Monday, June 22, 2009

Niggling thoughts...

Do you ever get those?
Stuff that flits through the mind and overstays its welcome?
I'm a believer. Make that capital B, Believer.
It makes these nigglers harder to ignore as I agonize about their source.
Am I being 'compelled' by Spirit or just overwhelmed by wistful thought from a fumbling brain or wounded heart?
I really have no illusions about either of those two organs within, i.e. heart/mind. They've only proven to be a fickle storage place for both the profoundly magnificent as well as the positively messy moments of my life.
Never-the-less, I've decided to go out on a limb against all that may be considered safe and sane disclosure - I'm going public with some of these nigglers.
For reasons I don't even understand right now, I'm going to start with a Father's Day memoir.

I was eighteen, second born in a family of seven kids. Seven is the number of fullness according to interesting tidbit to expound another time perhaps? LOL.
I was just back from spending Thanksgiving Weekend in isolation at the hospital where a serious bout of mononucleosis was confirmed. I remember thinking I was going to lose my first semester at university and I did. I actually never went back.
Our family owns and operates a nursery business - something my dad (and his brothers) had just recently taken over following the death of the family patriarch.
Spring and fall were very busy times. We wouldn't see a whole lot of dad during those months and consequently, 'seasonal estrangement' was considered a normal, even acceptable (!) factor in the fabric of family life.
A great deal of time and energy went into expanding the family business - on top of the demanding duties required of husband, father, pillar of the church etc...
To make a long and sordid story short?
My dad succumbed to the snare of the wrong kind of success in the wrong kind of community.
There is a wise saying: The test of prosperity is not easily passed.
One can hear the same panache (only better) in the ancient truth uttered by Jesus, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."
And it ain't bulging sacks of gold that make it impossible - what disqualifies us is misplaced allegiance and an entirely wrong focus. Only Grace pulls one through the mire.
Our personal experience(s) testify to the power of this truth.
Misplaced priority. An insatiable desire for acceptance, position and power among the worldly. Call it what you will - my dad fell for it, hook, line and sinker. He threw in the towel on his marriage and joined the party somewhere out there.
Now, if being a father were limited to simply supporting a family financially, or to mere biological brute fact, I suppose you could say I still had a father. But in every other way - we were abandoned and quite bereft.

We didn't see that coming. Indeed, there was no good reason to expect it.
I was home at the beginning of a long recovery process from mono when the castle walls started crumbling and the vantage point in my safe little world changed forever.
I was second born but as the oldest daughter, I became the involuntary confidante overnight.
That is not a complaint necessarily -- my mother had no where else to turn; but it would be many, many years later before I could fully appreciate the horror she must have endured.

My dad grazed and razed greener pastures to the point of no return which led to the inevitable divorce which in turn led to so many other inevitable consequences.
Before I talk about any of those things -- if indeed I find the courage to do so, let me say this:
I love my Dad. I never truly stopped loving him.
Once or twice a year when he drives up to my door,
we sip our coffee or wine :) and I tell him that.
He finally settled down and married one of his girlfriends and our family still doesn't have a meaningful relationship with him in a way that really counts. We've had to accept life with the broken-ness but also in the sure knowledge that it will be made right again, and we accept that it won't be in this earthly life.
Why? *sigh* You had to ask...
Call me a dinosaur. I hold to the biblical concept that marriage is for keeps. I'm one of the odd ones who still believe a vow before the Maker to 'stick with it' in sickness or health, for richer or poorer 'til death parts us, is a vow not to be trifled with.
Look around you. Show me please, where compromise in this matter has ever brought true, soul satisfying happiness to ANY of the parties involved?
Marriage is divinely instituted and like it or not, the First Officiator cannot be mocked.
God has been very merciful and kind to our family.
With the exception of my sister Yvonne, we all enjoy good stable marriages with oodles of kids apiece. We all live near each other and near to our mom who has despite all, learned contentment and continues to live graciously with her circumstances.
We can all say quite honestly that we live far better than we deserve.

So what is my point in sharing this particular 'niggler' ?
This blog is an effort to connect with Nicole Kristine Peters - our long lost grand-daughter, niece and cousin whom we haven't seen or heard from in almost a dozen years due to circumstances beyond our control.
We don't know why that is. But we're going to put ourselves 'out there' in the hopes that she discovers a family (albeit an imperfect one!) who misses her, loves her and remembers her with great longing.
This Father's Day post is a necessary point of reference in disclosing ourselves to you Nicole.
I think you'll understand as the story unfolds itself.
And about imperfection and publicizing them?
Who DOESN'T live with broken-ness in this world?
I share it not to celebrate it, laud it or wallow in it but what a crying shame it would be if we didn't also learn by it and pass those lessons on!
This is a paradox: the beauty of bearing sorrow is the potential for maturity, growth and strength.
Looking back? I am hopeful -- thankful. By God's grace (Who put us on the planet in the first place for good purpose) we are learning to live as ultimate Family.

For all you daddies out there? Listen up. One of the strongest ways to demonstrate your love to your children is simply to love their mother. Do it. No matter what and you will be rewarded in ways immeasurable.
It's a hard sell in this sick and selfish cultural climate of ours but it's not impossible.
God helping us.


  1. Wow. I sit here trying to write a response worthy of your post.
    I cannot.
    So instead I say, thank you for the courage you showed in sharing it. It is good indeed. All fellow pilgrims and all on the same road and all dealing with broken-ness of some kind.
    Yes, it's good to share.


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