As a young child, the truth that my parents abused me was too much for me to handle. In my heart I put that truth inside a big cardboard box and taped it up tight. I covered the box with a blanket of lies. “My parents are great.” “They love me very much.” “I am lucky to have good Christian parents like them.” Part of my heart, my young self got trapped inside, under the cardboard, packing tape, and blanket. That part of me was hurt and angry about being called a liar.
As I became an adult and put physical and symbolic distance between myself and my past I learned to function very well, but from time to time I came to trip over the big old box in my heart that held the truth about my past. “What’s this old thing?” “I thought I threw that out years ago!” “I wonder what I packed away in there?” As the box got old and worn, the truth started to make its way out. The first thing that came out was anger. Big scary gobs of anger that neither the packing tape nor my grown up self could hold down came pushing their way to the surface of my heart. Following the angry trail in patience led me back to the truth about my parents and what had happened to me.
Since then I’ve opened up that box and seen (I think) most of what’s inside it. It’s no happy place. If I linger there too long it’s easy to get stuck. In order to function I’ve set the box of truths aside and gone on with my life. When I do that it’s too easy to fall back into old patterns of denial. When it comes to my parents, especially my mother, I am driven by an overwhelming and barely resistible urge to try and please her. There’s this arrogant part of me who still believes I can make her happy with me if I just give it one more try.
So goes life for me outside the box. Bouncing back and forth between pain and denial. What I need to do, what God wants me to do, is to embrace my past. To love and parent my wounded self. To enclose and protect and incorporate the truth into the grown and capable me.