Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Normal

Once upon a time, I was born. The point at which I arrived seemed like the beginning of everything for me. Until I got older I didn't think about all the history behind me. I was raised in a Seventh-Day Adventist home; A great environment to grow up in. My parents were always supportive and accommodating and loving. As I grew, it became evident that there were parts of my relative's life that I didn't know about. Mom and Dad also got more comfortable sharing things with Luke and I when we matured.

Over the years I learned about my sexually abusive great uncle, grandpa, and great grandpa. I never thought they were that "great" anyways. In my young mind, those things were distant and not an actual part of my existence. Like the Civil War or Jericho. But in finding things about my mom's abusive childhood and my dad's silent home, it was evident that indeed they were influenced. I consider myself incredibly blessed when I think about how differently my own childhood could have been, contrasted with family history. Selfishness, anger, and alcohol seemed to be the roots in my family tree, with sexual, emotional, and physical abuse being the leaves. Broken homes and broken bottles decorated the branches. My home got hung as a morbid ornament as well when my parents got divorced earlier this year. Tragedy.

It seems strange to know so many negative things existed between people, when you see my family now. My mom's mom and her second husband typically celebrate holidays with us separately from my grandpa, his second wife, and my great grandma. And my other uncle (my mom's brother) floats around between the two. At Thanksgiving, a great thing happened. The two sides celebrated together. Rather than two small family gatherings, one whole family united. I think I was the only one that really felt moved by it. Maybe deep down everyone else thought it was nice, but it especially resonated with me. I wondered to myself how this could happen. I took into consideration the years and years of wrongs accumulated. How could anyone ever want to see their oppressor again? In my mind all I could think about was how angry I'd be all the time. I felt that every second seeing the wrongdoers would be like barbed wire around my heart.

But that was when I was micro-viewing the situation; Seeing all the little details from time long gone. The events and actions that took place I thought I could never forgive, had it been me abused. So I put everything in a different light to try and understand. I stepped back and looked intently at the people sitting around the table talking and laughing. Something clicked. Time had passed. Wrongs once vivid in memory perhaps had become dots in the distance. Like sailing away from a torturous burning island and smoke being the last evidence. Life's journey had rowed them all out of the nasty harbors, on to different waters.

A similar experience took place when my brother got into some minor trouble with the law. My dad drove down from Omaha, where he lives now, to bring Luke up there to stay with him for the weekend. While waiting around till the time he could pick my brother up, Dad, Mom, and I sat around the table drinking coffee and talking. For maybe all of one second it was weird, then the moment turned to something else. After all the crap that I've had to endure the past two years, things felt like they were going to be alright. Different, but alright. Maybe it was acceptance. Perhaps some sort of forgiveness.

What I've discovered in this mess of a life is this: We all experience wrongs done to us by those that are supposed to love us. When this happens, the ball is then in our court as to how we handle things. Sometimes people bottle up the hurt and never let the perpetrator know. Others explode in unhealthy rage. Still others will sever all ties, totally detaching from interaction. I tend to do the latter. Regardless of reaction, the choices remain the same. In the case of my family, they needed to detach... after exploding in rage... from bottling everything up. But as time passed and wounds became manageable, forgiveness subconsciously took place, I believe. And now the two sides of my family can be together once in awhile. This life is short and ever fleeting. We can choose to waste away in our hate and loathing for people close to us or muster up love and courage to carry on. As relationships shift in the tide and our boats drift towards whatever is ahead, we have to continually decide what is more important; The wrongs done to us by people or the people themselves. Severing ties is the best option in some cases. But as the cliche goes, time does heal hurt. Anchors of abuse that once held us down can be broken so we may find a new normal in the horizon's sunset.

Alright readers, my blog as at nearly 1000 views. And how appropriate for the approaching New Year? If you have anyone you think would enjoy visiting the Pumpkin Patch and perhaps becoming a member/follower, send 'em a link! Ever forward! Blessings to all.


  1. You are a very insightful young man Josh...Very nice reading. Thank you for your depth and insight into things that many would not want to approach. Blessings.

  2. Too amazing and insightful for words.