I have been training more deeply in Family Constellation Work, and besides learning great new tools to use with the people I am working with, it has brought a deeper level of healing and, yes, gratefulness towards my own parents. As some of you know, my childhood was far from perfect and there was many times I actually wished I had a different father or mother. I wished for a father who would cherish me at all times, be gentle yet clear, protect me, adore me and would always be there when I needed him. I wished for a mother who was a role model in terms of what it means to be a woman, who was empowered, fun, loving, encouraging, and always there when I needed her. In other words – the perfect parents who would love me unconditionally.
Well, that is not what I got. My parents were born at the end of WWII and deeply traumatized by their parent’s trauma, and limited in their ability to be there for me – and at times even deeply wounding to me. For many years I emptied out my frustration, my bitterness, my blame, my pain about them; then I was able to actually feel their pain, frustration and bitterness, and started to build compassion for them in my heart, and slowly real forgiveness emerged to a point where I truly felt like I could forgive them for the harm they caused me – and let them off the hook.
But there was still another level that I just discovered in the last few months. In the Hellinger Family Constellation Work there are exercises where we speak words of honoring like, ”I honor you as my mother” and “You gave me life and that is the greatest gift”, but I never really got what that meant. Somehow, by the grace of God, it LANDED on me this time, that this particular mother and this particular father of mine were the PERFECT parents–for me!–imply because without them I would not be here. I, this unique being, would not exist had these two particular people not made love – and brought me into existence. And THAT is the gift they gave me, and as Hellinger says, in a certain way, they owe me nothing else. Life is the greatest gift one can give someone.
I hope I can convey the sense of relief and “rightness” that came from my little aha moment of grace. Everything just kind of lined up, and I knew all was well, and my parents loved me as much as they could and express their love even now as much as they are capable of, and that is enough for me. I now truly don’t need them to be any different than they are, and actually find their little quirks and imperfections endearing. I am just so grateful I get to be with them in this new state of being, though mostly on the phone, and rarely in person, since they live on the other side of the globe. I have no desire to change them any more. In fact, I hear their love for me in everything they say, even though my father, for example, can’t say” I love you” to me when I tell him I love him. I hear “I love you” just in the way he says “Hallo Britta”, as he does in his northern German baritone voice.
Waves of gratefulness keep arising for finally being able to receive their love just the way they can give it. My lifelong story of being “unloved” has lost its handle on me.
And this is what my prayer is for you for: to be able to be grateful to actually be here, to be YOU, at this point in time, and to be able to know that your particular parents, no matter how poorly they treated you or didn’t show up for you, are the perfect parents for you – because YOU are meant to be here. I for one am grateful to your parents, because without them you would not be part of the Celebration of Being community.
Blessings to you and your whole family.