors passing their job off to another doctor.  Oh it’s the endocrinologists job, no the oncologists job, no the primary care, … .on it goes, while the mystery symptoms that take away my ability to take walks, swim, drive, to care for my kids get worse.  The computerized diagnosis is last word, with physical problems all hovering in the “rare” category, no one bothering to dig deeper while symptoms hold me in place, so much piling up around me, and I must be still. 

Cancer is having all the kind persons who have pitched in to help become judgmental of the way my life looks, judgmental of what happens in this house, condescending of who I am.  It’s having to receive help from others who don’t respect me because they are incapable of helping and empathizing at the same time.  The most empathetic person is the world can flip a switch when doing another a good turn.  It’s watching them lose respect by the day – each and every act of kindness they provide decreases the peer to peer relationship – me having no alternative but to receive it. 

Cancer is not a surgery and missing body part.  It’s the loss, week by weakening week of clients, and eventually a career.  The destruction of a business.  The death of a dream.  It’s not rosy and romantic.  It’s ugly – creepy … the stopper of life.  And I’m stuck between.  Alive and not at all.  Stuck receiving support, care, favors, errands, driving kids to school, with bitterness in the doer, irritation of the helper, and shame at being the taker. 

The part of cancer I can do quite well is walk into the hell hole of the chopping block.  I can tolerate physical pain.  I can usually manage being mangled.  I can’t handle the shame I feel receiving assistance – the baring all – the inside scoop on our junk, irritably of the one doing all the favors due to their superiority and my shame. 

Cancer could be the most ideal way to go if it weren’t for all that.  Known outcomes, time frames, managed symptoms until death.  What makes it awful is loss of dignity (relationship) with people I care about most due to my neediness at the end, and their inability to give and maintain respect for the person they are giving to.  A few of us can give without shaming – most of the time, a few can receive without feeling the shame, but most can not.  We call it being “stewards” of our time and money by nosing into others lives when a need arises.  ‘If she hadn’t let herself go, he’d have never looked elsewhere.”  “There are consequences to slacking on the job”.  “Live and learn”.  We have all said things like this – or thought them.  It’s obvious it’s wrong to give cash to a meth addict.  We take this reasoning further and do harm – judge – while extending a helping hand.  I tell you from the receiving end, it helps more to not help but maintain a relationship of respect then to help with judgment.

Most of us have ZERO BUSINESS being involved in another’s crisis, because crisis is a HOLY PLACE.  It’s where God hovers.  It is SACRED.  Anytime we have all the answers, we do harm.  Anytime we can’t give without judgment, we harm.  Anytime we get inside the disaster of each other’s life and can’t set judgment aside, we hurt each other.  I’m getting to feel it, first hand.  No one means to harm.  They just want the system to work better.  Just want routines in place that make things better, but that’s not how it feels to the one is on the receiving end.  If I ever get beyond this cancer mess, I vow to God and to others that I will NEVER HELP SOMEONE UNLESS I CAN HAVE A SOLID CHECK ON MY ATTITUDE. 

Do I resent helping my kids with things they need help with? 

How does that make them feel? 

Do I resent making supper. 

Giving a gift and resenting the giving DOES HARM. 

Do I resent helping a friend, I HAVE ZERO BUSINESS HELPING UNLESS I CAN HELP FROM A PLACE OF EMPATHY. 

Cancer is not cancer. 

Cancer is everything else – but one thing. 

Cancer is not Boss, God is. 

God is the only one out there I know what manages disasters and love all at the same time. 

If i’m well enough to work again, I’m working for Him.

Weight Loss

Summer and Fall 2013 179
The writer and butterfly.

