Tag Archive | relationships

Notable News: Week of August 17-23, 2013

Here we are at the close of another week.  It’s been a busy one for me, with my volunteer work at the kids’ last summer camp of the season.  I can’t believe that school is just around the corner for us.  Two weeks from today, my kids will be finishing their first week of classes.  The summer has flown by.  Meanwhile, I’m trying some new things in my life outside of blogging.  I’m looking forward to new challenges and opportunities.

This week, there have been some great posts.  Here are some of my favorites:

1. Religious privilege

This is a great summary of the privileges enjoyed (often unawares) by most Christians (other than those considered too “fringe”).  Because I still identify as Christian (even if I don’t always know how to define that, even for myself), I have definitely experienced many of the things on the list.  Although I’ve done well as an ally to people of other faiths in some ways, there are places where I can improve.

2. Love and Marriage

This story from Lana Hobbs is incredibly moving.  I’m not posting it here in order to “prove” to anyone that courtship works.  I’m posting it because so often lately, I read black-and-white pronouncements without any sense of the varied experiences of real people.  Lana’s story is one of hope in which despite her feelings about the process, she and her husband value and affirm each other.  There is rich beauty in that.

3. Leaps of Faith

I wish erinrebecca a blessed, hopeful journey this weekend in coming out to her parents.  I don’t have any special words of wisdom or deep, meaningful prayers to offer.  All I have to give is support from one writer to another, a thin line of Internet hope, and an affirmation of God’s love and mercy.  Grace and peace be with you as you go.

4. Jesus’ Gag Reflex

One of many fine responses to the gag-reflex-worthy poo fest that was Thabiti Anyabwile’s dreadful Gospel Coalition article.

5. More Gag Reflexes

And, of course, this one.  A friend of mine made a similar comment about his gag reflex for het sex.  Gee, thanks, guys–you’ve cleared things up for me.  Now I know I’m the one sinning because I’ve tripped your gag reflex!

6. Misogyny of the Week

I honestly find purity, modesty, and “courtship” culture kind of trips my gag reflex.  I’m glad my parents didn’t encourage any of this.  I’m also glad I married a man who even thought it was weird to ask my parents for permission to marry me.  After reading this dreadful post, I’m currently glad I will never have reason to allow this man to counsel either of my children.  I’m still laughing about how he calls this post “PG-13.”

7. Virgin Sacrifice

I’m glad I wasn’t drinking hot coffee when I read this.  Also, I misread “virgins” as “vaginas,”  to which my brain helpfully supplied, “That too.”

8. Christian Music

Apparently they meant “Grew Up A Christian Music Fan After 1992,” as I didn’t relate to most of this.  But I was a Christian music fan in the late 80s-early 90s, and I was one of those die-hards who refused to listen to secular music.  Other than the Billy Joel I used to sneak in.  And whatever my sisters happened to be listening to.  And U2 after they weren’t Christian anymore.  And Metallica.  And REM.  And…oh.  Never mind.

Have a great weekend, everyone!  See you on Monday.

A Moving Target

By ange Embuldeniya from Somewhere… (Stop Cyber Bullying Day Uploaded by Doktory), via Wikimedia Commons

Warning: This post may be triggering for people who have grown up in abusive homes or churches, particularly when there were unclear expectations, or for those who have been harassed/bullied (online or off).  Also, it’s long and kind of ranty.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write today.  I’m feeling a little burned out.  I still love writing, and I still love talking about things that need to change in American evangelical Christianity.  But right now, being part of the blogging community doesn’t feel like a hopeful pursuit.  I’m not going to leave, as I believe I still own my words and have things to say.  But it’s hard to put my feelings into words these days, especially when I’m seeing online friends experience bullying by other bloggers.

I’ve been complicit in this because I haven’t wanted to be victimized myself.  This is probably understandable, given my long history with bullying.  When one has the appearance of having made it to the cool kids’ table, who wants to go back to being the outcast?  I was horrified when I realized that I was doing the very thing I’d experienced for years.  I stopped, and the repercussions were immediate; I lamented that blogging can feel like middle school all over again.  Some of my fellow writers, who happen to have encouraging online blogging personalities, really helped me feel better, and I started thinking about the power dynamics.

