You Can’t Force the Fixing
I was the serious child. The child that wanted to save lives. The child that wanted to fix sufferings. The child that wanted no racism, nor bigotry of any sort. I know. I know, it sounds silly. But I think I was born that way. What do you do with that? Especially, when you know right from wrong, seemingly in utero. Well, I don’t know if it was in utero. Who knows. Maybe before conception? I do believe there is some truth to who we were, who we are, and how. And why we individually came to be. I have my Jody-losophy. Such as, there is a point that I feel some of us picked our parents before we landed here on this place called earth.
Regardless of all that thought process. One thing I’ve learned here is, ‘You can’t force the fixing’. There’s pay back for trying to as well. Some pay later, appearing not to pay at all in their current vessel of humanness. Others, well it smacks us right upside the head. And sometimes it alters our lives forever, yet we survive it to a degree. And some of us are brought to death at an earlier destiny than that was planned for us.
The old adage, ‘Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me’. Really has some truth to it. As I watched people in my life as a child, namely my immediate family. I would wonder, what was it that made people make unkind choices? What was it that pushed people apart? All sorts of answers to this day, we humans throw around like we have thousands of cattle to lasso and bring in from the field. We don’t. Me, I ponder. I was once accused of not having the ability to ponder. Conversely it seems to me that I ponder all day long, every day. In everything that I do. In those pondering thoughts are the possibility of action. However, after some mishaps that altered my life and nearly destroyed it, I refrain from much of the action pondered.
It takes my all not to act on such thoughts of how to fix. Or to fix. Perhaps at times, what to say. The other flaw I have is being honest. My Mom used to say that to me. Yet, she didn’t call it a flaw verbally. She implied it as such. I actually went and saw a psychologist on this question over twenty years ago. She said, “You should never be a politician. But an activist, yes.” I asked her if I should start to learn how to lie. Like take a few lessons, to be like everyone else. She smiled, shook her head and emphatically stated, “No.” My response was, “So just keep doing, whatever it is I’m doing?” I inquired. She replied, “Yes. It’s not a bad thing.” I thought, Phewwwe… Then she said, “The reason why people don’t get you is that you get life. And you are the adage of, ‘What you see is what you get’.” After that I realized I was living the way that I should. I’d not made the mistake of not being true to my gut, nor the foundation from which I was born from. That being said, I will digress now and explain the not forcing the fixing part.
As a former child of an ill mother, and a spiritually deficient father. Or rather I can say Dad. Because my Higher source is Abba, the Hebrew version of Father. Which is who I call to, speak to, share to, pray to and answer to. As a child I was blessed more so than pretty much anyone I know. I actually knew that and reckoned with it at a very early age. And the times I’ve stepped out of that knowing, I’ve been batted down. Batted down not by my Maker. Yet, by the ills of living in this world. It is too big for one to conquer not only the ills of the world, yet also the ills of another human being. We think that we can. But we are sorely mistaken, for we do not do it alone.
In medicine, prescriptions are given as well as advice. However, what I marvel at is how most of us overcome viruses, bacteria and other situations. Like ohhhh… Driving on a highway and not dying there, due to weather, crowds, as well as inattentive people behind the wheel of their vehicles. The little things, we seem to forget about. Which could be a good thing, so we don’t end up too paranoid. As well, some of us compartmentalize well. Which isn’t such a bad thing, nor wrong. That’s a gift.
However, this brings me back into the realm of, ‘You can’t force the fixing’. I worked on and did all I could as a child to force peace within the family. But I realized, I could only pray for peace, because I couldn’t fix broken people, especially adults. Although I saw it with children who nicely put, were brats. And for some crazy reason, I accepted that it wasn’t my place to change people’s habits. It could’ve been the time when I was four years old, nearing age five, as I blew out my Dad’s match that he was ready to light his cigarette with. He gave me a look of horror. Steel blue eyes that glared. They looked right through you with hatred. Then he said nothing. He went to light up another match. I blew that one out too. I stood there in our barn house kitchen with the four o’clock summer sun shining from the west in through our kitchen window. Curtains were aligning the windowpane. He was dumbfounded. He paused for a moment, turning red. I knew at that time, if my mother wasn’t in the kitchen I would’ve been clocked by my dad. I became evermore sheepish, and now petrified. He asked sternly, “What are you doing?” I replied, “Daddy. I’m saving your life.” There was a second or so of silence. He responded, “Don’t do that again. Or you’ll be a hurting puppy, young lady. You hear me?” I replied, “Yes. But I want to save you. I’m sorry.” He repeated himself as to what he would do to me as well. I then went outside to play with my older brother. I learned I could not stop a man from smoking, even though I knew the truth he knew. That cancer sticks were just that. But when a man wants to do something, he just will because he can.
