I have finally learned something, finally settling on a a way to handle a long-festering hurt, and I would say it has given me a measure of peace, and for that, I am thankful to God.
Ever since having left my ex 21 years ago (to the date tomorrow!), my two children who I took with me–but who didn’t want to live with me, have been ‘standoff-ish’. Imagine that. Formerly close, formerly my life, consuming nearly all thoughts and plans of every day, they are distant in more than just miles. I did what I could; I would drive the 700 miles to see them when employment and transportation allowed (but not often), call them weekly, write to them, send them gifts for birthdays and Christmas, but the long days with their father who had no good words for me, I think, did the trick on their minds.
For 21 years now, I have been looking and trying for what I used to have with them. It has been difficult and frustrating most of the time, and heart breaking many times, but still, I persevere. On one end of the spectrum, I have suffered so many instances of out-right verbal abuse, and on the opposite end, seeming indifference. The examples are many and varied and too long to list; if you wish, give me a call and I’ll fill you in. ;) Life goes on.
Just a couple of months ago, I saw my children (and grandchildren) for a short weekend. All in all, a good and adequate visit. My son, now 35, and daughter, now 38, were mostly polite and considerate, albeit not super affectionate (son as a rule was more affectionate than daughter, whom I would tell my lawyer, was the ‘surrogate wife’).
During this visit, there was an instance with son when for a few moments, I felt that I had been transported back in time to those first few months after leaving when the court had prohibited me from entering my former home. Orders like that were for crazed and difficult people–not me, but there it was. This time around, I expressed to son a desire to visit the house (where he still resides with his father) so I could see his dog which he dearly loves. He bluntly said, “Mom, I don’t want to be rude, but you’re not allowed in the house.” He went on to say that was his father’s rule and he (son) didn’t want to deal with any fallout. For a few seconds I was shocked, but then in a way, amused. Seriously, over 20 years ago? Still hating me and holding on to a grudge for over 20 years? Especially when he was the key to how the marriage could have been saved? It seemed that the King had spoken and his loyal subjects were still bowing to his desires… I held my tongue, it wouldn’t have done any good to start an argument. I said that was fine. Surely, there are other places for son and I to meet up and visit–and we did the next day and made a good memory.
For years I’ve claimed this verse, “Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust.” Joel 2:25. The ‘locust’ have eaten, stripped, and gnawed away at many things these past 21 years, both in my life and my children’s. I have spent many years saddened and agonizing over what I have lost, and wondering why, even though I try so hard to connect, why do my children still not ‘get it’… why don’t they try as hard as I do? But I’ve had an epiphany: all I have to do is love–love them, accept what is, and rest in the hope that God will restore those years. It hasn’t happened for 21 years, and it may not happen soon. It might be years from now, or it might not happen until after I die–but I am trusting in God’s timing because God’s timing is perfect. I am resting in the arms of the One who knows all and sees all. I can trust Him to work things out.
I don’t have to do guilt trips (I don’t think I did before), or point out that I haven’t had a Christmas, New Years, Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving or whatever with them for 21 years (I think I pointed that fact out once–surely I’m allowed that?). I can simply congratulate them on their events and gatherings in their lives, be happy for them, and love them… love them! Love trumps all, you know. You can’t find anything wrong with love. Love stands up to ridicule, accusations and years of festering hate. Love for my children will win out–God’s love, through me to them. I only have to bask in and enjoy it. The locust will be avenged. It will come in perfect time, and I will say, “Oh yes, it has now all fallen into place.”