|One of my sister’s friends snapped this shot of his pet donkey.
This old boy is obstinately standing up and speaking his truth. Just like I am these days.
Here we thought we could go another month or so without another Clark post, but here we are again. I have been trying to lay low and simply allow events to unfold without getting upset and without resisting. “What you want to contain, allow.” So I’ve been allowing. Allowing him to wreck his own train, without my interference. And wow, what a doozy of a wreck he’s making on his own.
Clark texts Karl often. They have been getting along like a house on fire. They feel a bond because they are both males who married into my family. Anyway, Clark texted an awful text to Karl saying that all the females in my family were basically harlots in the Biblical sense (straying from God) and physical sense. He included his own wife, my sister Louisa, as a primary example of harlotry.
Few people in my family like Clark because he is super religious, pious and judgemental of my family members. Most of all though, he is mean to Louisa and the kids. Yet he is holding on by tooth and nail still because of his status as a Christian patriarch. That alone keeps him in a solid position. The males in my family nod sagely and give him their official approval, while the females are either too scared or too numb to interfere. A couple of my sisters are not scared or numb…they are awake, totally against Clark, and voice it often. However, these particular sisters are are so disgusted by the family and nobody listening to them, that they have moved quite far from the family and aren’t clued in to the day to day drama anymore. They are wise.
However, I’m still currently in the sheep fold physically speaking, and so my ears are filled with the goings on whether I want to hear or not.
Clark had shared with Karl something about one of my sisters that was so insane and cruel that at first I laughed because I didn’t believe he could stoop that low and be that hateful. I won’t mention it here because if this sister was ever to found out, it would be devastating. I chalked it up to Clark’s insanity that he said this. But then when he followed up recently with the unfaithful wife text that included all my sisters, I flipped.
Karl is so even keeled and peaceful. He isn’t able to feel a threat even when he is threatened. Subtle threats and put downs go right over his head. He is not defensive. He doesn’t feel insults. He has a big heart and a lot of innocence, and sees the good in people before he sees anything else. That’s his default.
So somehow he didn’t take Clark’s latest text as an insult to me or my sisters. He laughed and said that Clark didn’t mean it in a negative way. I am quite Karl’s opposite when it comes to threats. I am very sensitive to them, even subtle ones. I know that this is a temporary phase I’m in, but still I need to honor it.
I stewed about it for a day, trying to tune into my inner voice for direction. In the past I would have swept something like this under the carpet. But not now. Suddenly, I had it. I would directly confront him. I would send an email to Clark expressing my sadness over the way he’s been slamming me and my sisters behind my back secretly to Karl. So I sent the email.
He responded back and basically said he was super scared that Louisa was going to leave him again, and that he was terrified of Thalia, because he thinks Louisa isn’t able to make up her mind on her own, but with Thalia by her side, Louisa would leave. He was also terrified that I would leak the comments to Louisa, which would make her leave him. He tried to explain his harlotry comment, but went further into judging all of us and saying that me and my sisters would have to answer on judgement day because of our unfaithful actions. He said a lot of other things that were way out in left field.
He wondered if the abuse in my family had made me want to leave the religion, and I wrote back and said it was a factor, but then explained a few of the discrepancies in the religion that turned me away. I also explained what I believed. You could call it Universalism, I guess. But really, my ‘religion’ is simply that of love. It felt great to put it out there in words to one of the family patriarchs that I didn’t want anything to do with the religion, and why.
I mentioned before that I felt like a caged bird in my family, beating her wings against the bars. The bars were made of fear, created of my own doing. Some of those bars aren’t there now because I wasn’t afraid to confront him and his religious dogma.
It’s funny, almost. I didn’t have the courage to face my dad and his religious, emotional, psychological, and emotional abuse when I was young. And who comes into my life but two more situational reincarnations of my dad: Karl and Clark. After Karl fell into the vat of religion a year ago, he stayed down there for awhile and became completely immersed in it. Ate, slept, breathed it. Became religious, hardened, judgemental. We had many long and tumultuous conversations and arguments where I continually stood up for myself when he thought I was a heretic, too emotional, too sensitive, etc. But I didn’t blow up at him. I just kept encouraging him into the light and showing him in love who he Really is. And the light has been breaking over top of his head in a spectacular manner. Karl has pretty much been magically dissolving over the last few months into his own true self. He is 80-90% on board with me, and is disillusioned with my family’s religion and with organized religion like Christianity as much as I am. He supports me now much more than he used to.
Other than Karl, the other reincarnation of my dad has been Clark. I’ve stood up and spoken my truth to him, and I feel really good about that.
Two down, one to go. At the last family party I went to, the patriarchs were sequestered in my brother’s kitchen while the rest of the family was out on the deck celebrating my niece’s birthday. My dad latched onto Karl and began his old routine again, trying to get Karl to learn Greek so he could expound the Scriptures and get the purest interpretation. That’s all they do, study the Scriptures ad nauseum. They see no life or love, they only dissect them and use them to judge themselves and others in a Pharisaical way. Well, when my dad told Karl he had a Greek program Karl could try out, I spoke into the air loudly, without looking at anyone in particular, “Why does Karl need to learn Greek?”
I didn’t want to address the father figure because I am still a little afraid to be in his presence (I still feel like he’s going to hit or attack me), but the question was to him. He didn’t answer, but Clark said, “Because Greek is easier than Hebrew!”
So I say, “So why does Karl need to learn Hebrew? Why not German or Spanish or Italian?”
And the question falls on deaf ears. They are suddenly speaking of something else and are too wrapped up in themselves to respond to a lowly female pawn. What does a female have of importance to contribute to the religious discussion? And so the party went on. They sat sequestered together the rest of the evening. So I ambled out to the patio and hung out with the rest of the women and children in the family. Who responded quite easily when I chatted with them. The world is still right side up, even when some parts seem upside down.