arts, movies, music, pop culture · family · parenting

honesty is the last thing we need

shame

I read this heartbreaking post from a dad who is expecting twins. I related to it. Not that long ago, I found out I was having a kid. My husband joked that he always wanted twins. I told him to bite his tongue. The idea of having just one at a time was enough to paralyze me at times, I couldn’t even imagine the prospect of two at a time. And in my mind, anyone who has no anxiety at all about becoming a parent is an idiot with their heads in the sand and probably watched too much Brady Brunch as kids.

And then I made the mistake of reading the comments after the post. When will I ever learn to NOT READ COMMENTS ON A PUBLIC FORUM??? Grrr. It’s no wonder the dad wanted to be anonymous. Within seconds he would be getting hate email, someone would torch his front lawn, people would send him pictures of abortions or somesuch. I don’t blame him a bit for shielding himself.

And why? Because he was being honest. 100% unfiltered honesty. He admitted his struggle. He admitted how shameful they felt about struggling. He spoke out about the constant struggle between being a parent and being selfish and wanting a normal life back. And we want to crucify him.

Why exactly? I have to ask the question. Yes, this couple needs help. But show me a couple who does NOT need help. Yes, this father will make terrible self-centered decisions and take his frustrations out at the wrong time on the wrong people. Again, show me a father who does NOT ever do that. Tell me how you didn’t worry at all about making ends meet. Explain how you were never woken up in the middle of the night panicking that something is terribly wrong. Give me stories of how you never gave in to the despair or the overwhelming fear or the bitterness and anxiety. And then I’ll tell you to stop lying to me.

It’s no wonder people aren’t honest with each other. Vulnerability gets you beat up, if not physically, at the very least emotionally. How many friends could I tell that I struggle with watching porn? What? What’s wrong with you? How could you? You’re a woman. That’s gross. Good girls don’t do that. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Or how many people do you know tell you that they are attracted to the same sex? Ugh. That’s unnatural. You’re sinning against God. You need to stop being gross. You should be ashamed of yourself.

I could go on and on with real world examples, real God’s honest truth of what goes on in our souls. Child pornography. Hating the elderly. Being frustrated by the developmentally disabled bag girl at the grocery store. Wishing your spouse would shut up or die first. I don’t even know what’s on your list of horrific honest truths in your life. Because even you won’t admit to them.

So how do we think we will ever get any where if no one comes clean? If we all collectively hide ourselves and never talk about the real stuff – the real crap of life which plagues us in the darkest of nights? It’s like sitting in an Al-Anon meeting and no one ever talks, and worse, no one ever comes.

I found this man courageous. I only wish I knew his name so I could give him a hug, tell him he’s not alone and he isn’t the first, nor the last, to be this frustrated and upset. And then I would say, but don’t stop there. Get help. Talk to people who care. Seek out the ones who won’t throw the shame card at you every chance they get, the people who will help, not with advice or lists or ten easy ways to do what you need to do, but the ones who will volunteer to pick up a kid for a few hours, or pick up a few things at the store for you on their way home, which incidentally is no where near your home, and drop them off so you can get a nap. Find the people who won’t ridicule you, who won’t shake their finger in your face, namely, the ones who cannot and will not throw any stones.

It isn’t easy. Life really can suck. We are at constant odds with doing what we want and doing what we have to. It can be a joy and it can be a hardship. Sometimes simultaneously. But we dig deep, we remember how much we have been blessed and loved – what we have been given, in family, in a beautiful spouse, in parents and in laws, in a church family, in neighbors, in our kids – and we thank God for not giving up on us when He easily could have a million times over.

And years from now, when your kids are packing up for college, you, and they, will be grateful that you always kept it real. That you were honest and repentant. That you called a spade a spade and you talked about all of life, the good and bad, that you struggled and fought and wept and failed. But then you triumphed and you got through. But more than just merely getting by, you learned to love others better and that you were never alone.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

– from Ecclesiastes 4

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