Have you ever been in a relationship where the rules keep changing?  Years ago, I was in a friendship like that.  The other person–I’ll call her Lulu–had a long list of expectations.  Disagreeing with her was never a simple matter of saying, “I disagree.”  She wanted me (and others) to use specific words and phrases.  If we made a mistake in our language, she would refuse to respond to our concerns until we rephrased things “properly.”  It could even result in weeks (or, in one situation, years) of being ignored or complained about.  This would have been annoying on its own, but what made it worse was that the line kept moving.  She would change her mind about what she wanted or how she wanted it on a regular basis, or she would add rules on top of rules.

It took me a long time to extract myself from that friendship.  I kept telling myself that it was me–I wasn’t a good enough friend; I was overreacting; her abuse wasn’t that bad; I would have the same issues in any relationship.  When I finally left, I discovered that there are people out there who like me for me, not for what I can do for them.  Friendship means being allowed to receive as well as give.

I experienced similar situations at home and at school growing up.  I never actually considered my home abusive, but my mother was highly unpredictable and could be volatile under certain circumstances.  When it came to peer relationships, the ones that always left me devastated weren’t the kids nasty from day one but the friends-turned-bullies.  The worst part was the inconsistency–the unpredictable nature of the abusers.  Which version would I have that day?  The kind, gentle loving person or the monster?  The friend who invited me to sleep over or the one who turned around the next day and told everyone that she made me eat candy she’d put down her underpants?  The mom who baked ten kinds of Christmas cookies or the one who spent the entire holiday raging and crying, holed up in her room?

That is how I feel about the online world.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve hit the bulls-eye.  I receive praise and encouragement from fellow writers.  Other times, I feel like I can’t keep up with the shifting expectations.  Every time I turn around, there’s a new thing I’m supposed to say differently in order to demonstrate that I’ve properly heard and understood something.  Just when I think I’ve gotten it, the target moves again.  For example, I thought I was doing pretty well as a parent, particularly in how I speak of my children on my blog.  Then along came some new rules:  Don’t say you’re proud of your kids because it takes away their autonomy.  Don’t talk about your kids’ issues because you’re speaking for them.  Actually, don’t write about them at all without their express permission, which of course you can’t get in writing because they’re not of legal age.  Also, don’t have any feelings about their needs at all because it’s not about you, despite the fact that you’re the one who has spent years learning to care for kids who have challenges or don’t fit in with societal expectations.

Seriously?

You know what?  I am proud of my kids, dammit.  And I do have feelings about raising kids with learning and behavioral needs–it can be emotionally and physically draining.  I will write about them because other than my husband, they are the two people I love most in this world.  The most common complaint I’ve heard is that if I think it’s hard to parent a neurodiverse child, I should try being one.  Know what I say to that?  Up yours.  Why the hell do you think it’s so hard to parent a child whose needs exceed his or her peers?  One reason is that we do know how hard it is for them, and all we do all day long is try to help it be less hard.  My kids tell me they feel loved, so I’m pretty sure I’m not screwing them up for life.

Writing about my kids is just one example.  There are rules for everything, including what words we should use (I’m not talking about proper terms for things or not using slurs or insulting phrases).  Today, one thing will be considered appropriate phraseology; tomorrow, another.  And through it all, the real problem isn’t so much the changing expectations but the fact that there are segments of the blogging world that have unpredictable reactions to the use of yesterday’s terminology–often on behalf of others rather than themselves.

That’s the thing I can’t do anymore.  I can’t follow all the rules, and I’m not going to try.  If someone wants to be pissy that I talk about what it’s like to parent a kid with ADHD (or even that I mentioned having one with ADHD), so what?  Be pissy, then.  Don’t like how I apologize when someone has told me I’ve hurt them?  Fine–go make amends your own way.  Think I’m not the perfect [whatever kind of] ally?  Then what you want is a robot, not another human being (and honestly, I’ve never heard this from people I’m being an ally to–only from other allies).

I know why I’ve spent so much time trying to fit in.  I desperately want to be accepted, and part of that is trying to offend as few people as possible–or at least those who seem like the cool, popular ones or the influential ones.  Today, I realized that I view everyone I meet in these terms–when will they stop liking me and start behaving erratically?  I’m done.  I refuse to try to contort myself for the sake of someone else’s unpredictability.  I can’t live like that.  I wasn’t able to maintain a friendship like that long-term, and I can’t maintain online relationships that way either.

None of this means that I will stop working for change or pointing out where we can improve.  But I don’t want to be part of an unhealthy system.  I did that growing up, I did that in my former friendship, and I did that at church.  At this point, I need to protect myself from further harm, and that includes not allowing myself to be influenced by my need to fit in.  This thing called life is hard enough without feeling like if I so much as twitch it might be taken the wrong way and I’ll get an earful of how I’m defending some terrible injustice even when that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Maybe one day, I won’t feel the need to be on the inside anymore.