Over the years, as my mother’s illnesses ramped up and our parent’s marriage went south, swiftly I might add. I knew to be there for my Mom. It wasn’t because I was a girl. It was just a feeling I had. She would stay in bed at times for almost the entire day. She would be very alone in her thoughts. She was lonely. I understood that, and still do. I prayed, yet I knew I couldn’t demand her to get out of bed, as one relative would say, “You got to learn to pick yourself up by your boot-straps.” I saw that as a cold way of dealing with someone’s depression, illnesses and life crisis’. Why? Because not everyone has that ability. I understood and now understand the reasons. I definitely understood the reasons by age eleven, albeit it was quite frustrating to understand this. I didn’t want to be arrogant in my knowing. It is because I knew I prayed for all I had attained in understanding and it had arrived early for me.
What I witnessed in watching Dad torture then leave, then torture then leave, again and again. Was that he appeared unmoved by his own action, or the feelings of others. I hadn’t the full comprehension of that as a child, so I prayed. It’s all I knew to do. When he’d left, going drinking, etc… I’d pray he’d come home safely. Not for me, but for Mom. She wanted that. She didn’t want to be abandoned. I was tortured in knowing her torture. But I realized I couldn’t force the fixing of my Dad, to make him be something perhaps he was not ready to be. Or would never be ready to be. That was kind. I also felt as much as my Mom wanted him, that he was not good for us. Yet, I obediently and loyally prayed for him to arrive back home safely.
I remember one night at about midnight. I was fourteen, as I stood and sat on the tree’s roots that embraced the one corner of our macadam covered driveway. I prayed, I cried silently with confusion. I asked God, “Why, or why do we want him home? He’s painful. I’m doing this for Mom, God.” I did this one evening for two hours, as Mom lay in bed crying. I was outside praying, pacing and sitting by the driveway. Then I would see the lights of his vehicle coming down our block. I’d hustle into the house. Locking the door behind me, “Mom. He’s coming down the road.” I would gleefully whisper a near shout into her bedroom. I’d hear her relief. Then I’d hustle upstairs to my bedroom, and sleep-pretend. Dad would soon enter. Sometimes he would make lots of noise, banging pots/pans, swearing if he couldn’t find something. Other times it was quiet.
Overtime, I learned I couldn’t force the fixing of neither their marriage, nor their emotional reactions to life, misguided love and other things of that sort. Although, I have not been perfect at not forcing the fixing. I indeed have had to learn the hard way. I’ll now zoom to age twenty-eight. I was attempting to keep helping my Mom, even though at this point I was going on seven years of marriage to Norman. He would also try and help Mom too. He did quite a bit at first, when he had the time. I think he thought as I had in the past, that if someone was just kind that would fix a person’s predicament. It is not a bad thought. It can be at times a flawed human thought, however. Basically, we humans can expect too much change from anyone. And at times depending on who you are, even expecting too much from ourselves. That does happen, you know.
So, the a smack upside the head I received from life was an infection that made no sense, yet it destroyed all the training I had been doing to get to the 1992 Olympic Marathon Trials. Now instead of two more chances to qualify, I would have only one. After recovering from the infection, I once again tried to fix my Mom’s worries. I would take my then teenaged sister out on a Saturday after my training to play basketball, go bowling and the like. I really needed to rest. I didn’t let on that I’d been ill, and was exhausted from the illness, pain, and surgery from the infection. I needed to be selfish and rest more in between work, house cleaning and training, if I was to recover fully and qualify for the 1992 Olympic Trials Marathon. It was still all possible.
A couple months passed, I was ever more exhausted. Then one work morning I overslept for doing an eight mile easy jog before work. For I was to do intervals later that night at the track. I was so exhausted that I’d also forgotten that my coach Tom Fleming at the time was going away then. As well, that track practice had been cancelled for the week. I arose that morning in the summer of 1991, I was late. So, I knew I had time only for five or six miles. I rolled out of bed and was soon on the road running. Two miles later I had a bad feeling. I saw a man watching me from afar. I was warned there, with chills down my spine. Then, a half mile later my body turned me around. Or should I say my spirit turned me around. I wondered why I couldn’t control this feeling of turning back. Three times my body refused to go to another half mile to make it a six mile run versus a five mile run. I got angry, cursing at myself and turned my body back a third time. A half mile later, my life was changed forever. I almost died, I had to fight for my life. I lost that next attempt to qualify for the 1992 Olympic Trials Marathon and there was no return. No coming back.
I look back at the mistakes I’ve made, such as those. That may seem too harsh to blame myself for not listening to my intuition. For I am human. Yet, I reckon that may just be part of the lesson in my life, in order to grow on another level. I also have reckoned that the assailant that committed the crimes against me, needed to meet up with his worst nightmare. A woman that would outlast him whilst he beat and raped her. Although afterwards, she would be afraid, admonished, outcasted from friends, acquaintances, and family. She was made to last long enough to see that a powerful family which empowered a man’s dastardly actions; could be reckoned with a hopeful little lamb and a Higher power.---Jody-Lynn Reicher