Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Letter to my fundementalist parents.

Dear Dad,

I am proud of you and mom. I am proud of the man who was sexually abused and never once laid a hand on either of my sisters. I’m proud of the man who worked his way through nursing school with a wife and two kids at home. I’m proud of the man who decided he’d rather be a dad and husband than a heroin addict. I am proud of the woman who’s father beat her till she pissed blood, but never once hit me in anger. The woman, who with a learning disability got a 4.0 in college, and tirelessly works with disabled children. What I am not, is happy with how you relate to me because I don’t think you really care about what makes me who I am, and I don’t think you make yourself emotionally vulnerable to find out. I never doubted that you loved me. I doubt deeply how good you are at showing it.

Do you think that I don’t want a relationship with my parents? Because I do. If I really didn’t care, or if I just wanted to hurt you, I wouldn’t post things like this. I wouldn’t invest the emotional capital. I’d just tell you I wasn’t going to talk to you and I wasn’t going to let you have a relationship with your grand daughter. But I haven’t said that, and I don’t think I ever will. I didn’t say all this just to break your heart, though I knew it would. I said it because it needs to be said and you missed the point of why. The point was not that you didn’t love me. I’ve never doubted that you and mom loved me then, and continue to love me now to the best of your abilities. I doubted, and am coming to grips with the fact that you made no real effort to get to know me because of those the limitations of those abilities, and expressed my fear that you wouldn’t take any interest in addressing those limitations You basically said “You’re selectively remembering the bad things and not the good. We did the best we could. We made mistakes, as all parents do. We’re sorry for the ones we made, but we will not come groveling to you. Why can’t you be as proud of us as we are of you?” This response shows to me how much you missed the point.

I loved taking river trips with you. It was the highpoint of my high school years, and a tradition I plan on passing on to my daughter. But you have to understand, that two weeks of 100% attention, as good as that is, could not undo the disinterest in me as a person of the other 50 weeks a year. The river trips were never about spending time with me, they were about having a really cool adventure that I got to go along with. I never minded that and that’s why they weren’t mentioned in the last blog.

I’m glad that you and mom home schooled me. Again, it’s something I plan on taking your example of with my own daughter. But I needed friends and I had none. The only time I saw people besides my family was 3 hours on Wednesday, 2 hours on Friday, and an hour on Sunday. That’s not a healthy way to live. I remember you railing about how stupid people were that complained that home schoolers weren’t properly socialized. I was lonely constantly. And Heidi left my freshman year of high school. I spent 6 hours away from home a week, and the other 162 there. You and mom didn’t meet my social needs. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact that’s good. But you thought you could, and that’s not good.

You drove me to Chicago for my graduation. Oh, of all examples! The way you remember this hurts so much. Dad, I desperately didn’t want to go to Chicago for the ceremony. I agreed with mom to compromise and go, but only on the condition that we really spend time as a family swimming at the lake and visiting museums, and as long as we didn’t have to have any other relatives there to keep us from spending time together like a family. As soon as I agreed, grandma and grandpa we’re called and invited, though I wasn’t told until a few days before we left. When I said that I desperately just wanted this to be you, me, mom, and Heidi, I was told tough, because it didn’t matter what I wanted, I was graduating and they were going to be there. Then we went, did the ceremony, and spent the rest of the time in the hotel. We fought about it before we left, and in Chicago waiting for Grandma and Grandpa. Then out of respect for you, in front of your own parents, I dropped it. And, now all you remember is that you drove me to Chicago so I could have a great graduation.

You bragged about me. I don’t doubt it. And you know what would have been better for me than you telling other people how proud you were of me: You telling me. You could tell other people how proud you were of me, but why didn’t you tell me? For the same reason that home schooling me breaking mom’s heart is mentioned to me for the first time in my life in this email. Because you and mom do not make yourself emotionally vulnerable to your children unless you have to.

“They wanted to put me in special ed.” No dad, not they. A shrink. A shrink that you sent me to without telling me. I was pulled out of class and taken to a an empty class room where I was told by a total stranger that he had talked to my parents and I was allowed to tell him all my secrets. Why was I talking to a shrink? Well, because unbeknown to me, the school said they could get more money if you let me talk to shrink, and you agreed. So without telling me what was going on, without telling me that you were concerned, without telling me anything, my first introduction to the idea that my parents thought I needed psychotherapy was from the psychiatrist who told me they thought so. That’s not the action of someone who cares about how another person feels. Because you didn’t care about how I felt. Or you assume that because that was how you wanted it, that was how I wanted it.

“…you wanted to kill your oldest sister as virtually any boy with an older sister has said at least once, many more often.” “ Your mom…was taking it way too seriously.” It is not normal. It is not OK. Ever. You and mom think that way because you were both profoundly abused, and you have twisted view of normal and healthy. I’m not saying that to be mean. I’m saying it because it is the facts. The people who probably know you the best are your kids. Ask any of us honestly if we think you have good handle on normal and healthy.

