So much is still unsettled. Setting the rest aside for the moment, my therapist suggested that maybe instead of thinking of my parents as good or bad or both, I should think of them as broken. That is far easier to embrace. It’s not hard to see them as broken. And if someone has a broken leg, you don’t expect them to run a race, even if other people their age and abilities can run.
As I was contemplating all the angles of this while I should have been sleeping, I interjected the concept of being flawed. Everyone is flawed, in so far as to say we are all less than perfect. No one takes a pass on that one. But not everyone is broken, as in a hand thrown pot of clay is not perfectly shaped, and a good many have their share of cracks here and there; but not everyone is impaired by their cracks, leaking what is inside to the outside.
It gets confusing when you think of someone like my parents. Being less than perfect isn’t really the issue nor can it be compared with something that is actually broken. Both of my parents were broken, yet they did try to do a good job of parenting while they also ministered to numerous other broken people. They let me down, but it wasn’t like they didn’t care. They didn’t invite the elephant into the middle of the room. Their limitations prevented them from seeing that it was there.
So in the world there are people who are cracked or broken in addition to being flawed. Some of those people get mad at God or the world or whatever, feel like they got a bum wrap, and are careless or even intentional about harming others. Their life philosophy is,” If I have to be broken I’m going to make sure I’m not the only one.”; and they go about intentionally doing harm to others. My first husband falls into this group.
Then there are other people who are broken and use their brokenness as an excuse to do nothing. Still other broken people let their own brokenness motivate them and instruct them to bring healing and health to other broken people. My parents fall into this category. But there were really big reasons why they just couldn’t acknowledge how broken I was, nor my siblings either.
A new thought occurred to me as I waited for morning to come. Many times my mother said to my older brothers and me, “Don’t get [a girl] pregnant! Your father would have to give up the ministry if you did and that would destroy him.”
Nothing new about that; but the new realization to me was, if that was such a huge deal that could destroy my father, then what would it have done to him/them if they were to acknowledge the incest. It would have been unthinkably worse. They didn’t just intentionally turn their backs on it, as if it didn’t matter. In fact, it mattered too much. So, as one therapist put it, I was sacrificed for the sake of my father’s ministry. That’s oversimplified, and deeply painful; but undoubtedly true.
I’m not sure this is coming out clear. I wouldn’t mind some feedback. I’m still processing these things and I’m at a point right now where I need to stop writing.