Dad

Father’s Day is this Sunday.  Whether you have a dad, are a dad, or fill a fatherly role in someone’s life, I hope your day is meaningful.

This story is a little sadder than my usual.  This isn’t an easy day for me, and I imagine it’s not for many others as well.  No worries, I’ll be back with something lighter next time.

Note: Please don’t read more into this story than I intended.  I had several requests to write more about the people from my previous stories in this “world,” and I hadn’t done one about Chad, so I thought I’d start with him.  Don’t worry, he’ll have less drama in a future installment, I promise.  Also, don’t assume you know what’s underneath his troubled relationship with his dad.  I intentionally left that ambiguous, because I wanted it to be relatable.  I’m not even sure I know that just yet; Chad hasn’t confided in me.

Isaac Blesses Jacob, deatail. Govert Flinck, 1638.

Chad woke to the sound of the shower. He stretched lazily and blinked a few times to clear the sleep-induced blur from his eyes. He ran a hand over his face and sat up, remembering what day it was. He winced, thinking that as an adult, he really shouldn’t still let it get to him. He threw back the covers and slipped out of the bed, then began pulling the blankets back into place and smoothing them down. He flopped down on his back, his legs hanging off the edge of the bed, and threw one arm over his eyes.

The shower stopped and the door opened. Steam and the scent of soap wafted out, and Chad breathed in. He let himself smile a little as he propped himself up on his elbows. From where he was situated on the bed, he had a clear view into the bathroom. Al stepped out onto the bathmat to dry off. The familiar curve of his spine and the lines and planes of his body were comforting. He looked over and caught Chad’s eye.

“See something you like?”

“Always,” Chad replied, but only half-heartedly. Understanding flickered between them.

Al rubbed at his hair to dry it. From under the towel he asked, “Are you going to call him?” He finished and pulled the towel around his hips.

“I’m not sure.” Chad closed his eyes. He could hear Al rummaging around in one of the drawers, probably looking for his razor. Chad reopened his eyes just in time to see Al starting to shave. “It’s just…” Chad wasn’t entirely sure what it “just” was. It had been easier when he hadn’t had to think about what it would mean. “He hasn’t really been–you know.”

“You remember what my dad said his father was like. I still think he’s not too crazy about it, but at least he keeps his mouth shut during family dinners.”

“It’s not exactly the same thing.”

Al wiped his face on the hand towel and leaned back so he could meet Chad’s gaze. “I know.”

“After what happened, he wouldn’t even come to the wedding.” Not that Chad had been surprised, really.

Chad turned over so that he was lying prone with his face in the pillow. There wasn’t much to say. It was just a phone call, but it seemed like significantly more at the moment. Chad heard Al walk out of the bathroom and turned his head to peer at him. Al yanked off the towel around his waist, folding it and threading it over the rack on the back of the closet door. He pulled out his clothes.

“It’s really up to you. Not much going on today, other than dinner at my parents’ house at five.”

“Mm-hm.”

“We can just have a quiet day, if you want.”

“Mm-hm.”

“Or I could wait until you fall asleep and paint your toenails red and draw a fake mustache on your lip with a Sharpie.”

Chad pushed himself up a bit. “You’re a jerk.”

“Just making sure you were listening.”

Chad threw the pillow at him, but he missed. Al just laughed and went back to getting dressed.

Neither of them said anything for a few moments. Eventually, Al said, “Okay if I tell Paula we’ll take the kids overnight next weekend? Kyle’s out of town and she wanted to go to that women’s thing at her church.”

“Oh, God. I hope it’s every bit as fun as the men’s version I went to last week.” Chad sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed.

“I’m sure it will be even better. Why’d you go, anyway?” Al paused in buttoning his shirt, his head to one side.

“Because Kyle told me it was going to be awesome, and then he bailed. I was stuck with a bunch of middle-aged men going on about how hot their wives are.”

“I didn’t know Kyle had promised to go. He was with Dad and me at the new house.” Al resumed his buttoning.

“Yeah, well, that’s Kyle.” Chad shrugged.

“Sure is. I’ll give him hell for you next time I see him.”

“Nah. It wasn’t all bad. Remember that guy Bill I mentioned? He asked if I wanted to catch the game with him in a couple of weeks. I guess his company gets free tickets every year, and his wife hates baseball.”

