I met up with my pastor today before venturing into the city to look for a job. It's always nice to meet up with my pastor, and it's not really a meeting between a member of congregation and a pastor, per-se, so much as me just meeting up with a friend of mine that I work with who just so happens to be a minister. Either way, the coffee was good.
We met up in the morning, and as soon as I got in his car we started talking about movies and television shows and ideas for short films to make for church (we regularly shoot short films for church services as supplemental material for the sermons as well as just for fun). We discussed his son's television watching habits and how much he was enjoying watching Justice League with his son and debated on which superheroes were better or worse (which is something I find myself doing an increasing amount in coffee-shops lately).
Eventually, we arrived at the topic that I had wanted to discuss with him when I asked him to meet with me. I brought up my parents' divorce from several years back and how it has affected me, both mentally and spiritually. For the most part, I have risen above and grown past the pain of the divorce, and most of my bruises have healed. However, there is one lingering feeling that I cannot seem to shake. I described it to my best friend a few days back, and the description I gave him was the same one that I offered my pastor today:
People whose parents stay together until they die have this wonderful gift in their sense of home and family. They grow up and leave their old home and separate from their family, but no matter where they go, they know that there's that one house full of those particular people that they can always return to, the people that have that special sort of familial love that never dies, and the kind of home whose warmth never fades. Or at least, that's my idealistic view of what those people have. However, because of all of the events entailed in my parents' divorce, any chance of my having such a gift in the future were essentially ruined and replaced with feelings of abandonment and a lack of validation. Frankly, it's no good. It's the one scar from the whole situation that I still haven't been able to buff out after all of these years, and it was beginning to drive me crazy. So, I called my pastor, described the problem, and asked him if he had any ideas.
This is what he said:
"It is going to be a problem.
It's not going to just get fixed.
God's not going to magically remove that longing from you, and you can't expect Him to, nor can you expect for that sort of validation to come from people. Not anymore, anyhow.
However, God does (as I have already seen) and will continue to provide those people that you need to ease the pain and help the situation rather than 'fix' it.
This is similar to mourning a death. You can't fix the fact that the person is dead. You can't fix the fact that you were abandoned and went through what you went through. But you can mourn and move forward. That's what you can do."
I was instantly refreshed, mostly because all of these years I had been viewing this incredibly vague affliction of mine as a problem that needed a solution. But after years and years of searching for solutions and not finding any, even where you most and least expect them, gets a bit frustrating after a while. And, with a simple few words, it was no longer a problem to be fix, but a mistake; a death that will be mourned.
My grandfather died over four years ago. My mother still cries about it every now and then. Now I understand why. But still, even as I am going to be "mourning" for, oh, who knows how long, I'm not sad about this. I don't have to try to fix it anymore. I can face it bravely as a matter-of-fact sort of problem and say that I have it and I am doing all that I can to cope with it. "Cope" is another good word for the situation. I can move forward without being afraid of this problem anymore, and I am at peace with it. I'm incredibly happy about what my pastor told me today, and no amount of mourning will change that.
So, instead, I thought I'd "mourn" the death of my frustration. It's gone, and I don't plan on returning to it in the near future. This is my plan:
I have always had an insatiable love for music, and I hoard and catalog the stuff like a squirrel collecting acorns for the winter. It's disgusting, really, but I can't help it. You know you've become a musical encyclopedia when and one of your friends can ask you what song is playing over the intercom in a clothing store and you can give them the song title, artist's name, album title, and release date all in one breath. So as a result of this musical cataloging addiction of mine, I've developed several permanent mental playlists for the future; songs I want played at my wedding, songs I want to put into films and, inevitably, songs I want played at my funeral. What with all this talk of mourning and funerals and whatnot, I got to thinking about that list again and I decided to share a few songs on that list with you. So, if I die in the next few days, here's your reference list for the funeral. Enjoy.
Song 1: Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
Song 2: Sufjan Stevens - For the Widows in Paradise, for the Fatherless in Ypsilanti
Song 3: Neutral Milk Hotel - Two Headed Boy
And one last appropriate song for the road:
Clem Snide - The End of Love