Early in life, I became aware of the fact, I’m odd. I tried for a time to blend in, but that didn’t work so well for me. Actually, it was impossible! Living in covenant with our Creator and following Messiah, we are called to be set apart, so I’m truly grateful I didn’t have to “unlearn” mainstream blending. What I did need to learn and still have a lot to learn about, is love. I didn’t associate love with good feelings or warm fuzzies. I associated it with fear. My parents weren’t the type to say, “I love you.” Once in awhile Daddy, when I’d disappointed him or asked for something, would ask me, “Don’t you know we love you?” I simply didn’t understand the question. Since I feared my parents greatly, I associated his question with the way I “felt” at home and decided quite early, love was a strange tightness in my chest and a heaviness in my stomach. This is what I associated with the word, “love.”
I also soon learned that “loyalty” was valued above love in our family. Loyalty meant secrecy. That was programmed quite deeply, but then loyalty took on another dimension that was also programmed, yet unspoken. There were plenty of instructions about not telling what went on in the privacy of our home, but the other dimension was implied and inferred and accepted by trial and error. I knew I didn’t like it, but I couldn’t identify it. Daddy worked hard and worked a lot. He was young and energetic, but his energy seemed anger driven, it still does. Since he was gone a lot working, I spent a great portion of my early years trying to cope with my mother. He did not like to come home after working so hard, to an upset wife. I could not understand that woman, still don’t, and I don’t identify with her. I love her, but it’s not by her definition. I don’t think this is the case for my Daddy, but my mother’s definition of love and loyalty is; disliking the same people. The definition of love that is now looming over the fourth generation, is that of carrying the grudge of the matriarch.
Although I knew it subliminally, it wasn’t spoken directly. She compared me to people she didn’t like and couldn’t understand why I’d want to be like them. I don’t remember “wanting” to be like anyone. I just wanted to be invisible! It wasn’t until my sister’s trial that I realized how intensely my family demanded loyalty. As a matter of fact, I wrote to my sister’s attorney trying to explain my sister’s strange thinking and to please change the defense strategy. My mother still has a copy of that letter and sternly told my daughter, “they still haven’t decided what they are going to do about it.” My sister’s trial took place in 2006. The defense strategy didn’t change and my sister was released about a year ago.
It wasn’t until I was unfriended on Facebook, by my daughter, granddaughter, and my niece that I realized what I’d not been able to verbally identify before. In my determination to not raise my children the way I was raised, I loved them the best way I knew how. To show love, I protect, I cook, and I give time . . . still learning. I’ve got a great combo example on that shortly, but that’s how I loved them and there was no loyalty required, because we weren’t living a secret life behind closed doors and except for family, I got along with most people most of the time. So my daughter wasn’t taught that loyalty was love. As a matter of fact, she doesn’t display any loyalty, but she does expect it. Now, back to my recent understanding of love.
My niece, whom I haven’t seen since 1995 has the family loyalty connection. She’s carrying her mother’s grudge and her grandmother’s grudge, against me. In dealing with my daughter, I’ve felt like a complete failure, but now I realize, I didn’t pass that strange requirement of “love means you carry my grudge” and so I am thankful for that. I didn’t have a grudge to give her, I thought the family was right in feeling the way they did about me. The strange thing, however; is she has instilled that in at least one of her children. I truly felt compassion for my granddaughter as she painstakingly typed offensive messages to me, in defense of her mother, and I simply realized, I can’t do it another generation! I worked too hard to break that crazy chain to have it come back in full force, now. Since she’s a teenager and even though none of the rest of the generations have outgrown it, I hope and pray that she will. Her life has been prayed over all of her days. I have faith that will make the difference.
Even since my healing and although I’m learning more about love every day. I continue to demonstrate my love through time, protection and cooking. My grandchildren have all shared their memory of one example, in particular. In the early days of homesteading I had a mean rooster. He wasn’t mean to adults, but when the kids came to visit, he went after my grandchildren with a frenzied flogging. I took the time and made the time to deal with him! One mean rooster for dinner . . . protection and cooking.