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Thread: Daily Bread

  1. #1
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Daily Bread

    I grew up in a very religious society which claimed to make sense out of non sense usually with an eye toward faith and not critical thinking. From the start, I chaffed at the thought of not having a definitive answer.

    My mother always had a little devotional booklet called "The Daily Bread" which one could read a short story daily with a religious connection to a positive approach to the day. I came to understand that it was her way of meditating and she was able to make sense of non sense usually while drinking a cup of coffee on the front porch or in winter in a nook by the piano in the dining room.

    My father has been dead many years. My mother is now 84 years young and a twice cancer survivor and a survivor of abuse......her little booklet served her well.

    These days, I most often go to the gym at 6:30 am and when I return I sit on the front porch or by my guitar in the sunroom and have a cup of coffee. I read. I contemplate. I meditate.

    This morning, I had two incongruous thoughts. I remembered catching fireflies as a child in Mason jars with lids that had holes poked in them. Their light seemed inexplicable and fascinating. I often kept the jar until morning and just as inexplicable and fascinating....their light was gone.

    Almost simultaneously, I remembered the day my father nearly beat my mother to death.

    Two seemingly incongruous thoughts that perhaps aren't so nonsensical after all.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    That's a profound insight.
    A lot of people have their light extinguished by their associates and surroundings--too often permanently.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    You know that old saying "the pen is mightier than the sword." Well, the heart is mightier than the sword, too. Your dad had the sword, but your mom has the heart.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    I fight the urge constantly to interrogate my mother. I want to know what she thinks inspired my father to beat her head off the floor until she was unconscious and then leave her to us boys to nurse back to life. I want to know why he kept choking her even with me clinging to his back and trying to get my arms around his neck and tight enough to get him off her. But I would never have confronted him while he was still alive. I want to know why she stayed with him for over fifty years. But these questions would open up old wounds...so we talk about the weather, the old porch roof that needs fixing and the pesky skunks that dig up grubs in her yard. I release the fireflies from their jars and wonder in their short life what one night of freedom meant to them.

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    might be better to ask her about her childhood. Not that the secret is there, well it might be, but she may have had a happy childhood, it's not necessarily that she had a bad one or anything (and many women were maybe not raised to be independent back then, and that is why she stayed). But a deep part of our parents that we often never know is there in their childhood.

    (Adolescence is sometimes where we got more hurt, yea and more difficult to talk about, while some people's adolescence was 100% bad, few peoples childhoods were 100% bad, most have some things they enjoyed as a kid).
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    williamsmith, I use Daily Bread now, I find it calming even as a non churched maybe even non Christian person, raised Presbyterian. I'm more fortunate than your mother, husband wise, and she is lucky to have you. I like Catherine's words that the heart is mightier than the sword.

  7. #7
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    I want to know why she stayed with him for over fifty years. But these questions would open up old wounds...so we talk about the weather, the old porch roof that needs fixing and the pesky skunks that dig up grubs in her yard. I release the fireflies from their jars and wonder in their short life what one night of freedom meant to them.
    Another heart quote: "The heart has its reasons which reason knows not."

    Relationships are a dance and we bring both our strengths and shortcomings into them. The symbiosis of both good and bad relationships is fascinating. There are so many wonderful women who have married total jerks, and the same can be said of wonderful men. One book you might read for insight is Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle. The father in the story is an alcoholic, so it may not completely mirror your mother's experience, but I read that book and at the end I asked the same questions you did: Why did she stay with him?? But we can all ask ourselves questions about decisions we made that defied reason. At least I can.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  8. #8
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Better the devil you know than one that you don't know is one explanation of why women who had limited resources opted to say in abusive situations.

    Another might be that she felt a limited sense of worth from childhood as girls/women were perceived as "less than" in many cultural situations.

    I have confidence in myself and my worth that are hard-fought.

    The school counsellor suggested teaching or nursing for me as a career, nothing else related to actual ability;
    I couldn't borrow any money from a bank without DH's signature despite the bank agreeing that I would be responsible for any debts that he incurred without my knowledge;
    I couldn't get an apprentice position for a dental lab technician as "I was too attractive and would be getting married, having children to raise and wasting the training" ( I worked for 37 years BTW);
    I was told that I couldn't get my tubes tied without DH's signature giving the surgeon permission in the 1970"s (DH and I had discussed as was our norm with everything and agreed on the decision. He went with me to the Ob/gyn prepared to fight for my right to choose but the ob/gyn husband and wife team had already chosen to over-ride that archaic patriarchal rule)
    and on and on.

    Your mother had even more barriers than I encountered, I am sure, and without a powerful support system from early childhood would not have had the confidence or the trust that her children would be safe if she left.

    May I suggest that you continue to give her the greatest gift and simply love the strength and courage she had to endure a tough life. Confirm her value as she is now. The past is gone under the bridge long ago.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    I grew up without a dad around so always found it fascinating to watch my in-laws relationship. She was a lifetime homemaker and waited on him hand and foot for their 65+ years of marriage. It stopped just short of cutting his meat for him. By appearances, it seemed like she was OK with it but I always wondered how she really felt. When he died a year ago, it almost seemed as if a weight had been lifted from her. As far as I know, he was not physically abusive but I have to wonder how he "trained" her to be so compliant.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    As I said, I am a porch sitter. I came by this naturally. My mother is one and her father was one. Not surprisingly, I have an old black and white photo of my maternal great grand mother and father......sitting , where else ....on a porch. Today, it is hot, sunny and about 85 degrees. I sit half in the shade and half in the sun. The warmth of the sun makes my back feel better but clouds are creeping by and covering the sun off and on. A gentle breeze crosses my portico and makes it all the more pleasant.

    I get the feeling non porch sitters don't understand porch sitters. Every once in awhile a neighbor will walk by and say something like, "What ya up to?" To which I usually reply, "Nothin!" They walk away with a screwed up look on their face. My grandfather was good at porch sitting. He liked to watch the traffic pass by. Anyone from the neighborhood knew he most likely would be on the front porch in his Amish rocker with his cane at his side and they would honk their horn. That would prompt a half wave, cane in hand. Just high enough to be seen over the bannister but not too high as to wear oneself out over the course of an afternoon or evening.

    These same people who don't understand porch sitting, I think really view us as lazy. That kinda pisses me off. There is a lot of mental work being done and all at the expense of few calories. My grandfather never porch sat if there were things to be done. He was a bridge maker by trade and worked long hours. He always went to the porch right after dinner and then retired to the kitchen table for a beer or two before bed. When he retired, he worked in the garden all day and then relaxed on the porch. He definitely earned his seat on the porch.

    I regret that porch sitting is a lost art. Used to be porch sitters in my childhood neighborhood would take turns visiting other porch sitters who would always have extra chairs on their porch for hosting. It is not coincidence that beverages were always offered. Most people are more forthcoming with rumors and gossip after a couple adult drinks.

    I fought the urge to sit on the porch for awhile. But it's useless. If you have it in you, it's a gift that you ought not to ignore.

    I got pretty excited a couple weeks ago. The community installed a new speed bump in front of my place. I couldn't hardly stay in my seat.

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