Then there is writing…

I enjoyed writing one of my last posts on writing. I have another thought about writing so I am writing about writing again. Whew…that was a lot of “writing’s.”

I tend to be more of a protagonist but I have this annoyingly overwhelming part of me that is very antagonistic.  In an almost sick kind of way I like being the antagonist. I remember learning about the characters of writing in a Literature of the Bible class in college. It was at the University of Maryland, although I wasn’t in Maryland, I was in Okinawa, Japan. I like the way this writer explains the roles of an antagonist and protagonist. Basically, I am just saying that my personality which is both fighter and peacemaker is what I want to express in my writing and I liken it to the antagonist and protagonist roles in literature.

Side bar: There is something to be said about the richness of University coursework as compared to a community college. Not only am I speaking as a student who attended both but I currently work in an advising capacity at the local community college and appreciate the work we do.  I remember it was the first writing class that I really learned about the elements of literature. Adding this sidebar is one thing I remember learning. And even though its not exactly fitting in this type of writing, I am still doing it anyway; why, because I am a rule breaker and an antagonist.

I don’t like reading all writing, there is a part of me that appreciates all writing because I think I am writer. But in effort to not offend I will refrain from expressing what writing I don’t like.

Let’s just say, I think writing should be real and raw, I think non-fiction writing should stir up and draw out the reader. It should resonate in the soul of the reader. We don’t always have to relate to the experience of the writer but good non-fiction writing should serve as a reminder that all man kind has the same struggles. Most “devotionals” I read don’t do that, they share their struggle superficially and all spiritually (yes that was antagonistic), ask a series of surface level questions in an attempt for you the reader to summarize what you read but not quite reach your heart – their isn’t this soulish exchange through summarizing, it doesn’t address the heart’s cry!

I feel frustrated about the amount of written work on parenting, marriage, friendship, etc., and yet we are still screwed up. We put so much emphasis on obedience and “spirituality” and forget relationship. We  can spend so much time on doctrine and theology that we forget the simplicity of love and the realness of pain. We miss all the barriers, wrong thinking, familiar patterns we learned in our childhood, that we are not free rather we walk around with this heavy yoke around our necks making Christianity look like drudgery!

At first, I spent a lot of time blaming “the church” and I still do because I believe its still the stumbling block to many coming to Christ. But I also see that it has more to do with the weight, or expectation that I put on people since “they have been Christians for blank amount of years” or because they are the “Pastor.” When I remove that expectation from the equation I am left with nothing more than another human just like me with different gifts, strengths and struggles.

Writing is risky especially when you speak of those you care about! As Yancy said of Buechner, at some point its about you writing from your perspective, rather than writing to tell someone else’s story. In this post, I am referencing other areas not exactly related to family secrets as Buechner we referencing but its still the same concept, my Pastor might read this and feel uncomfortable because my perspective involves him indirectly, just like my Mom read my story about her recommending I get an abortion.

My writing brings out or should I say let’s me freely be the protagonist and antagonist in my perspective of life. While the war within is real; I don’t want to offend, I want peace. Part of me wants to be quiet and careful, but I want to write. I do hope to encourage someone out there to be real about what they see, believe or feel – the good, bad and ugly! Writing to me is the place where the writer and reader connect on a soul level and share something common.

Part II: My Story

I decided to write Part 2 of My Story. Where I come from is related to where I am today – for better or for worse. What I am discovering in my adult life would have been helpful to know in my 20’s. I am sure on some level we can all relate. It certainly would have helped me work through the unresolved fact that I had black hair and my sister did not. I am not so caught up on this any longer but early on, I couldn’t help but notice!

The paradigm of it all though troubles me on occasion. I was adopted by my step-father when I was about 2. At the age of 15, I gave birth to Mary to be adopted. Then I became the proverbial blended family where my ex-husband was a step-father to my son, Xaviar, and I was a step-mother to his children. While neither of us adopted either of our step-children, we have experienced and continue to experience the world of step-parenting. I say that soberly and with great tenderness because clearly divorce hurts and mostly the children involved.

I called this Part 2 for two reasons: 1. Being a step-family made up the last 17 years of my life and; 2. It was an ever present area of conflict (purposeful smile). Conflict not so much in the way of it being negative as the word denotes rather in a stretching-of-the-soul kind of way which doesn’t exactly feel positive either.

Sibling funBecoming a step family was a process, hence the word: becoming.  I imagine, as with any hard place in life there are good memories but not without cost.

Approximately one- third of all weddings in America today form a step-family. What makes this so challenging is no step-family looks the same. I have found common experiences among other step-families but overall there is no one size fits all.  To make matters worse, the findings add that one third of Americans who got divorced were doing so for the second time – and I understand this all too well however my goal is to stay married.

Setting the stage for what feels like an insurmountable struggle up a steep cliff I have hope. I may not have been able to say this a week ago and it pains me to know I am far from the top, but I am still climbing. Most of the struggle comes from the conflict over feeling that my step children are intruders to my traditional family within our blended family. Meaning for the first time in my life, my family consists of my husband and me and our three biological children. My son no longer lives at home either. Though when he did it was different because he is an adult, with his own life, plans, etc. (like that of a room-mate). My husbands children have never lived with us so they are not part of our daily lives.

cliff-photo

A few simple things have helped me from falling off the cliff, perhaps you may find one helpful:

Remembering we are not each others enemies – we each have feelings, viewpoints, and experiences. I’ve had many an argument with myself regarding this because everyone feels like the enemy quite frankly.

Being honest. Somewhere along the way, I decided that most often it was safer to not be (of course there is something to be said here). Despite what I think the response will be as a result of my honesty, I do well to be real and honest. I am the only one that can share what I am thinking or how I view what is happening to me or around me.

Although to balance honesty, there are times to be quiet. I always think of when God told Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah, we are told that she held all these things in her heart and pondered them! Along with several other verses in the Bible that speak about the right timing of your words.

When I think about where I come from and the struggles against me it gives me perspective on how to handle today. Furthermore, the obstacles we each faced walking into our second marriages challenges me. And yet, I find courage in that. I know that God can work through the poor decisions of others that have hurt me and those decisions I’ve made that hurt others – past and present. I also know that I will continue learning how to support my husband’s relationships with his children and becoming a blended family. I am certain of Gods promises to change my ashes into beauty.