Monday, August 30, 2004


There are some mistakes that we make in life that are so profound in their consequences, they are like ripples from a pebble tossed in a stream that go on and on and on until death. You never know or can expect what permutation they might take. You may even get to the point where you think you've got it beat, you've slipped through the cracks - the pain can't find you anymore, you're free. And then, like a kick in the gut, one of those ripples comes back, more like a giant tsunami, to engulf you again.

That's an easy paragraph to write. You read it and you think, "yes, I suppose that's true," or "I hope I never do anything like that." But dive down into the sentence. Take each word in context and meditate on how it might actually feel to be a person who has brought this kind of punishment down on themselves. They can read this, but when they look away, the burden is still on their backs, the anguish still everpresent.

I have a family member that has suffered from this tragedy. And it involves children. If it only involves self, sometimes the disaster can be managed, even if it kills us, we can absorb it.

And it's a double tragedy because it involves that most famous and most ambigous of phrases, a "dysfunctional family." On a disfunction-o-meter, that can go from a rather comfortable 1 or 2 up to a mind blowing, suicide inducing 8 to 10. Where is our family? Somewhere on the meter around 6 or 7 perhaps, but to my relative, it is a solid 10. Having grown up with hatred - hatred toward a child!! - trying to negotiate the field of landmines that was their childhood, they were behind the 8 ball of life right from the start. Anguish from birth, mistake after mistake as an adult.......and now, in middle age, looking back over that panorama looks like Flanders Field. And the payment for the crime of these errors never ends.

I cannot tell you how much sadness I feel for this person, how much empathy. Let me tell you - any of you out there that think you have this life by the horns and you would NEVER do this or that......there but for the grace of God go ALL of us. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Period. And, if in our youth, in our disfunctional, confusing youth, trying to solve an unsolveable problem even then - if we make that decision, the one that we cannot ever guess the price we will pay.....then God have mercy on us. He is the Only One Who will.


Blogger Some Cranky Guy said...

Everyone makes mistakes, some far greater than others. Often, it is a viscious cycle. Passed down from generation to generation, until one person stops it, breaks the chain. And accepts the grace of God, the peace of God. Learns to forgive others, forgive themselves, and know that the creator of the universe has already forgiven them.

8:47 AM  

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