I use to be who I am now

Fat and covered in cellulite

Always hiding sloppy me

I didn’t the match the girl inside

And as I prayed and struggled on

Appeared, one day, just what to do

A friend I’d make

The one I hate

And over time

The change it came

Inch by inch

and

Size by size

I finally matched the girl inside

The years went by

most all was well

And then a cancer came to tare

And ripped the breast from off my chest

And choked my trust

And froze my bounce

And once again the hiding came

I didn’t match the girl inside

And still I prayed and struggled on

Appeared one day just what to do

A friend I’d make

The one I hate

And over time

The change it came

I grew to love

the one breast me

18 months of

all is well

And then a cancer came again

This time to claim

my thyroid gland

And spill around throughout my nodes

And throw my body balance off

I use to be who I am now

Fat and covered in cellulite

And now I know just what to do

A friend I’ll make

The one I hate

And over time

The change it comes

I grow to love

the one breast girl

fat and covered in cellulite

And as I friend away the shame

The outside me

it starts to

match

the girl I’ve always been

A Cloudy Bootcamp

This was written last May for my professional blog.  I’ve decided to share it here today as my niece Annalee is joining the Marines same day she graduates from h.s., which is two short days from now, and has 12 weeks of bootcamp awaiting her.  I know God uses bootcamp of all shapes and sizes, and I know he has a plan for her as well.  Blessings to my niece.

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Profound thoughts, for me, seem to show up in the middle my mundane.  It happened yesterday as I was tackling a task called ‘cutting lawn’.   When I say I was out cutting the lawn, please don’t picture a postage stamp turn-about.  Picture a rolling random football field that never ends.  Now picture a rather tottery set of legs, pasty lady, gloved fists all trying hard to shove forward another shaved swath.  As the lush green blades shot sideways, so did my glee at all I was getting done.  I found myself irritated at the moisture, so soppy-damp, that even with the shocking arrival of sunshine, warm on my shoulders, I was still unable to use the bagger for more than a couple feet without it clogging into a spongy ball of clippings.

The last few months have been, shall we say, un-fun.  Just recently I have taken on the challenge to act on the belief that God inhabits praise, and to praise God, even when my circumstances aren’t praiseworthy.  And so atop the roar of the mower, there in wet grass I started praising the Lord for His goodness to me, for His goodness to the land around me. For being the God of provision.  That He provides cloud and drizzle in “*$#@*%!! FREAKING EXCESS….. GOD OF SUCH GRAND GIFTS, GOD, YOU MAKE SURE THIS SPOILED ROTTEN SUPER SIZED PIG OF A YARD HAS ALL IT EVER WANTED – !!!!”.  Ya, sometimes even my praise sessions turn earthy.  God being the father of many, He’s use to fit-throwing.  From me, anyway.  Well, as I kept up my praise service out there in the back 400, my heart started experiencing an actual shift.  Praise for God became real.  God hovered nearby.  And all around me.   The grey cloud that had dampened my spirits, and over-dampened the grass, was now warming me, it was noticing me.  On slippery hill downward, with mower in race to the bottom, it steadied and strengthened me, giving balance and protection.  ‘I’m cracking’, I think to myself.  Grey clouds do not warm peoples spirits.

And then I remember the story.  The Israelites had, by the thousands, been led on foot away from a country in which they had been enslaved.  A land where they were unable to function fully as humans.  They had been rescued from a meaningless life of being used.  From a death unnoticed.

And for the journey, God used a pillar of cloud to guide them for their daytime travels.  A cloud to guide and protect?  Why not a bucket full of sunshine?  Couldn’t God have used cut crystals hanging on ribbons from heaven?  If He’d have asked me, I would have suggested rainbow shivers for really freaking out the bad guys.  But He didn’t.

Toward a better place, the Israelites were routed through misery.  With intention, God arranged a journey with healing opportunities in mind.  Each hopeless situation, a desert march with no water, no food, power struggles, snakes, belly aches, each cloudy trial offered one opportunity after another to build trust in God, learn to love, learn to trust less in what is seen and more in who God is.  The journey was to provide deep healing for these rescued slaves, and for generations after them.

