So, like the title says, I had a meeting with Father today. And gardening yesterday didn't help, and I couldn't even hide the fact that I was shaking! It wasn't like Confession, where I could just go behind a screen, and in this case, it wouldn't have helped, anyway. We were actually in the living area, which was nice. I guess if we had other people here, we couldn't have talked in that room because they would have been around. And Father's got a really nice office and even has kind of a "sitting area" there, too, but it's still an office. I guess you just can't take the office out of the office!
Oh, OK, sorry, I'm delaying. And I'm sorry, this is going to be really long because if I don't write the whole thing I'll get scared and never bring it up again.
So I talked to Father today, and he saw right away that I was shaking so started talking about other things, I guess to put me at ease. It helped a little bit, and he even told me a few stories about growing up - it seems he was really...well you should let him tell you about the helicopter and the tree! And so I told him about the time in high school when we were TP'ing a friend's house at Homecoming, but they let their dog out (a really BIG one!) and we ran to the end of the yard, climbed the fence, and as I fell down the other side, a nail caught my pantleg and split it almost to my hip! And I got cut, too, but didn't care because it really wasn't bad and it gave me an excuse to turn my jeans into shorts! So that's kind of how our conversation went, just trading a few stories about growing up.
It kinda made me feel like I knew Father a lot better, too, more like a friend. (But he's still "Father"!).
So by then I had quit shaking and didn't feel like I was going to cry. I'm not sure how he did it or what he asked me, but suddenly I was telling him about Mom and about my Dad and Step-Dad. I know it was about some good things, like what we did on holidays and stuff like that, family vacations, school events...normal things. And their things I haven't thought about in a long time. But after a little while, he asked me something and I started to freeze up because it made me think of some things that happened when I was little, I try not to think about it.
And he told me that it was OK, nothing I said was going to be upsetting or shocking to him. And for a little while I couldn't speak, so he handed me a kleenex and asked me if I wanted to talk to him a different day? I shook my head because I figured maybe it was time to tell someone, and I had a sense that maybe he'd actually understand. I think he and Mother Frangelico are the first people I've ever met who even CARED! And maybe it was that, more than anything else that made me cry.
So finally I explained that ever since I was really little, I'd been abused. Mom wasn't physical, but she always told me I was dumb, every chance she got. She used to tell people, right in front of me, how long it took me to learn to walk or to be potty-trained, and it was like she did everything she could to make me look like an idiot, even when I was just little and couldn't have known any better! I knew other adults who laughed and kinda teased me, but they weren't mean about it...Mom was always mean. That never changed, just got worse when I got older.
I didn't write this as part of my discernment story, but when I told Mom what I was thinking, I said that she cried and thought I'd just go knock on the convent door and be admitted, but that's not what happned. She ACTUALLY said that even if I went there, they probably wouldn't let me in because I'm too stupid to be a nun, she never wanted me, and so God would never want me, either.
So...um...I lied in my discernment story about what Mom said. She didn't cry, either. She just laughed at me. I was the one crying.
And Father actually DID seem shocked by that! And he told me that God DOES love me, and that He would never reject me, because he sent Jesus to die for me, and that no one would say I was "too stupid" to be a nun! He actually complimented me and said he does think I'm actually pretty smart, Mother had told him the same thing before I even met him. And he actually seemed sincere!
No one has ever told me they thought I was smart. Maybe a smart-aleck but that's it! And so there I was, crying again, because he was being so nice to me!
And then Father asked me about Dad...the first one. I don't remember a lot, only that he and Mom were always fighting, she was always throwing things at him, I remember he used to hit her, and sometimes the stuff she threw hit me and no one noticed. I got hit on the head once with a flowerpot. I think it just "glanced" my head, but it really hurt, and I remember waking up in the hospital, and a nurse was there, but Mom and Dad weren't. The nurse told me to be more careful when helping Mom with the plants so a ficus tree wouldn't fall on me again.
And when Mom and Dad brought me home, they told me that I should go to my room when they were arguing. They made me feel like getting hit with a flowerpot was my fault!
I can't remember much else about that. Dad wasn't around much. I think he hated me, but he never hit me, on purpose, that I can remember. He used to yank and drag me around and he was impatient, but he didn't call me names like Mom did, not that I could hear. And I think he's the one who took me to the hospital when Mom threw the flowerpot at him, the one that hit me instead. But other than that, other than him yelling at Mom and hitting her, I can't remember much.
They got divorced, because he met "someone else", and I didn't know what that meant, but whatever it was, it made Mom angrier than ever, but I was just little so I couldn't stay away from her. And my older brother was little too.
So then after awhile Mom got remarried. By then I was older...by several years. He was just like her. He was big, and rough, and drank a lot. They both did, Mom really got into that after they met. And he made fun of me right along with Mom. They picked on my brother, too. He also had a couple kids, but they lived with their mother and I got to know them here and there, they were fine, but we all kinda knew we couldn't help each other. Their Mom was a lot like ours, although not quite so mean. I wished I could go live with them.
And he didn't hit Mom...he hit me. If I did anything, like if I spilled milk, he'd pick up what was left and throw it in my face. If there wasn't much left in the carton he'd pour it on my head and make me take what money I had out of my allowance, give it to him for "milk".
And I never knew when he was about to get angry. I learned to avoid him when he was drinking, but he was mean when he was sober, too. After awhile, he started hitting Mom, too. He'd hit anyone who came near him.
So I was telling all of this to Father, and he just listened, and finally I got to a point where I didn't want to say anymore. Not today. And he understood, and suggested we pick up our conversation later on.
But he first said that he understood why I lied in my discernment story, and no, he wasn't angry with me, and no one would fault me for it. And he suggested I go back and edit my story. But I told him no, since I was writing this it's kind of a retraction and maybe it would be more honest in the long run if I'm willing to show my faults, too. And he understood that, too.
And he asked me what I thought when I heard the term, "Father" or "God the Father." And I had to think about that. I don't have an answer. I love Jesus, but I don't think of Jesus as "Father". Even though I believe in the Trinity. Fathers kinda scare me. Or don't matter. One or the other. Nothing in between. Father himself is nice, but I kinda think of him as just a title. And I told him that, although after today I think of him more as a person now, not just, like, an employer, a boss.
And he asked me what I thought of the word "Mother" and what that means. I didn't really know at all.
So he asked me to think about it, and he thanked me for talking to him, and thought maybe I'd had enough for today. I was pretty much crying the whole time. He suggested maybe I pray Stations of the Cross, for my family especially, and that maybe since I love Jesus, see if I can imagine being in the place of Jesus and my family, the people described in the prayer book he gave me. And he suggested I look for an image of Mary that is most comforting to me.
He said that we can't choose our family on earth, but we have already been chosen by our family in Heaven..God, our Father, and the Mother of God. And he said that God is my Father and Mary is my Mother and I have to get to know them.
There's more to the story, and I feel better after talking to Father. He was so nice! And I told him that if it's helpful to other people, he can share what I told him today, too. We didn't talk about everything, and he knows there's more so we'll meet later this week or next week, when there's time.