As I continue to share my five-years-later view, I hope you’ll broaden your perspective as you read. This post isn’t about a specific situation or comment. It’s about the assumptions we make, respond to, expect, and ignore.
How could you not have a relationships with your daughters’ dad? That wasn’t my choice. I did what I could to extend grace, be patient, invite conversation and counseling, allow a safe space to deal with issues, and so on. The intensely harmful early weeks and confirming months (now years) that followed exposed an unhealthy situation to me. And I deeply grieved not only the relationship but the opportunity to find a path that put together some of the fractured pieces.
Anyone who knows me well knows I don’t give up easily, yet I do my best to be healthy through the process. I worked hard, not in my own strength and wisdom but with God. Hearing such questions feels like an accusation filled with doubt and lack of confidence and familiarity.
Do you ever wonder if your willingness to share the journey stunts your ability to move on? Because I try to filter all my writing and speaking through God’s wisdom and discernment, I trust him to guide me to share with health, not simply as I move through this journey but in any area of my life. I share to encourage and help. I am in no way without fault, and I’m sure I share with weaknesses. I want to share with authenticity. I want to share in ways that build up others.
Believe me, I understand and have experienced many people who seem stuck in a traumatic moment of their lives. I have encouraged many to try slight adjustments in their perspective to help them inch away from the quagmire. But I also know their journey through guilt, doubt, hurt, and so on, is not mine to schedule or control.
Do you still care/love/feel connected to/burdened by/responsible for (you get the idea) him even though he’s not in your life? Why is this even a question? Except for a few people close to me who have asked me something similar to gauge my processing and growth, this type of question is rarely helpful. It’s more of a fishing expedition. The person who asks has their own concept of what care, love, connection, etc., looks like. If the answer is no, I appear cold. If the answer is yes, I either appear unrealistic or am judged because the inquirer’s expectations and what they see in me doesn’t match.
Reminder: this post is less about the specific questions and comments and more about the assumptions we make about our own lives and others’. I realize some people will hastily respond, “What difference does it make what other people ask and think? You do you.” But we need to listen and learn. We don’t need to own it all, but if we don’t listen and learn to wisely discern and respectfully respond, we won’t grow in our authenticity and interactions. How we approach others and how we receive others reveals and cultivates us.
In what direction will you lean today?