I ponder these ideas, row by row, grass looking better by the hour.  I think of all the ways the grey of life has protected me, and brought God near.   The deep depression and anxiety as a little kid.  Would I have known God as early as I did, had I not hung on for dear life during those early suicidal times?  What was I protected from while hiding in the black hole of pain, hiding next to God?

The eating disorder.  Would I ever have know the freedom of an addiction if I had never experienced one?  Would I have misjudged others who struggle with addiction if I had never had to fight for years with something bigger than my own smarts?

The struggling to read.  What kind of evil could I have perpetrated onto others if there had been no struggle to recall what I read, requiring me to read the same materiel over and over again, even throughout college?  Would I have been condescending to others who struggle to understand if everything about learning came easy to me?

Early Miscarriage.  Would I have had opinions about others pain which I knew nothing of if I’d never had one, let alone six?  I can never say that the loss of a child would bring a blessing.  It is a pain I have never experienced, and pray I never do.  And still, each of us, in our own painful travels, notices the Lord near by, even in the cloud.

Marriage Pain.  Would I have even found the time – busy with life, four kids, work and all, to pray, if my heart had not been raw so much of the time?  Would I have ever discovered on a knowing level what PTSD looks like, and how healing occurs if I’d never been in an intimate relationship that rattled the cage of monsters past?

Would I have anything of substance to offer my clients if my understanding was exclusively derived from a book?  Trust me Lord, I prefer not knowing beyond course work all of what a human is capable of suffering from and experiencing.  I thought I’d throw that out… just incase you decide to read this:)

Allergies.  Would I have learned to let go of the toxic nature of being a “pleaser” if I had not been forced to impose, irritate and annoy others using the boundary of “no thank you”, otherwise embarrassing myself by way of anaphylactic drama?

Cancer.  Would the reality of the brevity of this life have been as real as it is now, if I’d not had my breast cut off my body, my thyroid cut out, my body scanned and scanned some more for a look at where the cancer has traveled?

Stroke.  Would I have laughed at the way God took the pain of the bone on skin where breast used to be, and with one quick stroke, remedied by TPA all deficits but left-side numbing, removing this irritation, just because He wanted to?

Brain Fog.  Well, this is the other stroke deficit still remaining.  It has turned up the brain fog dial that already existed.  Remembering paper-work kinds of details, remembering names, reading manuals, working computers.  Would I know God was always hanging about, following me throughout the day if He didn’t have to constantly help me in my pathetic state, over and over and over.  I’m talking about getting lost driving to some location I’ve driven to a dozen times.  Loosing the car keys today, my shoe the next.  Forgetting we make kids lunches every day, remembering to go to bed, remembering to pay the bills, remembering to wear my prosthesis, remember to stop singing when I’m in the Costco public restroom.  Would I find myself too special to love others who struggle with the details?

Step, and another forward, the mower moving on ahead, I recall my own clouds, and the clouds of others.  It’s obvious that God works to rescue each one of us from the meaningless life. Ask someone to tell you their story.  If you have a heart to hold what they tell you with care, you will hear the pattern.  That of God intentionally routing one, then another and another along a personalized bootcamp journey. All challenges personally designed to remove each one of us far from anything that would prevent us from being fully human, and fully alive.   The gloves are still gripping, but lighter.  Stride steady.  I praise God for being the God of the Cloud. Hovering near, He and I, we cut another line of hearty green grass.

“The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.  He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”                                                                Exodus 13: 21 and 22

Lisa Boyl-Davis, LICSW

Minimalist For God

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Based off of Mark 10: 17-22

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him.  “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered.  “No one is good – except God alone.”

Good.  What is good?  Running up to Jesus?  Falling on knees before him?  Asking the way to eternity?  Very good, I’m thinking.  But not good enough. 

Jesus listed off more:

Do not murder

Do not commit adultery

Do not steal

Do not give false testimony

Do not defraud

Honor your father and mother

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him.

Loved him for what he was, and for what he still lacked.

And loved.

“One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.” 

At this the man’s face fell.  He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Couldn’t trade the goods for Good. 