Al rolled his eyes. “Better you than me. Anyway, what do you want me to tell Paula?”

“You can tell her we’ll do it.” Chad chuckled. “You know they only like coming here because we feed them ice cream and let them stay up late.”

“And put on DVDs of the Muppet Show. Don’t forget that.”

“I’m surprised that hasn’t gotten us a lifetime ban. You know how Paula is about ‘adult humor.’” Chad threw in air quotes for emphasis.

“There are worse things we could let them watch,” Al said, shrugging.

“Oh, like half the crap you enjoy? Good thing Paula doesn’t know about those.”

Al reached out to swat at Chad, who rolled out of his reach just in time.

“You want me to make breakfast?” Al offered.

“Maybe. I’m not really hungry.”

The bed dipped a little as Al sat down. “Hey.”

“What?”

“You know you don’t have to do this.”

“Call, you mean?”

“Yeah.”

“I know. But maybe if I do…”

Al shook his head. “Don’t do this just because you think you have to or because you think something will change.” He reached out and put his hand on Chad’s arm. “I’m not going to think less of you if you don’t. Do what you need to, but do it for yourself.”

“Okay.”

“I want to go get some coffee. You want to shower first? Should I wait for you before I eat?”

“Nah. I’m just going to take some time.” He knew Al would understand what he wasn’t saying.

“Sure.” Al leaned in for a brief kiss, then rose from the bed. “I’ll see you down there in a bit.”

Once Al had closed the door behind him, Chad glanced at the clock. It was a few minutes after eight, which meant it was plenty late enough. He reached for his phone. His hand was shaking slightly as he pulled up the number from his contacts. The phone rang twice before he heard a familiar voice on the other end.

“Hi, Dad?” He cleared his throat. “It’s Chad.”

©June 14, 2013 ABMitchell

Aren’t We Forgetting Something?

Whenever we have “Biblical” or “Christian” discussions about sexuality, there are inevitably some people who are left out:

1. People in relationships with someone of the same sex.

I understand that this can be tricky in non-affirming churches.  Even so, the message is essentially limited to, “Don’t do that.”  I honestly can’t imagine what it would be like to hear a three-week sermon series on Biblical sex which doesn’t resemble my own experiences, and on the rare occasion that it’s supposed to, it still doesn’t.  Ethical sexuality doesn’t have to be so specific to twenty-first century American male-female relationships.  At the very least, we ought to be expanding our discussions around the topic.

2. People who don’t have typical gender roles in their relationships or are non-gender-conforming.

We make this assumption when we say, “Men are like…and women are like…”  I’ve heard it excused by saying, “But most people relate to this analogy!”  Yep, and most people is not the same as all people.  It’s offensive when it is done regarding race or ethnicity, why isn’t it the same when it comes to gender roles?  I had a friend tell me that she is the “man” in her marriage because she enjoys sex more often than her husband.  No, honey, you’re not.  You’re a confident, sexy woman who appreciates her body and enjoys sex.  Nothin’ wrong with that at all.  Standing up in front of the congregation and giving men a list of things they should do to make their wives happy isn’t a good idea.  The reverse is also true.  Why doesn’t anyone ever just say, “Find out what your spouse likes and make the effort to grow together?”  It seems like that would eliminate nearly all of the issues.

3. People who are transgender.

Yep, I’m going there.  I don’t know what that would be like, but I’ve seen how transgender folks are treated by clergy (I posted about it before).  I don’t have anything productive to say about it, just that having at least some awareness around the issue might be helpful.  A basic understanding of biology and genetics would be good, too.

4. People with different cultural backgrounds.

That might be surprising, but it’s true.  When I was in training as a health educator, we talked about how much of health education assumes a white, male, American-born perspective.  The problem is that there are underlying cultural norms within other communities which affect the lens through which people see.  What works in one situation (a predominantly white middle-class suburb) would not work in another (fill in the blank).  A blanket statement about “what the Bible says” isn’t necessarily helpful because it doesn’t eliminate those cultural overlays.

When I mentioned all of this to my husband, he said that one place to start might be a simple change in phrasing.  Instead of saying, “Men are…women are…” we could say, “In my relationship…”  Making it specific to ourselves allows people to put themselves in our places.  For example, if a pastor says, “Men, bring your wives flowers for no reason,” he could change it to, “My wife loves when I bring her flowers for no reason.”  My husband knows there is little I dislike more than 1. surprises and 2. flowers.  But hearing how our pastor and his wife show each other love creates space for us to say, “What would it take for me to show love to you?”  It creates conversation rather than missives.

