This is going to be a "religious" post. I know some folks don't share my beliefs, you can skip this if you want.
I've been trying to reach Sis #2 for several weeks by phone. She won't answer the phone, she makes her kids do it & tell whoever, "She's not available." They're not screening the calls, they don't know who is calling, they just state, over & over, "She's not available."
My sis is having a hard time. She had been married many years & has 6 children (the oldest now married). She is doing homeschooling with her kids (the younger 4, the oldest at home is in college), in the middle of a divorce, not receiving money with which to feed her children, & has recently moved to KY from Ft. Lauderdale. Life isn't easy for her & she tries to reduce stress wherever she can.
We've never had much of a connection. We are very different & often were quite irritated with one another when growing up. She decided to believe that our family was "the best family in the world" & when i moved away & honestly recognized how unhealthy our family actually was, in her eyes i became a really bad guy. Our relationship hasn't grown much since then. When my first husband & i divorced she was very critical & said many ugly things. She was also condescending, patronizing, & very much "holier than thou."
She has changed. She is a bit more able to express empathy. She is less patronizing & has dropped the "holier than thou" stuff - & did several years ago. This has not occurred just because of her impending divorce. And yet, somehow, it is still "All About Me" when speaking with her. How sensitive she is, how much she has been hurt, how she "discovered" our family to be unhealthy, how she has changed.
I'm terribly critical, aren't i? But, somehow when she does this, she doesn't "invite" any communication with the person to whom she is speaking. She doesn't recognize that other folks have similar experiences. We grew up in the same unhealthy family but when speaking to her of it the conversation is always about how she was harmed.
Last summer i was quite angry with her over the way things turned out with my parents' anniversary dinner. (I was looking for the post & can't find it. June archives are about that trip.) She insisted on a number of things that then didn't occur or that Sis #3 & i had to do. And, she was under a great amount of stress. I do get that. But i could see that coming months in advance. In February i was telling her, "Please don't do this. Please don't plan this way. You will be in the middle of moving. Your oldest daughter is getting married. You will have too much on your plate already & will be too stressed out." But she insisted & then she was too stressed out to carry out any of the things she'd committed to do. And we came very close to having arguments a couple of times.
But time has passed. I don't think Sis #2 has any idea that i feel she was inappropriate or how very irritated i was with her. What's more, i don't think she'd care. That is simply the way things are.
Anyway, i've been trying for weeks to reach her. And i've honestly been angry that i can't reach her. I had begun calling ever day just to see how many days in a row i'd be told "She's unavailable." (Four - i did reach her on the fifth day.)
I saw a picture my nephew posted on Facebook & somehow it hit home for me what a huge change those children have been thru. They used to live in a neighborhood with a lot of other kids, in town, it was easy to do activities. Now they live in a rual area with no other children nearby & neighbors - well from where they live they can see 3 other houses.
Ok, i'm getting tired of this post & tired of me !
The up & down & point is that i'm realizing that i need to change in a way i cannot implement myself.
I've a dear friend, G, he's been my dear friend since college. If anyone gives him a compliment his standard response is, "It's not me, it's God." That used to irrited me to no end ! Couldn't he see that if he did something nice that it was his choice to do that? It reeked of a false humility to me. My friend is deeply sincere, but i didn't like his statement & had trouble accepting sincerity in it.
I understand a little better now. I've done a lot of training in massage. Many hours, many classes. I'm quite good at what i do & find a sincere interest in helping folks manage pain. I find it a challenge & love doing it. But I don't fix anyone. God has made our bodies to heal, & i can help the person be in a better position to allow that healing to occur. I feel sincerely humbled when folks thank me for the work (or even if they don't but they tell me how much improvement they experience). It is not me. It is God & the natural progression of the world he made.
And, yesterday in church (i often attend a Wednesday noon service) it just became clear to me how much i need to change. I have some empathy for my sister & her situation, but i can feel that i'm sadly short in the area of love. I thought of several other issues in my life as well - not having children & better managing disability among others - where i need a serious life & attitude change, & i know that i cannot do that. And so, if it occurs, i know it will not be me, it will be God.
I think my friend G is similar. I know some of his past history & especially how much he struggled with uncontrolled anger. Now, i still won't discount his own choices because i don't believe God "fixes" things for us, especially if we don't have the desire for change. But i think i catch a small glimmer of what G means when he says "It's not me, it's God."
(Tho i'll admit, i still struggle with that phrase. It sounds so pious & falsely humble.)