I would like to follow up on a post I wrote earlier this year about being a child of an alcoholic. I wrote then about seeking transformation – shining a light on old wounds and allowing them to be healed. I am happy to report that I am making progress. It’s not quite the instant transformation I was hoping for, but a slow and intentional one.
I began meeting with a counselor in the summer. At first it was really awkward and difficult. Who wants to dredge stuff up again with a stranger? And I also worried that I was being self-indulgent. Things weren’t that bad. I can handle it on my own. It’s self-centred to be so focused on myself and my struggles.
But the more I think about it, and the more I see the counselor, the more I recognize how necessary it is. It’s necessary for my discernment, and frankly, necessary to live happily and healthily. I find it hard to put into words eloquently (I’m reduced to a cavewoman-like “Be me better: love more.”). Luckily, Anthony De Mello, SJ says it for me (again, taken from Seek God Everywhere):
…the child needs to receive love. That is what is happening to us, since so many of us are still children. We need to look after the child in us; we need to give ourselves the love we have been deprived of for so many years. Unless we realize that, we will jump into love with others in a forced and strained way. If I sacrifice myself for others, that is the most pernicious thing I can do because there is a subtle pride in that; there is a kind of resentment. I am not a cheerful giver. I am tinged with guilt, with an ideal. In reality, I do not love you, I love the ideal. When our needs are met and we have grown, the tree bears fruit. Love comes spontaneously, we do not produce it. George Soares said to us once: “The New Testament is against good works. Christ did not say, ‘I am sending you out to do good works,’ but said, ‘I am sending you out to bear fruit.’”
I am beginning to bear fruit – at this point I feel like a small wizened Rudolph crabapple, but in time I will be majestic.
Also, I’m learning that it’s important to balance the serious with the light so here’s a video of Stephen Colbert living out my dream! Doing the whistle solo on Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard!!!