Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A tropical depression



It's summer in Florida. Hot, humid, oppressive. Summer means hurricane season, too. Many people here in Central Florida are anxious at the thought of it, after the three-time clobbering we got last year. It was traumatic.

Even nervous public officials are praying this year.

The ground is still saturated with last year's water, and we've had higher-than-usual rainfall amounts the past few months. Lakes and water-retention areas are full and overflowing already, and there's nowhere for stormwater to go but up. We'll have massive flooding if we get heavy hurricane rains.

Last year's hurricane season was awful -- unrelenting storms, damp spots on the ceiling, trees down, a hole in the fence, bathing in cold water out of buckets and a sweltering house with no electricity for six days at a time -- and I was luckier than many.

Coming home through a dark neighborhood to a pitch-dark, dank, damp house. Trying sweatily to sleep. Leaving the patio door open and windows open all night and all day, an open invitation to burglars. Better than roasting to death, though.

Not one single member of my family attempted to contact me and check on my wellbeing, except for my late father's cousin's widow, many states away. Bless her.

I have even less sense of family this year. One brother is dead, the other two acting mean (the usual). We all suffered from a lack of love from my mother. It affected us all differently.

I wrote a parody last year that included a character called "Sanctimonius." I later realized that in the character Sanctimonius, I had written about my older brother's rage and jealousy toward me and my gay brother, the one who is dead now. My older brother's anger was buried under the surface for many years, though, where the fictional character's was visible on the surface.

My youngest brother acts like a pompous, judgmental Pharisee. A good right-wing Christian, he looks down on the likes of me.

We were each affected differently by the emotional atmosphere in which we grew up. I felt unlovable, unpretty and that I could do nothing right, because that's the message I got. My brothers picked up on that message, too, and treated me the same way.

Now, my mother's Alzheimers disease is progressing rapidly. She can't keep track of what she's saying, or who's who of the people who are around her every day. There's no way to work on that relationship.

The truth is, I don't want to have a relationship with my brothers any more. I won't put up with being bullied, put down or used any more. It's not as if they want anything to do with me, either.

I can only love them with Christ's love: to know that He sees them as sinners, and loves them anyway, just as He sees me in my sins and failings and loves me anyway. I can't go any further than that at this point, except to ask for healing for each of us.

I feel very alone. I'm grateful for my friends and church family, but I'm alone in a way most of them could never grasp.

Things are crappy and it's hurricane season again. I guess I'm strong enough to deal with it all, but I want healing and wholeness and some sense of security in my life.

I'm asking, God. With all my heart.

7 comments:

RiverStone said...

{{{{{{{{Pat}}}}}}}}

I don't have any good words for you, beyond platitudes, and platitudes are just so lame in the face of real pain. But hugs, I can send. I hope you have someone in your life who can give you real, live hugs, "with the skin on." Virtual hugs are nice, but in-the-flesh hugs are the best.

Take good care of yourself, Pat. You deserve it!

Peace and blessings,
RiverStone

Jim said...

Hey Pat!

I almost posted this comment in the appropriate place (the blogpost right below this one) but decided that you might better receive it as a cheer-you-up comment, instead.

Our mission-now-parish has been sponsoring a boy at El Hogar for several years, and it's great to know what a good job they're doing, from an independent -- and hard working -- observer like you. Our rector was so impressed that she's going to run your post in the bulletin!

Thanks for taking the time and effort to do good work for the kingdom. And here's a tele-hug from all of us at St Nick's for you.

Faithfully,

jim

Saint Pat said...

Thank you both so much for the hugs. I can feel the warmth coming through the eternet (just composed a new word).

It would be easy to slip into a self-pity party and I don't want to do that. It is cathartic to write about some of the awful feelings that come up, though.

Thanks for bearing with me.

Saint Pat said...

Thank you both so much for the hugs. I can feel the warmth coming through the eternet (just composed a new word).

It would be easy to slip into a self-pity party and I don't want to do that. It is cathartic to write about some of the awful feelings that come up, though.

Thanks for bearing with me.

Deacon Tim said...

I just finished reading Rowan Williams' "The Truce of God," the update of his 1981 opus on war, peace, terrorism and faith. One of his points is that Jesus is not a very good peacemaker, what with all the brother and brother and child against father and pick up your cross stuff. My brother, who has spoken to me exactly twice during the past twenty years is a Jehovah's Witness, so I identify with you. As a former Central Floridian, I feel a bit more than the usual kinship with you. The right wing of Christianty bears an eerie similarity to the fringe cults--cutting off even loved ones who dare to break from the party line. Someday, I hope, our brothers will understand their loss. We already know ours. Pax Christi!

alena said...

Cool Blog, I never really thought about it that way.

I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.

Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Be prepared for the next hurricane job katrina or find another one that's similar. As the Boy Scouts say: "Be Prepared"!