In my high school years, I had a friend named Nancy. She was sweet and kind and a good friend, but what I remember most is the relationship she had with her mother. Nancy would go home from school each day and sit at the kitchen table, and tell her mother all about her day. They would talk, sometimes for an hour or more, discussing all the ups and downs of her teenaged world -- the classes she struggled with, the boys she thought were cute, the new music she was practicing for the next big concert, the latest traumatic outbreak of adolescent acne. Whenever I'd have the opportunity to see them together, I'd be just enchanted... and amazed. It wasn't like that between my mother and I. Not even a little bit.
When I think about what my mother said to me, I mostly remember her ascerbic, "You made your bed, now lie in it!" The expression is one that connotes that one must bear the negative consequences of one's own negative actions. It is normally said to someone whom one would feel free to criticize openly, and that was surely true when my mother said it to me. The other common bit of motherly communication was the question, "What were you thinking?" If you imagine either of those with a "YOU IDIOT" tacked on the end, you will give you a very clear impression of what I mostly heard from her throughout my growing up years. And, the sad truth is that I still have that voice in my head; making the clear case that I am not competent to make my own choices; that I will ALWAYS fall short; that, left to my self, the odds are I will make a mess of things.
Now, as I battle my way along in therapy, slogging through the swamps of my psyche, I am becoming more and more aware of the judging that I do constantly. I judge myself (a lot), but I am also inclined to judge other people and especially Tom, noticing all the places where He is human; all the ways in which He is somehow, less than perfect. The only possibly good news in all of that, is that I am noticing that, when that voice in my head is insisting that He is (or is not) __________________________ (whatever -- fill in the blank), and winding me all up into poor me mode -- I can hear that mother voice in the back of it all. The judgement that I am so quick to bring into my life is the exact same criticism that she always leveled against me... a judgement that always did boil down to "You are too stupid to do anything right, and here's the proof."
When I was just a teen, that nastiness just broke my heart, left me bereft, sent me into emotional hiding -- knowing that I was on my own; that there was no one in the world who was on my side. Now, at 57, I am doing it to myself, and in that, I am doing it to us all. I've got to start silencing that mother voice. I'm not that lonely teenager anymore, and I believe, with all that has happened, that I did choose well when I came to Tom. He's not perfect. Neither am I. No one is. The fact is that when I consider all that has happened; all of the joys and sorrows of our decade together, I would do it again. Absolutely.
That is the gem I've taken to myself for this week. It feels like a treasure to me. Stay tuned...