Once there was a scorpion who wanted to cross a river. He asked a fox to give him a ride on his back and the fox agreed. When the fox had swum halfway across, the scorpion stung him. The fox asked, “Why did you do that? Now I’ll never make it to the other side. Now we’ll both drown!” The scorpion answered, “I had to do it. I’m a scorpion. It’s my nature.”
I feel like that scorpion. My greatest enemy is my own nature. I was abused as a child. My parents before me were abused as children. Their parents before them were abused as children. I am just a link in a long twisted chain. How far back the chain reaches, only God knows. I am not a perfect parent. I have made mistakes, mistakes which have hurt my girls. But when I look at it honestly, the truth is, I do not abuse my children. I am just a link in a chain, but at least I am the last link.
Other people don’t get it. I’ve heard them talk about child abuse. It just doesn’t make sense, they say. How can someone who was abused as a child and knows how wrong it is grow up to abuse their own children? I think those people are asking the wrong question. The real question is, how can they not? How can people who never learned to love themselves find the power to love their children?
Loving my children is unnatural. It’s like struggling against the weight of history. It’s like fighting against my destiny. I am dangling at the bottom of a chain with an empty void hanging under my feet. The links above me are angry. Misery loves company. What makes you think, they seem to say, what makes you think you’re so much better than we were? It’s a reasonable question. Am I better than they were? No. Am I stronger than they were? Not at all. Do I have more willpower, more determination? In fact, I have decidedly less. And yet here I am, with a heart full of love for my children. I love them enough to die for them. I love them enough to make tough decisions that they don’t always like. I love them enough to learn how to love myself.
Maybe that’s the secret. Maybe when I reach out and grab God’s Grace with both hands – when I smear it all over myself and go back for seconds – that’s when I get it. I get the transforming power that’s made perfect in weakness. You see, I can’t accept God’s Love without admitting that I am lovable. When I accept His Love, I have the power to choose my own destiny. When I accept His Love, I am set free.