My husband and I are nurturing our inner children. We both had difficult childhoods. It may seem strange but it is never too late to reinvent yourself.

There is nothing about being a parent that means you are competent at it. Often you just continue doing the same stupid thoughtless things that were done to you. You don’t stop being selfish or needy or controlling. So you raise children who are broken because you were broken.

It wasn’t all bad. There were trips to cultural events. Education was encouraged. But how to be human? How to deal with emotions? That was too hard. They didn’t know how to do that.

They did the best they could with what they had. They didn’t know there was more to being an adult than paying the mortgage and cooking dinner. They weren’t intentionally neglectful or abusive. But the damage was still done. And it still has to be undone.

I’m grateful that we both were aware enough of our weaknesses to decide to never have children. We didn’t want to continue the cycle. Slowly we are learning ways to heal ourselves.

We have teddy bears. They have names and stories. We drink tea every Sunday evening with the bears, and afterwards we read a children’s story. This may not be what adults usually do, but it is healing. I’m starting to think that everybody should keep their teddy bears. More bears, less drug abuse. We all need something to hold on to when times get difficult.

There is a lot that is hard about being an adult who never had a healthy childhood. There aren’t a lot of instructions on how to heal your inner child. There is a lot of shame involved. It is hard to admit that you need help. You have to learn how to grow up backwards. I think there are a lot of people who have to do this. Maybe we should start a club so we don’t feel alone.

Maybe we should also start a 12 step program for people who have escaped from church, for the same reasons.

Poem – the key in the rubble.

Just by being stubborn
you can get to be the person you have been.

Many people have to be able to do the work.
Maybe they should not be afraid.

We have buildings in our childhoods.
We have buildings in our hearts.

Inside each person is the key,
located in the middle of an argument,
buried under the pain of grief.

Our pain is our teacher.
Our hurt is our healing.

Without judgment
without fear
without turning away

look into your life.

Look into your own building site
among the abandoned rooms,
the peeling paint,
the broken bricks,

and find your heart

Mirror People

In the “Rules for Being Human” there is this – “Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate anything about another person that you do not love or hate about yourself.”

This means in part that if you are at peace and comfortable with yourself, then you will be at peace and comfortable with everyone you meet.

Whatever you see in another person that you admire, use that as a signal to work on that quality – improve it, strengthen it, deepen it.

Conversely, whatever you see that you dislike, work on that too. Whatever annoys you about another person – whatever quality or quirk, is actually a trait in yourself that you dislike. This is a great tool for self-improvement. That quality is what you most need to work on in yourself.

And there is yet another way. Make peace with yourself, just as you are. Accept it as the way things are. Instead of fighting against your nature, accept it as it is. A lot of our stress comes from trying to change things that are just simply that way.

Marianne Williamson tells us “The way of the miracle-worker is to see all human behavior as one of two things: either love, or a call for love.” With this mirror technique, the way to self and world improvement is seen by examining your reaction to other people. However you react, it is either with love, or a call to love. It is either something that draws you in, or repulses you. If it repulses you, it is something to work on – either fix that quality in yourself, or fix your reaction to it by making peace with it.

In this way, even annoying people and situations are blessings.

Dig down deep to the roots. Why do you feel this way? Who made you feel this? Love it. Love that feeling, in all the brokenness and pain. Love it, because that brokenness is how the light of healing, the light of God can get in.