If you’ve been following my posts on dealing with parents, you’ll notice that so far I have neither described nor proscribed a parental confrontation. And that’s because I never had one, at least not in the dramatic, cinematic showdown sense. I didn’t really have to confront my parents because they each laid a foundation of forgiveness and reconciliation with me.
Years ago, I had more than a few conversations with my mom and dad (separately) that involved their tearful and heartfelt apologies for the mistakes they’d made and the ways that they’d hurt me. To this day, I don’t know how much ground those apologies covered in paving the way for me to heal. It is no small thing to have your father or mother sitting with you and making themselves vulnerable in admitting their wrongs. I don’t think that I’ll know how deep a foundation they dug for the process of healing between us – at least, not in this life. But it was no small thing and I’m grateful.
Now, I wasn’t ready to remember or deal with my childhood hurts when my parents first spoke to me, but I heard them. And in that hearing, there was a kind of permission granted to me to begin to acknowledge some hard truths in my life. I say this to encourage any parents out there with seemingly “impossible” children. Maybe it looks like they are completely hardened against you, incapable of hearing you at all. Well, I was pretty hardened and mean and horrible, but the line stayed open. I heard my parents.
And maybe that’s really why dealing with parents is so necessary. No matter what they do, we can’t seem to close the line to mom and dad. The original umbilical cord lies with them, and that’s the problem, isn’t it? We’re trapped, open and vulnerable, until we face the truth and choose to forgive.
So I didn’t have a conventional showdown with my parents, but there is a time for anger.
Matthew 11:17 HCSB
We played the flute for you,
but you didn’t dance;
we sang a lament,
but you didn’t mourn!
This verse lays out how important it is to God that we respond to life from the heart. More than life, it’s important that we respond to HIM from the heart. After all, who’s playing the flute for us? Who’s singing the lament? Whose sovereign Hand is over every event in our lives – good, bad, and ugly?
There were more than a few days when God pushed me and prodded me and brought these long-buried hurts to the surface and said, “FEEL IT!” And I did feel it. And I cried and raged and went berserk. I didn’t try to save myself or ignore it or excuse it or explain it away. I acknowledged my broken heart before God.
Ultimately, I didn’t need to confront my parents with any of it, because pouring it out to God was sufficient. He was the one I’d really wanted to tell the whole thing to anyway. After all, He allowed every hurtful word and deed.
My God broke my heart.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you what it took for me to move past the anger and into forgiveness.