Couldn’t exchange what is good for what is GOOD. 

Neither can I.  I lack, and he looks at me and loves me. And still he asks me what I call good, and reaching out beyond his heavens he reaches further still into the the piles of good heaped all around me.  The good that gobbles up ever last second of my day and night.  The good that must be done, for how else will it get done?  The ultimate minimalist action.  To release the good for good. 

“Come, follow me.”

The Race of Purple Toes

This past year has felt like running a race in a rainstorm, in deep mud, up a hill with large family on my back, wearing shoes loosing their souls, kind of half way attached and flapping.  It started out with determination.  We had completely rid ourselves of consumer credit debt, and somehow managed to hunt it back down and take it on.  While taking on more shifts than I should have taken on, between the two of us, my husband and I cleared the debt just in time for me to get breast cancer.  Then a year after breast cancer and changing my career for health reasons, our debt doubled as we had two kids in college, and I was diagnosed with cancer again, thyroid this time.

Today my drummer friend stopped by.  We had worked with the same band a few years back.  He had left his music stand behind, and was finally stopping to pick it up.  His booming voice greeted me.  I was able just barely to scratch out his name.  Throat lump, memories of the last time we worked together.  No cancer then, singing jazz standards for the big band he played for.   Singing.  Can’t even speak a solid word.  

Today the sun shines warm, an early springtime day. The kind of day I would have loved to hit the trail with bike and trailer, kids and husband, lunch and water and …. a day to track miles and sweat.  And I walk across the floor, heart races, pains at too fast a movement.  Limbs jiggle, all tone gone, and ache.

Today All Mr. Business is sick.  He’s been fevered.  He lays around listless.  Cheeks pink, eyes glazed, and miserable.  I know the past couple weeks has taken a tole on my kids.  Our dear friends have worked hard to love our children.  Regardless of the loving care from others, the kids stress level and health has been harmed from the angst brought on by my surgery, then the emergency surgery hours after.

In dozens of ways, life is not the same.

And so I paint my toes purple.  That’s the color Little Miss chooses for my toes.  I make a smoothie.  The kids ask for one. I’m the designated smoothie maker, and feel strong enough to stand in the morning kitchen to make sweet and fluffy.  I sit on couch and watch the kids play Sequence and argue over rules.  I visit with my Mom awhile.  And think about what I miss out on when my voice is strong.  When my biking legs are able.  When I can work shift after shift, clocking 60 hours in a week, can hurry scurry about the house to do the the things the kids need of a Momma.  And purple toes get another coat.  A deeper purple.  And the rainstorm race is calming down for now.  I plod with purple toes and give thanks. 

Rose Blooms

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Freshman girls, grand pals they were

That walked among the beauty here.

The stories shared of boy on bus,

A broken car in drifts of snow.

Batons and cheers, and soldiers back.

The years have passed, the girls are old,

But still the path is lined with trees

And roses bloom along the wall.

The girls, they sit with silver hair,

Our small talk words get in the way

of rare and treasured moments now.

A quiet hug, goodbyes they say.

Freshman girls, grand pals they were

They walked among the beauty here

But still the path is lined with trees

And roses bloom along the wall.

Dedicated to My Mom who took a trip with me back to where she was raised,

walked with me around her old neighborhood,

peeked with me into window of the church where as a little 5th grader she gave her heart to Jesus,

walked down her violin teachers street,

round the campus of her beloved school,

past the drug store where she and Grandma had been many times,

and the drive through she worked that has since been torn down,

the pool where her Dad had been a lifeguard,

introduced me to old friends, one town friend, one country friend,

both wonderful women,

I now understand why Mom has held on to these friends over 65 years.

