Sermons

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Doing the things that we want to


Remember that Lou Reed song?  One of the kids thought that was such a great song - doing the things that we want to.  If only we could.

I struggle sometimes with the whole togetherness-independence spectrum.  I know we want to get to "interdependence" because that is what we all really are.  Interdependent.  

But certain personality types will end up sacrificing themselves (in a negative way, not in the "Jesus says it's good" way) for others again and again while the others claim that such is only right.  Parents sacrifice for their children - and sometimes they sacrifice too much for them, and the children never mature.  Some children are virtually forced to sacrifice for their parents, sacrifice their independence, their personal growth, their dreams - they are forced to act like grownups when they are still children while their parents never grow up and take responsibility for themselves.  These are not good ways to be interdependent - these are co-dependencies and there are a ton of books out there to address them.

But how far is too far; how close is too close; how much support is support and when does it become a crutch and eventually a prison?  So that finally one has to break out of that prison so that he can do the things that he wants to.  Or she.  Perhaps it's not that fine a line, but sometimes it feels as if it is, when one is a parent - or when one is dealing with a parent.  Sometimes it is really hard to know when to hold the children close and when to let them go; to know where to draw the line and when to decide not to fight about it; to know that what is our responsibility and what is theirs.

Family dynamics (both in actual families and in systems like churches) can become tangled and mangled and destructive.   "Interdependence" and "sacrifice" and "consideration" become weapons to be wielded in order to enforce continuation of dysfunctional behavior.  Sometimes the sacrificer is the one with the power (the martyr: "see all that I have done for you?"); sometimes the one for whom the sacrifices are made becomes the one with all the power (the diva: "you have to consider me!").    In this case, of course, something has gone awry.  Someone has become someone else's whipping boy/pawn/plaything/slave.

And yet, interdependence, consideration, and sacrifice are, in their unadulterated forms, truly beautiful things.  When we understand and appreciate and value our connectedness and are able to usually act upon our understanding and appreciation, we are happy.  Things are working.  We are content, satisfied; we marvel that we live in a healthy environment.  We aren't feeling resentful. 

And then we are doing the things that we want to!  

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