BODY & SOUL
Now is the time to let go
By Don Short
Most families have secrets of
one sort or another. My mom, when 80 years old, shared with her eight children, on an individual basis, a secret that she had carried for over 60 years. She wanted to make sure we had this information before she died. The secret was that she was pregnant before she married our dad. Then, while pregnant, she was in a car accident that caused her to lose this child. She felt at the time that this was God’s punishment for her and my father having sex before marriage. Growing up in the Mennonite Church in those days required that the individuals caught up in this or other sins to stand in front of the congregation at church and confess their sins. Their shame was very personal and public. Why does this matter if it was over 60 years ago? As I was growing up, I noticed certain attitudes and feelings coming from my mom that I didn’t understand. When she shared this secret it brought much clarity and understanding about mom and our relationship that I didn’t have before. The second thing this secret revealed was that I found out that I was not number seven of eight children, but I was actually number eight of nine children. With this information, I now have a better understanding of my relationship connections or lack of
The way to healing is the way of truth. The truth will set you free. 24
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connections with some of my siblings. This truth brought clarity not shame to all of us siblings. In the Bible, Jesus said, “I
am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father but by me” John 14:6. The way to life is the way of truth. The way to healing is the way of truth. The truth will set you free. There are other times when in telling the truth — the breaking of family secrets — doesn’t seem freeing at all. After many years of being a foster parent and a Christian counselor, I have seen some of the consequences of telling the truth that were very hurtful to the individual. I remember talking to children who were being abused by a family member. The child reported it and told the truth as to what is going on in their family. What happened is that the child was removed by Social Services and the perpetrator was able to stay in the home. This child would frequently ask me, “Why is it when I tell the truth, I am the one that gets punished (removed from the home)?” The problem is that telling the truth for some can be really freeing. Others who are not ready to hear the truth can become vengeful and hurtful, and their response is to reject you. Children keep secrets for their selfprotection, to keep their family relationships intact, and to prevent conflict. They don’t want to be rejected, judged negatively, disappoint anyone or have a relationships ruined. So in considering all this, what is one to do? I would like to make a few suggestions that we as adults can do in dealing with secrets in one’s family (and one’s self).
1. Practice being honest and transparent to your immediate family. Acknowledge past and present failures and struggles. Our spouse and children can sense when things are not right.
2. Learn to address and resolve problems. When we are
honest about our issues, it will open the door to our children and others to connect and find resolution to their issues. If we as parents don’t learn to address and resolve our problems, we pass them on to our children. The sins of our fathers (and mothers) are passed down from generation to generation. Let us be the generation that says, “The lies stop here.”
3. Remember that not everyone is ready for the truth. You can’t force individuals to be ready. Catering to other people’s fear and pain does not help you.
If you have been carrying pain/fear briefly or for several years, now is the time to let it go. See a Christian counselor, speak the truth and get the help that you deserve, regardless of how the rest of your family feels. It is never too late to resolve past issues and find peace. With the guidance of counseling and confessing what happened, one can find their healing. Any comments about this article can be emailed to donshort.lpc@gmail. com or call After Hours Counseling at 337-781-4565.