23 February 2011

Expectations and other Disappointments

My oldest girl is turning 30 in a few days. I don't know where she is or what she would like to do to celebrate. I thought we would be past that stage by now and we're not. There are some expectations I had when I agreed to raise two of my sister's children that have been met and some that have not. I expected it to be very difficult on them to be separated from their other siblings. I would have raised all 5 kids if it had been up to me, but it was not. I knew how that would make them feel disconnected and disposable, because I wasn't raised with any of my siblings either. I always felt left out and unimportant. I knew that they would be confused by the differences in their former lifestyle and the new one I would impose. I worked for law enforcement and went to church each week. That's not something they were exposed to before coming to live with me. I knew that I had not been given shiny examples of loving parenting and would fall short of their true needs for love, patience and acceptance. I knew I was completely out of my element. Still, I didn't expect it to be as difficult as it was. I had unrealistic expectations that because I was agreeing to be their parent for the rest of my life that eventually they would like the idea. I also expected that God would make it easy for us. And while He blessed us in more ways that I can recount to you in this blog, none of the expected easiness has happened. Expecting anything outside of God remaining true to His character is nothing more than premeditated disappointment. I tell people that all the time. You would think I would have that part down.

I remember when I was growing up we all said never trust anyone over 30. My parents had a decade between them but were still part of what we are calling the "Great Generation." I came on the heels of the "Baby Boomers." I remember hearing my grandparents and parents lamenting about the craziness that was occurring in the world. Crazy is an apt description for growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 60s/70s. Oh the stories I could tell.....

For whatever reason I was able to connect the dots at a pretty young age regarding rebellion. My grandfather had a limp for most of his life because of a motorcycle accident he had in the 20s. He lost all his hair except for a ring around the perimeter of his head as a result of the anesthetic, or so I was told. He could scarcely believe the Beatniks and didn't like them any more when they morphed into Hippies. My grandfather had a temper that got the best of him at times. He built his house with his own hands and raised four kids that weren't his; my mom, step-mom and aunties. I wonder if his parents wondered about him when he left Sierra City to make his way in San Francisco? I am sure they weren't pleased with his drinking and wild living. Nor could they have been too pleased about him taking up with a divorced woman who had 4 little ones. He provided for them but didn't marry my grandmother until her last child had left the house. He didn't want to be in the way in case their father ever decided to come back and do the right thing. I admire that.

My young adult years were wild and crazy by the standards of some. I am not proud of all of the things I have done. But somewhere in my childhood from hell, which I won't elaborate on here today, and my rebellious young adult years, God grabbed me up and changed my heart. I know my parents and step-parents worried about me. They also got confused when I did a 180 in my lifestyle....but I know they talked about me and wondered what young people like me had come to. Now here I am feeling sad that I don't know what my oldest has come to.

The trouble with parents and adults through the ages is that we talk about the generation coming up behind us as if we are divorced of having any responsibility for the way they turned out. I have to take some responsibility for not teaching the girls to work hard at relationships because I am not very good at them. I can give you at least 20 legitimate reasons I fail at relationships and one good reason that I shouldn't let that stop me from trying. God didn't create me in a vacuum nor did He tell me I get to live without others. In fact His word is full of directives on how I should relate to others. God commands me to be in relationships.

God's command trumps my preferences. Every time.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.
10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm {alone?}
12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three {strands} is not quickly torn apart.

1 Corinthians 12:18-21
18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.
19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now there are many members, but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."

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