Friday, March 20, 2009

loved and chosen

while we were on vacation, my 22 year old nephew and my sil (his mother) had an argument. to be honest, they had a couple of arguments. the first one, i told him i thought that was enough, he'd made his point, and did he think he could stop himself. no, he didn't ask me if i thought it was enough, but i figure if i have to hear him tear his mom down for awhile, then he can hear my unsolicited opinion on it. i mean, it is family vacation after all, and, well, that's part of it... i don't like to hear unsolicited opinions, so i don't attack folks in crowded rooms. i mostly only ever attack my spouse and i save that for private moments...makes it more special. but i digress....

the second argument they shared with everyone...hehe...i'm being a little jerky here, but i love these people dearly, so it's not as awful as it sounds. anyway, the second argument they had that we got drawn into by being there, i realized how hard it is for my nephew to be with this whole insecure he feels, how judged, how less than everyone else, how other. and as an adult, well, as an older adult, i know he chooses some of this, alienates himself, whatever. but that mattered to me less than how he felt. so i told him that i was proud of him for coming on vacation with everyone...for choosing to come. and that's all i said.

apparently, my sil heard me. and today, she wanted me to know that her the-rapist told her he was proud of her for letting her son, my nephew, go with them on vacation. that her son doesn't always make good decisions and has made life difficult for them, so the-rapist was applauding them for letting him come. she compared that to me telling my nephew i was proud of him for coming. i told her i was glad her the-rapist told her that and left it there.

later, i felt kind of pissy about it. i wasn't making a negative comment about her when i told my nephew i was proud of him for coming. i was supporting him. and she has a the-rapist to tell her "good job" when she needs to hear it. now, granted, my nephew wouldn't go to therapy even if you offered him money, but i think it's okay for him to hear "good job" once and awhile...even if he does still make mostly crappy decisions...which i don't know that he does or doesn't...just if. (see how good i am at playing defense in my own mind?)

then i picked up anne lamott and read through the quotes i've underlined lately...and here's a passage from an essay called wailing takes place in her sunday school class with three to six year olds...

Next, as always, we did Loved and Chosen.

I sat on the couch and glanced slowly around in a goofy, menacing way, and then said, "Is anyone here wearing a blue sweatshirt with Pokemon on it?" The four-year old looked down at his chest, astonished to discover that he matched this description--like, What are the odds? He raised his hand. "Come over here on the couch, " I said. "You are so loved, and so chosen." He clutched at himself like a beauty pageant finalist. Then I asked if anyone that day was wearing green socks with brown shoes, a Giants cap, an argyle vest. Each of them turned out to be loved and chosen, which does not happen so often. Even Neshama--Anyone in red shoes today?--leapt toward the couch with relief.

My Jesuit friend Tom once told me that this is a good exercise because in truth, everyone is loved and chosen, even Dick Cheney, even Saddam Hussein. That God loves them, because God loves.

"This--more than anything else--does not make sense to me," I said.

"Because you are a little angry," Tom explained. "But when people die, they are forgiven and welcomed home. Then God will help them figure out how to clean up the disgusting messes they have made. God has skills and ideas on how to do this."

i don't know about having to die to be forgiven and welcomed, but the rest of it made me smile and feel all warm inside...i am happy to know the tiny aerobics instructor is loved and chosen (my sil)...and the tall, dark headed guy who always wears suspenders is loved and chosen too...and i'm hoping the plain blonde who thinks too much and gets overly defensive in her head is loved and chosen, too...and everyone else.

so my kids are outside playing in the blow up pool from two summers ago. it's kind of deflate-y, but they're still having a great time. ahhh, i just heard the bathroom door shut, so i believe there are probably some grassy kids climbing into my tub to warm up and clean up...spring is here. it just springs hot enough in texas to play in the water. happy days!


1 comment:

*Jess* said...

I know it wouldn't cure everything, but it sounds like your nephew needs more kind words and support to reinforce his making GOOD decisions.