Playdoh, not Bricks

Family.  It comes in many forms, and in today’s society is often blended, extended and melded from an assortment of people, many who are at least partially related by blood and many who are not.  My family is no different.  Darling Husband has two failed marriages behind him, one resulting in a daughter (or rather a daughter resulting in marriage?), and I have one failed marriage behind me, that resulted in a son and a daughter.  For the purposes of this blog, and given that at least two of them are still minors, I will not use their real names.  Instead, I shall call them Monika, Katarina and Cal.  Monika, at the time of this writing is approaching her 19th birthday.  Katarina recently had her 14th, and Cal is 11.

yerdle april 2016 166Play-doh and bricks.  We get to choose how we will be.  My own photo.

In the background of our failed marriages and our courtship is a lot of… well, garbage.  Most of that is a writing for another time, but suffice it to say, step parenting is never easy, but for us, it has been riddled with pits, traumas and difficulties.  At first, the pits were in regards to the relationship between my children- Katarina and Cal- and my now husband.  Monika was honestly much easier, at least for a time.

For whatever reason, and this is not the place to speculate why, but Monika has a problem with the truth.  Meaning that she either doesn’t know what it is, or how to say it.  The bigger problem is that her father and I have been soooooo burned by lies that we expect and desire complete honesty, even when it’s brutal and hard.  Anything less is a complete betrayal to us.  We tried, goodness, we all tried.  Her father, myself, her grandparents, supposedly even her biological mother, have all tried to impress upon this young lady the importance and benefit of the truth.  She goes to church, but she has not yet embarked on the path of salvation where telling anything except the truth literally makes you feel sick.  And over time, my relationship with her has soured considerably.  I have a hard time understanding the desire, drive, need to lie, and while, as a christian I should forgive, it’s been a long road.  And typically, about the time I get there, we get a phone call…. and something else has happened.

yerdle april 2016 164A wall of bricks that need broken through. My own photo.

And you know what?  I should be understanding, I should know what it’s about, I should be able to forgive, because I was once a liar.  At about that same age.  My circumstances were very different from hers in a lot of ways, but I lied.  Because I needed to be accepted.  I didn’t want people to know what was really going on in my life.  Sometimes, I wish I hadn’t lied.  If I hadn’t lied, there is so much pain I would never have gone through.  But, perhaps, because I have lived the life of a liar; I have seen and lived the consequences of lies, my tolerance is exceptionally low, rather than generous.  Because I know the trouble that dishonesty can bring you, my heart breaks a little more each time there is another lie.

Monika is a sweet girl, with an amazing capacity for compassion, generosity, and interestingly enough, forgiveness.  She is free with hugs and laughter, and embraces the pain of those around her as her own. There is SO much for her to give the world. I pray for her, everyday, to see the real way, the real truth, and to truly embrace it and embark upon a true path of salvation.  The kind of path that makes sin fill your mouth with dust such that you can’t stomach to engage in it.

On the flip side of the coin, my children come from an environment that is exceptionally sedate, some might even say flat.  It’s quiet, studious.  My husband and I are more gregarious.  We do almost everything loudly.  This is foreign and startling for my children, and the start and root of relationship issues between my now husband, my children and myself.  They had a problem with him, and with sharing me, and that, in turn, led to exaggerations and misunderstandings with, frankly, dire consequences.  It is a story that I know I am called to share, to use, to minister with… in the very near future.  Suffice it say, that has left resentment built up between my husband and my children. He prays for them every day.  That they will know the heart of forgiveness, that will see and understand truth.

yerdle april 2016 162Play-doh shapes to each other, it can blend, mold, and adapt.  Bricks, they can build on each other, or fall over.  There is no in between with bricks. My own photo.

The interesting thing through all of this is the very healing power of love.  The love my husband and I have for each other is anchoring.  It allows us to talk very honestly with each other.  To share our fears and concerns.  With one rule.  We will not speak ill of our step-children.  This doesn’t mean that we don’t tell the truth- such as my statements above that Monika has a problem with the truth, and that Katarina and Cal have a problem with forgiveness.  These are problems that can and we pray, will, someday change.  But it means that we don’t call them things like “Brats” or “Bad”, we try to keep the aggression out of it.  We try to stay flexible with each other’s need to maintain as positive of a relationship as possible with our respective children.  We have to be Play-Doh, willing to shape and mold around each other.  Not bricks, unwilling to compromise and being thrown at each other’s heads.

It’s a lesson that we are still learning how to do.  It’s a lesson that we will probably always be learning to do.  But, it’s a necessary lesson, for us, for our children, for our blended families.

The thing is, we don’t have to apply this to just family, we can apply it through all of our relationships.  We all need some Play-Doh, to know that when we need it someone will adapt to us, and our needs.  To wrap their arms around us and hold us when we are not able to do it on our own.

And you know what?  Monika is a good example of Play-Doh.  I could stand to learn from her in that regard.

How are you Play-Doh to those around you?


yerdle april 2016 163Play-doh that has become completely blended.  My own photo.




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