When it Comes to RAD Religion, My Daughter is Just Like Me.
I was raised in a religious home where I was taught right from wrong, responsibility, and to believe scripture. The Bible was the Word of God, even the parts that contradicted with other parts. I was taught that I shouldn’t question things like that; one day hidden knowledge would reconcile everything and then I would understand. I was raised around great believers, believers I will always admire. I was a believer, too. I am a believer; just not a great one. Fortunately for my own mental balance, I don’t believe you can earn a place in heaven. That gives me hope; because if I had to earn that place, I’d just throw up my hands and refuse to even try. That’s what keeps me going after days like I had a few days ago (you may have noticed I missed posting a blog article last week). I lost it. I sounded like Chevy Chase at the end of the classic Christmas Vacation movie with his infamous mile-long rant ending with, “Hallelujah, Holy $#!+. Where’s the Tylenol.” After calming down, I turned to RAD religion.
My children taught me more about God and my relationship with Him than I had learned over a lifetime of reading, listening and praying. I like to call it RAD religion.
While I was raised in a Christian home (and raise my own children in a Christian home), my inquiring mind led me to accept many of the things I was taught to believe as literal truth on more of an allegorical level. This causes me to feel a real sense of comfort and acceptance (if not kinship) for those who don’t believe like the believers I admire. It also causes me to nudge my variant-believing friends. “What if it isn’t literal truth? So what? Even if it’s allegorical, you can learn a lot from that type of believing.” Learning a lot from that type of believing had an interesting effect on me when children with Reactive Attachment Disorder joined our family. My children taught me more about God and my relationship with Him than I had learned over a lifetime of reading, listening and praying. I like to call it RAD religion.
But I won’t reach perfection in overcoming that weakness today, no matter how much I promise I will. RAD religion has taught me that much.
I knew my Chevy-Chase-Rant was wrong. I knew it was wrong before I started into it. Half-way through I knew that I was only making matters worse for myself and for the people I loved, who ironically bore the brunt of my outburst. After it was over, I knew I should have apologized and made things right. But I did not feel repentant so I didn’t. Over the course of the next few days, I knew it would be best if I worked at changing my attitude. But I was still walking the fence, just waiting for someone to do something, anything, that would give me a reason to pick up where I had left off with behaviors I never believed were acceptable. Now, while I commit to do better, I hear my thoughts that sound way too much like my daughter’s words when she is at the same point in this cycle of behaviors. She and I must belong to the same RAD religion because I hear my thoughts committing to never make the same mistake again. She would swear it on a whole stack of Bibles. I’m a bit older and wiser. I try to tell myself I won’t do it again, but I know that it will take time for me to get to perfection in avoiding profanity laced conniption fits. It will come a step at a time. I can go longer between failures. I can reduce the severity of these occasional outbursts. Eventually, I can become perfect in that one area of my life. But I won’t reach perfection in overcoming that weakness today, no matter how much I promise I will. RAD religion has taught me that much.
I know that I will forgive her as many times as it takes. That’s not just RAD religion. That’s ANY religion.
The most important thing RAD religion has taught me, is that I am much closer to where my daughter is than I am to where God is. When I point a finger at her for refusing (or not having the ability) to see patterns and apply those templates to forming a better life and stronger relationships, I see three of my fingers pointing back at me. God has given me instructions that if followed, will give me a better life. Sometimes I follow those instructions. Sometimes I don’t. I have come to understand that I don’t keep my daughter near me because she has earned it, but because I love her in spite of her weaknesses. I know that I will forgive her as many times as it takes. That’s not just RAD religion. That’s ANY religion. I have learned from watching my daughter and myself that God doesn’t hate me when I make the same mistakes again and again.
As I consider the frustration I feel with Reactive Attachment Disorder, RAD religion makes me wonder if I cause God to feel the same level of disappointment with me that I sometimes feel with my daughter. If so, I don’t think he launches into an outburst fit for a semi-warped Christmas comedy movie (though I have to say, it would be funny to see). But if God does not currently speak to man, I think I know why. It’s my fault. The Bible says that one day with us is as a thousand years to God. I think I might have driven Him to a point where he needed to take a weekend off, in a corner of the universe that looks like the Bahamas. (That’s 3,000 years to you and me…)
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