I believe the same applies in sexual ethics.  By putting ourselves in the story, we can help others put themselves in their own stories.  I think it might help when it comes to questions of purity, too.  Instead of listing the twenty reasons to abstain, why not tell us your own story?  Let us use our creative minds to understand how you felt, what you went through, and what the outcome was.  Tell us how it affected you.  Use Scripture, certainly, but show us how your faith and your understanding of Scripture affected you.  Then let us place ourselves in the narrative.  It’s a stretch.  But as Carl Rogers said, “What is most personal is most general.”  That which we feel and think deeply, our own experiences, resonate much more than attempting to speak to the middle, generalizing to the greatest number of people.

Microwave Meals for One

Here’s another great video from Amplify Your Voice:

I don’t know about other women, but I am done with hearing about what men and women are like…from men. Gentlemen, listen up, because I think you may have a thing or two to learn about women.

You know that whole microwave-crock pot crap? Throw it out the window. I just know that was a metaphor conceived by a man. (I could be really mean here, but I will restrain myself.) Chalk this up to the Mars and Venus phenomenon. Remember when that was all the rage? Although it went a long way toward helping men and women understand each other, I think we’ve made too much of it.

Aside from the fact that I don’t like to be compared to a kitchen appliance, I dislike the analogy on several fronts. First, it displays a clear misunderstanding of female sexual arousal. There’s an underlying assumption that women won’t be interested unless they’ve had flowers, chocolate, and wine first. I’m guessing that a lot of men have no idea how many of their wives get hot from peeking at them in the shower…Second, it assumes men wouldn’t want anything to do with romance or foreplay and would prefer five minutes of fun and a nap. That’s super, but they can achieve that on their own. There’s a reason they choose to be with someone else that I’m willing to bet goes beyond mere getting off. Third, it’s not very helpful in cultivating a healthy physical relationship between married couples. Besides reminding us that we’re different and that we have to “understand” each other, exactly what does it do to promote that understanding? I’ve only ever heard that analogy used by men to justify why they need their wives to “put out,” like the microwave is going to get cranky if you use the stove. Yeah, that’s a metaphor that can be taken too far.

I’m going to propose a few things that I think might put us on the right track:

1. Put down the kitchen appliance and back away slowly. If you are a pastor and you really, truly feel compelled to give a sermon about sex, just skip this analogy, please. In fact, I would like it if you just stayed out of our bedrooms entirely. I secretly throw up a little in my mouth every time I hear a sermon on “Biblical sex” anyway.

2. Specifically, keep Pastor Mark Driscoll out of our bedrooms. Couples: Do yourselves a favor and skip the books that talk about having healthy intimacy. If you need a book, get a nice how-to.

3. Better yet, skip all of that and just talk to each other about it.

4. Nobody likes microwave dinners unless you’re alone. (And yes, you can read into that whatever you like.)

Keepin’ It Fake

Why is it that we often feel the need to cover up things in our lives?  I don’t just mean things we’ve done wrong.  I mean parts of our personalities, things about who we are.

Far too many people have told me recently that they can’t be authentic in their interactions with others.  They’ve been judged and found lacking.  Those people I’ve talked to have come from inside the church, though I imagine it must happen elsewhere too.  What keeps us from being ourselves and, more importantly, from letting others be who they are?

Last Sunday, our pastor made an offhand comment in his message about being open and transparent with people “strategically.”  That struck me as strange.  I don’t think this is exactly what he meant (at least I hope not), but it sounded like putting on a mask except when it will accomplish a goal to remove it.  Talk about living an artificial life!

Mostly, it seems like we hide the parts of ourselves that don’t conform to some invisible standard.  When we don’t meet (or believe we don’t meet) those expectations, we try to hide it.  At the very least, we make sure that our public persona reflects what people want to see.  I know I do it.  I like to hope I’m a bit more open on my blog, and I’m certainly open with my closest friends.  But there are a lot of people who don’t know what’s under the surface.

Case in point: Got a compliment from someone at church last Sunday.  It was very nice that the person thinks I’m a fine, upstanding member.  He’s apparently unaware of certain…affiliations I have outside of church.  I doubt very much that he’d approve.  Anyway, even though I would like to simply accept the compliment and move on, I can’t.  And actually, for all I know, he has things he’s hiding because he believes others might condemn him.  It makes me uncomfortable to think that even though I’m very active in the church, others don’t really know me.  (The good news is, the ones who count do know me.  This wasn’t someone who knows me well, just recognizes me because I’m fairly visible at church.)