I’ve written this bit about my first girlfriend over and over again, trying to know what to say and how to say it. Dad, Mom, you did something horrible. You told her that you were happy that I was marrying a nice Christian girl, and told me that you weren’t happy with us getting married and you didn’t think she was a nice Christian girl. You thought I was man enough to get married, and even loaned me the money for an engagement ring, but didn’t think I had the moral fiber to keep my pants on for 8 hours. What responsible parent would, you ask? How do you dare ask that? You left me alone for 18 years in house full of your loaded guns, and didn’t trust me with my own cock for 8 hours. You know what’s more important to me than my adult daughter not sleeping with the person whom I just blessed her marriage to? Her knowing that I have complete faith in her. Good grief, you don’t think we could have had sex before then? You had a problem with the way a grown woman was dressed and you think you did the right thing, because instead of respectfully talking to her about it you told her fiance she looked like a slut? If you had a problem with her having a son, maybe you should shown her some basic human respect and honestly and openly shared your feelings. But you guys don’t do that. Not to her, not to me.

I didn’t ask you to apologize for being a Fundamentalist Christian, you didn’t have any other values to teach me and the ones you taught me are infinitely better than none at all. I’m not sorry I was raised by Christians. I’m not sorry I was raised by you and mom. I’m sorry that you, when presented with the things that you did that hurt me, primary respond by saying you won’t apologize, and there is little to apologize for. I’ve never been ashamed of you or mom and I’m not now. But you think I am, because you still don’t respond to what I am saying. You respond to what you think I am saying. And you still won’t get to know me because it’s so much less scary for you to pigeon hole me. You assume you know me and how I like to be treated. Because of that you hurt me. Friends do hurt one another, but you are unwilling to learn to not hurt me. That is why I don’t feel right calling you friend. When my friends do not understand me, they ask me. They do NOT ask everyone but me. I want, as every adult child does, to be my parents’ friend, a respected equal. But I will not put myself out to be hurt. My deconversion letter hurt you and confused you. And I was the last person you talked to about. That’s not how friendship works. And I cannot be your friend if you won’t learn, because I respect myself to much to let people hurt me for no good reason.

When you sent me the letter in Basic, I balled my eyes out for a good ten minutes. When I could get ahold of myself, I read it out loud to my bunkmates, and they cried for a good ten minutes. For one simple reason. You said you were proud of me. I can count the number of times you said you were proud of me in my life on one hand. And now because I took every lesson you ever taught me about God, about truth, about being a man so seriously that I am willing to stake my immortal soul (if you are right) on being honest with myself, you find no reason to be proud of my decision. And that hurts more than anything I’ve ever experienced.

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January 21, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. http://ssheri.wordpress.com/2009/01/21/may-allah-bless-christianitymay-allah-bless-christianity

    Your bloggg is very good, what do you think of Christianity?

    Comment by ssheri | January 21, 2009 | Reply

  2. wow this response doesn’t match the last blog but I think I get what you are coming at but I think you have some lack of understanding on your own part here. I will reiterate my points from before but I get the impression you get your value and worth from the opinionated of others based on this blog and that is a little different from what I had to say before and a little concerning to me. I would say the best place to find value and worth is in Christ but you do not believe He exist. your only hope is to find value and worth in yourself because everyone and I mean everyone is going to let you down including me because we are all human. The sad part is we even let ourselves down and that quite frankly is the most depressing thing I can think about. I do not envy you your position as it is almost hopeless from my point of view. Maybe I am wrong and you have found value and worth through something I do not understand and just wish it could have come from your parents but then again if that were the case I don’t think you would be so upset about it. I think you still want it and need it otherwise you would not be asking for it now. This is an issue that you will probably never get resolution over on the path you are taking it. You nor your parents can go into the past and change the words spoken or the actions taken and I think it is good they have at least spoken spoken some of the words now and you know it even if it is not in the way you desire. It doesn’t change the past but it helps with going onto the future. Just know you do have value and worth. You are a wonderful person and in my opinion anything created by God has value and you are one of his creations. God makes everyone unique and you are no exception. Because of that fact alone I can accept you as you are and not because you are an enlightened individual or you are an atheist or an airman. I know you do not believe in God but I do and I know that because of Christ I can accept you for who you are and for no other reason. You can take that or leave it but I love you and I wish you the best.

    Comment by Anna Alvarez | January 22, 2009 | Reply

  3. My Son… oh my son. You certainly are owed some apologies but you’ve kind of boxed me in by saying I can’t give blanket ones and that you can’t spare the time to cover each issue in detail, (sort of a “meh”, huh?). I can say that I messed up on the graduation thing, both in bringing it up now and back when it happened. I’m sorry, I was insensitive in both cases.