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Not Knowing

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Today a friend commented after having told her how I’m doing, “So, no changes,huh?” That is so depressing to me. At the moment, I’m setting up a counseling business because the last office I set up made me no money in 6 months. Will this one be a waste of time too, although I have a book keeper now trying to help me keep paperwork straight? As we speak, we are packing up a daughter for college. We are preparing to put the younger two in school, we are asked to decided whether we want to move to Salt Lake now, or in January, or Charleston now or later or stay here. As for staying here, we are told we can’t refinance unless we raise our house payments by a TON, and that our house has to be finished, which we haven’t been able to manage yet. Dealing with Adored Husband mentally teetering on the brink of crazy and genius as he always does when he’s inventing – the thing he does for a living.

…they that wait upon the Lord WILL renew their strength…

I’m told to keep moving forward. To act as if I’m going to put the kids in local school. As if I will have a dozen paying clients in my new office in a week, moving forward.. not knowing – yet moving forward. I don’t do that well, which means I’m not doing well. Last year – today – I had a breast removed in an effort to keep cancer from spreading through me. That was the day I wondered if the cancer was taking me or moving on. I had to adjust to one on, one off. The crisis gone, why does life feel so off and so hard and so confusing? I don’t know. All I know is that I love to see my kids learn and grow. I love to work with clients, even when I’m not getting paid. I love my friends in WA, and my house. I love the mountains in Salt Lake, and the sunshine. I don’t love anything about Charleston because it’s too far from my kids… but if I was forced to, I’d learn to love life there as well. I love my guy, always curious about life  – despite his swings. And so I toss the stress back at God…. and move forward, not knowing.  Teetering forward, haltingly forward, hoping as I move along that God will direct these stressed out steps of not knowing.

No Earthly Good

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“It’s a dump” says All Mr. Business evaluating the hotel we have checked into. After 2 weeks on the road, taking in multi-star sheets and whirlpools, the room we are peering into makes us all a little queasy. And I wonder why. No foul smells. The sheets are fresh, the sink basin clean. At this stop we wanted a place as close to our chosen location as possible, and no impressive hotel sits just here. Hunting down the finest grand places for the price seems to have harmed the character of our 10 year old son, and mine for that matter. How much charm and hospitality can a person take before it warps us into no earthly good? I don’t like the idea of choosing the worst accommodations for the purpose of my child’s soul, sometimes the prices are exactly the same…. so what to do?

We have never lived in five star accommodations. The house we now live in we built ourselves – unfinished, no granite, no fireplace, nor trim round floors, doors and windows – none yet anyway. Still, we live in a neighborhood that would be considered upper in every way. This is the home our youngest children have always lived in. My husband and I, however, have lived in old college apartments, in a travel trailer almost 2 years, as children, in simple places with no frills – one bathroom to share. Regardless, when we stay in a hotel able to “up” the other options in town with its upgrades and beauty, our acceptance of simple and clean seems to have disappeared. Almost as though having the best shrinks the portion of the heart that holds contentment.

The road trip has afforded some extended conversations.  Adored Husband and I have been discussing what Jesus meant when he said it’s harder for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. I told him I thought Solomon might say it like this…. “I have seen one thing on this earth, no two. A man makes foolhardy financial decisions early in life, and as the years fly by too fast to correct these problems, the man dies before the mistakes can be rectified. Another man makes wise financial choices from the beginning, and because of reaping what he has sown (significant financial gain) he thinks himself far wiser than the average, becomes prideful and because pride creates arrogance and relational distance – he self destructs bit by bit till both men end of life arrive at the same place…. at a state of regret.”

No Mother wants her child to make foolish financial decisions, foolish decision of any kind… or for her child to see himself as desperately in need. Nor does a mother want her child to make such a collection of poor decisions that over time causes him to reap hard times later in life. And yet, if life is about growth toward Jesus, maybe she would.

