My friend Paul Gingerich has called me a “doormat” as far as some of our kids are concerned. He’s said that some of our kids have taken advantage of my generosity. Well, yeah. One of our kids once wrote something to Lone Heron which she found sexually offensive and she has never forgotten it. Another of our kids has repeatedly published posts on Facebook that could hurt his cause if his posts ever came under scrutiny. For the “average” parricide, the road to Redemption involves trial-and-error, many false starts, and a process that is anything but simple and direct. Sometimes it is even hurtful. Redemption is a messy process.
If Paul Gingerich were a jerk (which he is not), if his son were not a good kid but a troubled soul (which he is not), I think Paul would eventually appreciate that the doormat was willing to become muddy—shitty even—in the cause of wresting a productive life for his boy.
I am not proud. I have nothing to prove by adopting an inflexible stance. If someone needs a dozen “second chances,” I am willing to embrace their imperfection. It seems to me that this is the real test of love.
Now I am not willing to adopt this flexibility for everyone. If I encounter a non-parricide adult who lies or steals, I’ll cut them off immediately. No second chances. They’ve had their opportunity to demonstrate and shape their character and blew it. “Mitigating circumstances”? Ha! Their history doesn’t matter to me. Even if this seems unfair, I am unwilling to tolerate someone who is set on hurting me or others.
But a kid who is raised in an abusive home; who is saddled with negligent, selfish, hurtful parents; who has never learned anything but feral survival—I will never give up.
82° and Clear