Al-Anon · Christianity

Why Has My Life Been So Hard, God?

white picket fenceI’ve had conversations with God; I’ll call them that.  More like rants about how I can’t understand how I can work all day but can’t keep a job.  What is he doing to my life?  When I went to school I was promised a house with a white picket-fence around it.  That is what my college application said; well, no, not really.  But that is what I thought.  

Why did I think that?  Wasn’t I taught that a college-education would promise me a house with a white-picket fence around it?  Now it sounds like a pipe-dream, something made up out of The Wizard Of Oz.  

A story.  A story about how a white woman in her 20’s could work on her college education, get married, and have 2.0 children.  Or something along those lines.  I was supposed to be happy and have children, that’s plural, more than one child.  I only got to have one child, and that was an unhappy one.  An unhappy daughter and her unhappy mother.  Married to an unhappy man who was a recovering alcoholic; at least that’s what he said.

7858 Burton Drive
My childhood house – Rohnert Park, CA

I grew up thinking I would have a nice life; my dad was doing well and he told us we were “an upper, middle-class family”, which was common in those days.  More common than today.  Only we weren’t, we were at the upper echelon of the middle class family life-style, having more than others but not quite rich.  We weren’t that well-off.  I know this because in the mature mind I have now, I have learned about making oneself look good on the outside, but on the inside my parents may have been struggling with debt.  Credit cards, bank loans, and that sort of thing.  I just didn’t know it when I was a child.

alcoholDad drank, so I married an alcoholic, because that’s what I learned from Al-Anon, that we marry alcoholics because “that’s the thing we know”, how to live a life of chaos, broken dreams and unhappy marriages.  Dad cheated, and my mom later divorced him, once she got the house and a few other things, I believe, and felt stable financially.  But he let her down, and I mean greatly.  She worshiped him and hung on him at every chance she got.  I believe her existence was devoted to him and his success in business.  He was in advertising and had his own ad agency in San Francisco; at least that’s what he said.  I don’t know how much I trust a man who would leave my mother in such a depressed state. She loved him, through and through, and hung on for years…  He just got worse and drank all the more.  

In Al-Anon, they call that “co-dependence”, you hang onto another person, covering up for their mistakes, accepting disaster, telling yourself you’ll be okay, and if you just love the other person enough they will get well and change.  You prove yourself, your loyalty to them I guess and that’s supposed to be the difference they need in a relationship to make a change.  You love them well, I guess.  That’s the theory I’m sure that goes on in each mother’s mind who is married to such a dysfunctional man.  Her identity was build upon his wellness, success, and how well they looked “on the outside”.  It was all fake.  They were not happy and my dad was not well.  Either was she, now that I think about it, but I knew that at the time.

childAs a small child I grew up thinking my dad was larger than life; he was always right and he was god in the family.  Until my sister came along who earned a PhD in bio-physiology, and so knew the origins of life, then she became his god, and so was like a god to the rest of us.  At least she got treated that way and was the oldest of four sisters.

It wasn’t a happy time, because I was the third child born alive, my older sibling died at childbirth, was a still-born I guess, and so I was the fourth born, but was the third born who survived.  My mom didn’t care for me much, I presume.  She must have been heartbroken that the other child died, and so I was a replacement child.  I wonder how that felt to her?  Since I don’t know her well, I just guess at stuff.

I am a hurt child, abandoned by my family, having been my dad’s favorite child, or so he told me so once when he was drunk, and he might have told the other children the same thing, now that I think about things.  He may have identified with me the most, because I liked to read and he read himself silly, what with a library that had shelves lining the walls in the living room, and in his office in their bedroom, with a walk-in closet to the side that they had built on to add more rooms to the house.  That is why I thought we were doing well, financially.  We had a big house next to all the ones in my neighborhood at the time.  We lived in a tract-housing development, called Rohnert Park, in California, that has since built up into a large tract-housing development, much bigger than when we were there.  We moved in before Rohnert Park was proclaimed a “city”.  It was named after “the Rohnert family”, is what I was told when I was a child.  

hoWe were considered well-to-do, compared to my friends, and we had horses.  We pastured them at another friend’s house.  I rode gymkhana and did barrel racing as a young teenager; I was President of the 4-H when I could talk.  I was very shy then and someone nominated me to be the 4-H leader, but then I couldn’t do it any more because I was frightened to death.  I was pushed into it, you see.  And, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, or say, or what it was about.  I was too young.  I sold sheep at the fair also while I slept in a horse stall with a friend when we rode in horse competitions at the fairs around the area.  Those were good times since they were unusual in my lifetime, very prestigious, since the other kids at my school didn’t have horses, so I was raised with many things they didn’t have.  I was grateful, but then I flopped as an adult.  I simply “couldn’t get anywhere” and I became a Christian out of desperation.

My marriages had both flopped.  I married two alcoholics, for reasons explained.  Yep, it was that easy.  You see someone and you tell yourself, “I’m going to marry that one”, but I wasn’t the one saying that. They were.  I did not want these marriages and in no way was I ready to be married and live a life of marriage.  It was a mistake in my life to have married so young in how young I was for my age; and have these men as my marriage partners, so messed up as they were and not ready to become husband’s, themselves.

identityThis is my mistake; not making decisions based upon who I was.  I let everyone tell me what I should become, and I became it.  Only I flopped since I was not to have those things; husbands, horses, swim and ballet lessons; that was not who I am, not who I was supposed to be.  I am who I am meant to be today; living in a van and shaping a life around God’s timing, and for the strengths that I have been gifted with.  Only time will tell how well I turn out.

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