    As for seeing the shrink. Long before I had granted permission for an evaluation of you for learning disabilities, having been promised it could really help your education and learning skills. I assumed from the first it would be handled by that teacher/counselor, the nice lady you liked. They called me the morning of the visit with the shrink and asked if it was OK. I had no warning nor the slightest doubt you could handle him just fine. And you did.

    As far as letting you know I was proud of you, perhaps I’m indulging in euphoric recall, but it seems to me I was very interested in you and what you had to say and what you did and what your plans were. As I remember, I let you know I was proud of you frequently. Not just by saying “I’m proud of you” but by saying things like “Good job! Great job! You draw like an artist! I couldn’t have done it without out you. You’ve more mechanical aptitude than me. Don’t ever listen to anyone who calls you a boy, you’ve proved yourself a man! Son, if I die today, my life is complete because I went through this with you!” I remember saying those things and more.

    I hope you’ll excuse me for playing the sick card for both your Mom and I, but your growing up years were at a brutal time for us. She had cancer surgery, then a year of chemo with a break for radiation in the middle. I had emergency surgery, then 5 years of chemo which not only made me physically ill, but irritable and impatient and depressed and even more of a jerk than I normally was. In the middle of that she and I had some major marital problems too. It was tough on all of us.

    I can understand you wanting me to be proud of you for studying God’s word and many, many other sources diligently to seek Truth. I am. And I pray you never stop. Being a Fundamentalist means taking God at His word; and I do when He promises that He is “The rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” However it would be dishonest, even criminal for me to say I was proud of the conclusions you reached and the declaration you made. You are speaking of my Creator and Lord and Savior. Seeing rejection of Him as a noble act would be the first step toward apostasy for myself.

    I can’t relate to the idea that I should be proud of you for “having the cajones to stand up to 96% of the population.” Not the 96% I see. I would say the situation is quite reversed. I’d say you are joining the vast majority. I have my own attitude on what the bravery and nobility of “cajones” is.

    The girl at Columbine, facing a sawed off 12 guage and offered the chance to de-convert and refusing to deny her Lord… cajones.

    The punk behind the gun who blew her away and later himself… no cajones.

    Literally millions of Christians from the Coliseum to Cambodia ordered to de-convert or choose torture and death and taking the latter over the former… cajones.

    The president who ran as a Christian and in his last interview of his presidency denied he believed the Bible was literally true… no cajones.

    The LAPD officer a month from retirement ordered to arrest protesters at an abortion clinic and taking off his badge and gun and going to join the protesters and giving up his retirement and pension… cajones.

    Eric Rudolf who blew up abortion clinics with time bombs and lived in the woods shaking his fist at the skies and copped a plea for life instead of lethal injection… no cajones.

    Me, who obeyed a Dr.’s order to make a referral to Planned Parenthood for an abortion for one of my patients… no cajones.

    Kurt Warner never agreeing to “tone down” his Christian witness though it cost him job after job, but persevering and leading the Cardinals to this year’s Super Bowl… cajones.

    Peter jumping out of the boat and trying to walk to his Lord across the water… cajones.

    The other 11 men who cowered in the boat… no cajones.

    Edmund stepping into the list against Miraz… cajones.

    Edmund drawing whiskers on the stone lion in the White Witches Court Yard… no cajones.

    It’s difficult for me to see the anger and bitterness that you’re expressing toward your mother and I and still believe that your declaration of Atheism has brought you more peace and joy than you’ve ever known.

    I love you son, Dad

    Comment by Dad | January 23, 2009 | Reply

  4. “The girl at Columbine, facing a sawed off 12 guage and offered the chance to de-convert and refusing to deny her Lord… cajones.”

    This is really none of my business. But the above story has been shown to be a lie invented by Christian evangelicals to further their own cause. It never happened.

    Comment by morsec0de | January 23, 2009 | Reply

  5. Shown by whom and what lie and what purpose? The half dozen surviving students from the room where it happened all heard the question asked at least once. Some twice. One girl was ridiculed and spared for her answer, another was shot. They disagree on the order and timing. What you’re calling a lie was the mistake that was made by people on the scene who heard the witnesses and jumped to the conclusion it was the first girl shot outside the school who had been asked if she believed in God. The questioning began in the killing room when one of the girls cried out to God and the killers picked it up and repeated it over and over and went from there to asking specifically. Wickipedia, not known for being “evangelical” gives a moment by moment discription as do the survalience tapes on U-tube.

    Comment by Dad | January 24, 2009 | Reply

  6. “http://www.salon.com/news/feature/1999/09/23/columbine/index1.html”

    There’s the truth. Read it for yourself.

    Comment by morsec0de | January 24, 2009 | Reply


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