The natural inclination is to give our kids everything we never had – and more. To shelter them from things that hurt us, and from what others have that they may not have – make sure that they feel cared for by giving and giving and giving. Even the Bible acknowledges that God, like any good parent, likes to give good gifts to his children. Nothing wrong with that. Then if giving is OK, yet because of being human, our kids come to expect… become entitled, how do they grow to become comfortable with people and their surroundings that have much less than themselves? How do we help them relax in a situation that is clearly lacking in every way? In my estimation, in order to be the hands and feet of Jesus, we all must be able to relax enough in various environments and with a variety of people to love people well.  You may be envisioning a judgmental child mocking someone’s old car… that may fit.  I am thinking, however, of pictures I have seen of poverty so sever – often in third world countries – that basic cleanliness is lacking, fumes from the filth are painful to experience.  And everything in-between.

Poverty in Ethiopia

I know that I am most accepting when I remember where I once was, where God brought me from, and what He has given me that I have not deserved.  These ideas have grown my love for others.  The question then is, what is it that develops gratitude toward God for His grace and mercy towards us? For myself, this has been best learned inside the hopeless, messy, painful parts of my life. Oh dear, my kids have to experience a disaster in order to graciously love others? That is not a happy thought.

Henry Cloud – Amelia’s revised version – says that if your child has not acted like a self-absorbed brat by age 21 or so, he will be a real mess later in life. And why would this be? Because for a child to separate from adoring forever providing parents – to set off on ones own with no guarantees of winning in life – requires more than just a decision to accept misery for the sake of growing up. God is fully aware of this, and so has built in a “push away” at the very age a child must do the particular task needed to grow …. the age the developmental task needs mastering that will move him from dependance on some level, to autonomy. I could go on and on about the inability of a child to achieve these tasks if Mom and Dad are not safe enough to push away from.  However, we are focusing here on the over-doting parent.  Even if Mom and Dad allow for autonomy, if they protect and provide beyond reason, will their child ever experience the pain of making a mistake that hurts him? How will the child come to really need Jesus? In order for there to be a need to be rescued by Jesus, there must be some painful pit to fall into that would hurt without the Lord not providing padding for the landing. Faith is not hypothetical, it’s actual. When there is an actual mess needing rescued from – and Jesus is called on – when He hears and answers prayers not even deserved, dependance and trust in Him grows, and the sense of superiority and self grandiosity shrinks quite nicely. If a parent can’t bear to see their child experience consequences, ignoring the child’s necessary developmental tasks, padding the child’s pain of life, the parent may be unintentionally creating an adult with narcissistic tendencies, completely lacking in empathy, and thinking themselves superior.

This is a dangerous topic to write on as there are parents who are already way too hands off, who won’t respond to their babies cries as they perceive crying as manipulative. Parents who won’t rock their babies to sleep. Parents who don’t have any capacity to hear the sadness in their child’s heart. Parents who give themselves permission to “let him figure it out” when they absolutely should be intervening in and involved in their child’s life. This blog is not for those parents. It is for the parents who can’t stand it that their child doesn’t have all the opportunities others around them have, and puts their family in financial jeopardy by giving the child unnecessary extras. It is for those who neglect their marriages to keep their children in select sports. It is for those who buy 80.00 jeans for their child when their own clothes are decades old and look like garbage. It is for those who are still bailing our their children’s financial messes well into their 20’s and 30’s. The way to know if this blog is for you is to ask yourself one honest question. Do I tend to be self protective in relation to my kids in ways such as my listening ear, my energies, in terms of having difficulty seeing the ways I’ve been wrong and hurt my kids? Do I find myself pushing them away as I’m too busy for them – or do I tend to be somewhat immeshed? Do I do my child’s chores too often, take their lunches they neglected to make back to school again and again, forget my schedule to become observed in my child’s late homework? If the answer is that you tend to be immeshed, this blog is for you.

Other trips we will take. The granite bathroom countertops will at times be grand marble, other times pre-formed, stained formica. We are trying to intentionally expose the kids to a wide range of real life. Trying to listen, trying to teach. Working to pray…. and pray and pray. But most of all, we now realize that a deep trust in Christ which develops true empathy, grace and mercy towards others is developed as we pay attention to the developmental tasks the child should be moving through, and working to manage our own task of letting go.

554169_10152224854529307_1865464944_nAmelia