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Remembering the basement lights


My sweet dad drove 13 hours to be with us this weekend and spent all morning re-wiring our basement to have workable lights and switches.  Since we have moved into this home, we have walked down pitch-black basement stairs to grope around for a light bulb that we would screw in and out to turn the light on or off.  I got home from work today to find a light switch at the top of the stairs.  Flipping it to the on position gave me immediate light in three different places–along the staircase and spaced evenly in the basement to illuminate all of the cobwebs and musty corners.  Amazing.
Later in the evening, I received a call from my mother.  We have had a long, tumultuous relationship and things were on the up-swing lately.  But tonight…
It was a lot of stuff that was basically pointless and unnecessary.   A group text to me and my sister…out of nowhere.  I didn’t understand where the assault had come from.  It was completely un-provoked.  I got off of the phone and gut-cried.  I screamed.  I was shaking.  I’m not really a crier/screamer/shaker so it left me feeling ragged.  I know that when I feel something so deeply it is typically pointing me to a deeper, older wound that’s not fully healed.  Or as my sister said, “What makes you feel hysterical is most likely historical.”
On the phone, I kept my cool and tried to be gracious.  But I was angry.  Angry because her attack came (as is the typical pattern) in the “name of Jesus.”  She likes to quote Scripture to point out sins.  She told me that I was following a different Jesus, not the true Jesus.  She said I was controlled by demons.  She wanted to talk about abortion and “the gays.”  She wanted to talk about the victories of Trump.  Whatever.
None of that bothered me.  What made me so angry was my deep feeling of vulnerability.  I felt vulnerable.  I don’t like feeling vulnerable.  I felt hopeless.  Defenseless.  Unheard.  Caught off guard.  Pissed.  Just f’n pissed.  Pissed because she wasn’t just hurting me.  I’m the oldest of two sisters and I have never been able to guard and protect them as I hoped/vowed as a child.   Historical wounds.  I’m almost 40-years-old and I still hear my sister sobbing.  In the name of Jesus.  It’s wrong and deeply unjust.
Sigh.  I decided to take a warm shower and crawl into some sweats.  I went down to the basement to pull my pants warm from the dryer and just collapsed into tears.  I cried and cried–before realizing that I was sitting there in the pitch-black darkness.  Out of habit, I had completely forgotten about the light switch and had groped down the crooked stairs–into the damp darkness.  Jesus.  Some habits are hard to break.
I took a breath and reminded myself that things have changed.  I’m no longer the vulnerable, hopeless child.  I have safety, I have choices, I know my truth, I have light.
I could hear my dad and husband cheering on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Cotton Bowl upstairs (Go Bucks!).  My children rummaging around in the cupboards, making popcorn, laughing.  I have created my “Peaceable Kingdom.”  I love my Jesus.  I love my God.  I love my life journey.  I love my mother (sigh…).  I love new lights in the basement.
until soon,
b.

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