You might remember my mother asking me if I'd go to a counseling session with her last winter. It took until mid-May for her to call again, this time with a scheduled appointment on the books. Coincidentally, it fell on my son's last day of school and we had a conflict during the exact same time slot as the counseling session. We rescheduled the conflicting appointment and put off end-of-school celebrations for a couple of hours so that I could go meet with my mother and her counselor.
For me, rearranging my schedule around this counseling session is what loving and honoring my mother looked like that day. While she has not "earned" this, God commands it... Additionally, God has given me - and will continue to give me - far more than I deserve or could ever earn, so who I am to withhold that from my mother?
I was glad that we met with her counselor. I knew that if she'd gone to meet with me and a counselor of my choosing that it would likely be counter-productive, scary for her, and would quite possibly do more harm than good.
Her counselor made me chuckle a little with her earthy, meditative Dharma style (as in Dharma & Greg), but she is also sharp, fair and committed to helping people get better. She is not at all the counselor I'd have chosen, but I hope and pray that she has been hand-picked by God for my mother.
When the counselor turned to me and asked what I'd hoped to get out of my relationship with my mother, I honestly didn't know what to say. In my childlike heart, I wanted to weep and say that all I ever wanted was a loving, care-giving mommy. At the same time... In my vast experience of having been there and done a relationship with her, I know that distance has really been best for me. So long as she is so broken, confused, confusing, irresponsible, hurting, hurtful, blaming, neglecting and denying...it is best for me to keep a healthy distance.
Before she and I can have a relationship, she needs to experience healing in her own life. Without a degree of healing, she cannot possibly experience genuine, selfless, regret, remorse and repentance for the acts she committed out of her brokenness. Without healing from her own pain, she will not be able to recognize or take responsibility for the pain she's inflicted upon others.
Since our meeting last week, I have discovered a renewed heart for my mother. I witnessed first-hand last week some of the craziness of her mind, but I could also see that she is sincere in her desire to be better. That is a first.
I have always told people that it's never too late to repair a relationship...but I never really thought it would happen for me. We have a very long way to go, but I feel hopeful.
"As much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone". Romans 12:18