Yesterday I posted a piece called Unhappy? Reject Your Parents. As I understood beforehand would happen, a lot of people assumed I'd written that piece as a sort of knee-jerk, negative response to my father's recent visit, about which, in Connecting Flights, I'd written the day before. As I also anticipated would happen, a lot of Christians immediately accused me of being a bad Christian.
Sigh. If there's one thing of which this world will apparently never be short , it's Christians telling other Christians they're bad Christians.
Anyway, let me be clear on the two reasons I posted a piece about the importance of taking a long, hard, objective look at the phenomenon of one's relationship with one's parents. First, I didn't want to leave the impression with anyone who might not need to hear it (especially with Mother's Day just passed, and Father's Day coming) that I'm yet another of the endless stream of people who are forever wanting everyone to believe they're happy, wonderful, wise people enjoying happy, wonderful relationships with their happy, wonderful parents. I'm sure there are people like that out in the world -- according to every magazine I've ever read, all celebrities are infinitely delightful, infinitely wise, and infinitely well balanced -- but I personally have never met one.
As it happens, I have put together a good relationship with my father -- but that's what we have now, after 30 years of not seeing one another. The cost of my now having a good relationship with my dad was profound. So I wanted to talk about that a little -- and of course especially about the Big Lesson the process of paying that cost taught me -- just in case doing so might prove helpful to anyone struggling to resolve their own relationship with one or both of their own parents.
Secondly -- and much more importantly -- my Big Theory in Life is that everything that stands between a person and God needs to go. I think humans have one purpose: to do every last thing they can to clean out their minds, souls, and hearts, so that they can then be filled with as much Christ-consciousness as it's possible for them to be filled with. We need, in a very real sense, to separate ourselves from our parents. We need to separate ourselves from our siblings. We need to separate ourselves from our spouses, our children, our possessions, our jobs. And by "separate," all I mean is Understand Our True Relationship With.
Clarity, clarity, clarity. Nothing else matters. What we leave jumbled, God can't get through. Being Christian doesn't make you happy. Learning to take out your own personal garbage so that God can get to you is what makes you happy. Learning to quiet the internal static we all live with so that can finally hear God is what makes us happy. And the only way to do that is to psychologically and emotionally break with everything that's causing that static, with everything that's in effect standing between ourselves and our clear communication with God. And I don't mean "break," as in leave, but rather as in, "Establish Clear and Healthy Autonomy From."
For most people, the Biggest Block standing between themselves and a clear understanding of their true identity -- the healthy, God-given identity that I believe God is waiting for them to recapture and revel in -- is good ol' Mom and Dad. So I went there first. That's all.
(If you'd like, see what I wrote on Father's Day last year, which was, Father's Day: It's Not For Everyone.)