When I was a child, I remember my mom owned a book titled “I’m Ok; You’re Ok”. OK, blogger’s disclosure here: I have never read the book. Sixty seconds of research on Amazon clearly puts me in my place; this is a distinguished writer who not only has the letters “M.D.” stenciled by his name, but has sold copies in the millions! As if psychoanalyzing the dynamics of our parent/adult/child relationships to one another wasn’t totally gratifying, this doctor ultimately skyrocketed to fame with his book and subsequent movie “Silence of the Lambs” and “Hannibal”. Second disclosure: Glad I didn’t share couch time with him!
Ladies and gentleman, allow me to present myself: Liz, amateur blogger who has zip, zero, nada credentials other than The School of Hard Knocks and The University of Life’s Experiences. I am an expert in many subjects though; particularly the ones I deem worthy of arguing over. Everything else is irrelevant. Capishe?
Anyway, in my humblest of opinions, I really think most people would find ourselves and could skip years of therapy and countless thousands of dollars if they could just read one of dozens of books I eventually plan to write –barring unforeseen distractions of course! I will call it:
“I’m Messed Up; And You’re Totally Wack!”
Born just a few decades shy of the new millennium, I, like many of you experienced big life events. Off the top of my head I remember these events, both external and internal, in a world that started out with time moving slowly. Now time seems to move at the speed of light thanks to the exponential increase in technology and access to world and interpersonal events simultaneously. This is my truth as I remember it:
- I turned four in a new house. This time, it was a two-story home.
- Our family got a brand new color TV!
- The next day we saw Neil Armstrong take the first steps on the moon.
- Our new color TV became my mom’s CNN when the Watergate Hearings started.
- I turned eight that day. “As the World Turns” was suspended. I was covered in poison ivy.
- President Nixon said he was not a crook. I remember he was like the Beatles in this regard; he was famous and he also gave America the peace sign.
- I repeatedly sat in the scorching heat and was bored to death in the back of my mom’s Impala as we waited forever to get gas before it ran out.
- President Nixon, besieged by scandal, scowly jaws, and a neck that always seemed to turtle into his shoulders, resigned.
- My cat had kittens and then my dad didn’t come back one day. Then my parents divorced. And I had to give all the kittens away.
- Life was not always sunshine and lollipops.
- I turned eleven. On my birthday my dad stopped by. He tied a red bandana around my eyes, put a cowgirl hat on my head, and gave me some genuine leather cowgirl boots. We rode in his Porsche convertible 911 Targa to an unknown destination. When he took off my blindfold, I was standing at a field near a stable. He had bought me a horse—the horse of my dreams! I was so lucky!
- I got the consolation prize but my mom got stuck with all the responsibility of raising me during the height of my future rebellion. We are still very close to this day.
- Then Elvis fell off his porcelain throne and died on his bathroom floor. The whole world cried. Did I? I can’t remember.
- I read CS Lewis’s “Alice and Wonderland” and got lost for a few days. A love affair with words and imagination ensued.
- I turned 12. My horse got very sick. I lay against her belly and cried copious tears on the hard ground when we had to put her to sleep. I’m not a brave person, but I learned I could face it when the time comes to tell our pets good-bye.
- I got my period and then over 900 people died in Jonestown, Guyana. I do remember crying over that when I realized this scene repeated itself hundreds of times: Parents gave their kids Kool-Aid. Then they died. Why?
- I started high school. My friend’s brother drove me to school in a 1970 VW Bus with a silver foot shaped gas pedal. The van always smelled like reefer, but it didn’t bother me because I had a secret crush on him. We never talked to each other.
- John Lennon was assassinated. Then my mom and I celebrated Christmas, just us two and our cats, for the fifth time.
- Summer came. I started liking boys more than girls.
- Second year of high school was in session and John Hinckley Jr. tried to kill President Reagan to impress Jodi Foster. Then I got my driver’s license.
- That summer the sandy haired boy with the reefer bus committed suicide. He left behind a daughter and girlfriend. He never knew I liked him “more than a chauffeur.” I was not a good friend to the sister he left behind. Death makes people who aren’t grown up yet drift apart. I wish I could tell her I’m sorry now.
- Next I dated someone who was immature and sometimes cruel. I got smart quick. I dumped him fast.
- I met my second boyfriend.
- I worked all through high school. Then I graduated.
- A week later I moved out into a brand new mobile home with my boyfriend. It hurt my mom because I didn’t give her any warning.
- After four years I married that second boyfriend. We had ups and downs, and stayed busy with three amazing kids who did every activity under the sun. We traveled, we camped, we loved, we lost, and we loved again. The cycle of life’s events big and small, internal and external happened, all over again. Only this time it seemed to go by even faster, and with more of us. We have a mostly good life today. Some say blessed; I do.
It’s because we’ve both learned how to graciously—well, on most days, accept one another and those around us in the world as they truly are. That is, “I’m Messed Up; And You’re Totally Wack!”
We both had childhoods that were indeed mostly happy, full of play, and learning, friends and family. Yet from time to time, we took turns getting suddenly thrown out of “Happyville”. Leaving Happyville, was always followed up by temporary internments in the tenement slum housing known as “Dysfunction City”.
We all went through this. Yes, we children of the Age of Aquarius, this new dawn of enlightenment and reason, all had to endure these universal hardships of life:
Hurt. Sadness. Disappointment. Unfairness. Events beyond our control.
But here’s the good news: The bad didn’t last. It never does! As God wove the threads of our life’s tapestry, these hard things became the torn threads that gave our life, our tapestry, its character and its absolute richness. The master weaver is still at work.
We live and we dream and the world just keeps on turning. God is in control. And we’re all going to be okay. Mostly.
And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28