2011 was a pivotal year for me. It was the year my earthly Mother transitioned after a long battle with heart disease, and six months later, my daughter Zoe was born - my whole heart in the form of a person. I was not on "good" terms with my mother when she passed away, and I never really dealt with the "why" until this time last year when I realized I had been avoiding what I didn't want to take responsibility for in the relationship, and I couldn't ignore it any longer because I knew that it was in the way of my emotional growth. I had nowhere to go, except within. I knew that everything I was unhappy with at that point was connected to the unresolved relationship with my mother, and I had a decision to make: I could stay stagnant or face my inner opponent.
Relationships are challenging at times because we don't always deal with people and our relationship with them as they really are. We tend to occupy ourselves with the thoughts we create about people (and what they should be doing), we expect things, we base our actions toward them on these thoughts and convince ourselves that their failure to meet our expectations are the cause of the inevitable conflict (people will always fail to meet our expectations because they are people and not our expectations). But the conflict is never with another person, it is always within our own minds. In fact, it is not even a conflict until we say it is, and we still need another person to agree. Otherwise, it's just you passing judgment. But if we can quickly recognize where conflicts begin, we can take responsibility for where they end. Hint: It's the same place. The only opposition is in our resistance to take responsibility for our own peace of mind, and just like lifting weights, we don't grow unless we overcome that resistance.
Blaming is easy
Facing my inner opponent meant taking responsibility in one of my most important relationships. My parents were not perfect, they were people. I'd put too much responsibility on them, I'd made them like gods and then got angry when they did human things. This is why the scriptures advise that we "honor" our mothers and fathers, not make them perfect. Forty years later and I'm finally understanding that.
I had to admit that, while she was here, I didn't want to mend the broken relationship with my mother (I knew how hard I could work for things that I wanted and it occurred to me that I was not applying that same energy there). It was easier to blame her and the way I was raised for all of the hard decisions I'd had to make in my life. I wanted to be "right" and it was better to keep her "wrong" than it was to make a connection, even after we were many years removed from my actual childhood. For most of her years I was a grown man, already successful, voluntarily perpetuating a childhood cycle of hurt in my own mind, and that "child" basically ran ALL of my relationships back then. Taking responsibility for my first relationship also meant taking a deeper look at all of my past relationship patterns, and the way I had behaved with other women. It was a brutal realization. I'd spent so much time in conflict with myself that I didn't even consider that my time with my Mom, here on earth, could be up so soon. That's what blame culture does: it takes up our time.
We forfeit the experience of others just to stay in a relationship with the thoughts we create about them. The blame game. It's a vicious cycle that can only be broken by acceptance and forgiveness, at the seed level. For me, that seed was my relationship with my Mom.
Life is short
It took a long time for me to accept that we won't always have the time to make things "right" with the people we've had differences with. That's just the way we work things out sometimes and it's not always a bad thing, some times things need to be addressed internally without the possibility of input from others, so in the end, you know without a doubt that it was only you and God that got you through. You adapt, learn, and apply the lesson to every place you need to. And sometimes you get blessed to co-produce beautiful daughters to impart the wisdom you received from that part of your journey, and that cycle gets to end with you.
My Mom is my greatest teacher. I listen more in her physical absence, than I ever did when she was "here". If I had the power to, I would've kept her on earth just a little while longer, yet nevertheless "not my will, but THINE be done.."