So why, if so many of us are lamenting the fact that we feel a bit plastic at church, do we still insist on faking it?  I’m willing to bet that this is where a lot of judgmentalism strikes.  We judge others before they can get to us.  If we blast them for things we perceive as being different or unacceptable, then maybe they won’t see what’s really inside our hearts.

What if we stopped judging and started being more honest?  I don’t mean that we should tell complete strangers our life stories or vomit our drama all over everyone all the time.  Obviously those aren’t brilliant plans.  What I’m talking about is simply being who we are, without apology.  We shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed because we belong to a certain political party or because we parent our children differently.  We shouldn’t judge each other because of the books we read, movies we enjoy, or our recreational activities.  We certainly shouldn’t have to change our personalities because we don’t meet an unattainable standard.

Admittedly, I have no idea how to start that.  Maybe I’m making it too complicated, sort of that “strategic” transparency thing.  I don’t want it to turn into some kind of formula or business model.  How about if I just start with being real with my closest friends?  That might just work.  Hey, if they can’t handle me, then maybe we don’t belong together after all.

Listening, Heart Wide Open

We need to hear people’s stories. Not just the ones we want to hear, the triumph-of-grace-over-sin, feel-good, happy-ending tales of a life turned to Christ. Not just the kind that make the people cheer in victory, that another soul has been rescued from the clutches of Satan.  We need to hear the stories that make us squirm. The ones that cause us to lie awake nights, asking the deeper questions about sin, salvation, and grace.

Here are a couple of links to just such stories: Life Abundant, a guest post on Andrew Marin’s blog; and this one, the most recent post on Ryan Nix’s blog, Queer as Faith.  (Nix’s posts are much less about being the “gay Christian dude” and more about drawing us back to the heart of the Father.  Incredibly inspiring and often convicting, the posts are very well-written; it’s worth checking out some of the others as well.)

Often, we might say that we ought to get to know real-life LGBT people. But the subtle underlying message we hear or sometimes speak is, “So that they come to know Christ and give up their lifestyle of rampant sin.”  The fault in that is two-fold. First, it’s incorrect to assume anything about someone’s faith (as seen in the links above). Second, it’s never a good idea to enter a friendship with an agenda.

Most of you know where my heart is.  If we’ve talked, then chances are I know where yours is.  No one is being asked to jump immediately on board the train and change their thinking, certainly not overnight. But we do need to hear what people different from ourselves have to say. It’s not a matter of listening with an open mind but an open heart.  When we do this kind of open-hearted listening, we are offering ourselves to G-d to work through us and in us.

Who will you listen to today?

Hurt and Angry

Forgive me, as I type this I am at the end of my rope.  It’s been one hell of a week.  Too much has happened in a short period of time.

I’m not normally very open about my feelings when something serious is going on.  Part of that is the irrational belief I have that whatever I experience pales in comparison to what my friends have to endure.  And I don’t want to be specific, as I feel it would be unproductive, bordering on public gossip, and could cause irreparable damage to a fragile relationship.

All that said, I’m angry and hurt beyond what I’ve experienced in recent years.  However it happened, I’ve become a doormat in one of my relationships.  The hard part is, I want to be forgiving and loving.  I want things to work out for the best.  I don’t want to hurt anyone else, even unintentionally.  I find myself walking that fine line between accepting another person, warts and all, and allowing myself to be used.

I called someone else on her behavior.  My hope was not to make her feel bad, but to improve a situation that had been brewing for some time.  Instead, she became defensive and made accusations back at me.  It hurt.  Not because I believe I am perfect, or even that what she said is untrue (at least, some of it).  It was just a flat-out denial that she has any responsibility or that there is any need to change.  She seems content to believe the lies she tells herself, making sure that the rest of us know that we are the problem.

What is left is a broken relationship that I am not sure can be mended.  Right now, it doesn’t feel like there is any way to move beyond the place we have found ourselves.  Too much is at stake.  I want to give up, but that doesn’t seem right either.  The “fix-it girl” in me wants to rewind, take the blame, and say, “Yes, you’re right.”  But in my heart, I know that can’t, and shouldn’t, happen.

My heart is grieving the loss that seems inevitable.