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We're All Orphans
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.
Such "peripherals" include sex, money, things, etc. Indeed, any of these relationships are essentially dead end relationships. Unless the cycle is broken, the pattern of isolate will perpetuate itself in endless string of "non-relationship relationships." This simply means relationships that are based on the peripherals.
What this means, then, is that the path toward healthy relationships starts with one's self. One has to be able to bring a strong, healthy sense of self-identity to any "table" of relationship.
What this means is that...
1) Sooner or later we must recognize that all of us are orphans. Whether by death, tragedy, emotional separation/distance/rejection, or by marriage, we must be able to develop an identity apart from and totally independent of the approval or rejection by parents (Painful stuff!).
But it is the final stage of the normal developmental stages involved in maturity. Until we're 40 we can blame the parents. After that, we have to realize it's not them controlling our lives anymore. It's us.
Sounds like Pogo, doesn't it!? Jesus talked about this relative to the Kingdom of God (faith). "Unless one hates their mother and father, they are not worthy of Me." The word in the Greek IS "hate." It doesn't mean despise them. It just means to no longer be controlled by their "love" or "control", etc.
3) When we finally realize that we do have a valid, self-supporting, God and self-confirming sense of self, we find that losses are always involved. And so are faith issues. St. Paul puts this in terms of self-denial and taking up Christ's cross. This denial means to renounce control (recall Philippians 2:5ff....Jesus didn't think that He needed to keep "sporting" His powers. He renounced them... completely!!!
4) This renunciation of control also means that we will necessarily become Children of GOD. Note that this spiritual condition doesn't occur until we "hate" our parents, give up control, and let go and let God. This is akin to the first steps of AA's "Twelve Step" program. Humble yourself to the higher power...and admit weaknesses.
5) When we renounce control, it's a "free fall of faith." Yes, it is painful. But it's where the greatest growth really is. The issues here are: Will you let God change you the way He wishes? Are you willing to following Him and trust Him in the most completely vulnerable way?
6) As the above become resolved in a healthy, God-pleasing way, the pain of searching then starts leading to the recognition that God does have a calling/purpose. To follow that is, need I say, healthy. Finding this purpose is the healing for the loneliness, emptiness and despair which happens in Steps 1-5. The frustrating thing is that this calling is not something one can plan, control or manipulate. It's found...quite accidentally...after a series of "coincidental" but at-the-time insignificant events. But the little "A-ha!" experiences will click.
7) The basic lesson in all this is to let go. Unfortunately, this is not a one-time lesson. It is on-going. God repeats the cycle endlessly throughout our life so that we learn to let go of all areas of our lives.
Ultimately the goal of this is to prepare us for death, the ultimate letting go. But death is also the initial realization of the greatest oneness and fullest relationship with God possible. So, all these "letting go"'s are really God working with us to help us discover real, healthy relationships. It's his way of killing two birds with one stone. It's nice to know God CAN be efficient. Imagine if He wasn't! How Painful!!!8) The resolution of this comes completely to some, incompletely to others, and totally repudiated and avoided by others. The time frame can be relatively short or long, depending on the individual, the circumstances, etc.
9) The pain is always in proportion to the need for change. The sooner and more directly one deals with it, the more painful it is initially...but the sooner and more complete the healing. That's why denial--in whatever form--is not your best friend in this. It's not anyone else's issue...but your own. Overall, I think that the resolution can take anywhere from 2-5 years for beginning and developing a truly lasting basis for the new mode of living.
10) Grief is a tough, tough thing. But grief points one to where the growth is.
Here's another quote from a very interesting book entitled, Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst.
One other thing about grief. With all due respect and apologies to Kuebler-Ross, grief has more than just five stages. It's the unknown stages that can be most difficult for those in grief.
One final quote:
This is what all of us must do. After all, we all are orphans to the world so that we might become children of God. I guess there's no birth--physical, emotional or spiritual--without pain, huh?
Thank God that no matter how this orphan-ization occurs in our life, that He has come and purposed to give us life--abundantly. Become "orphaned" and start living in the fullness of this abundant life in the love of Him we call "Father."
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This page was revised on: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:03:38 PM