Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Friday, 22 December 2017

Advent Calendar XXII

I have written a lot over Advent about my heavenly Father, and quite right too since Advent is a Christian Festival in preparation for Christmas, but we will often think of Christmas as a time for Children and a time for Family, I will not be spending any of Christmas with my family this year. My Brothers will be doing their own things, and my wife and daughter will both be spending Christmas with their Mother.   This is not a plead for sympathy, I will not be alone but will be with a very good friend, no it is more of an introduction to some thoughts on family.

I have heard so many incidents recently of families split through lack of acceptance, parents who will not accept their transgender or gay child, and end up excluding themselves from their child's life. grand parents cut off from their grandchildren through marriage breakdowns and enmity.   Personally, both as a parent and a child I simply can't understand how people can bare to be separated from the love of their parents, children or siblings.   Now my own family has hardly been a beacon of functionality, but we do communicate, we do make an effort to be nice to each other, even if many of us do have problems with displays of affection we mostly do our best.  

Gerard van Honthorst
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We contemplate what it must have been like to be born in such humble circumstances, we think of the Shepherds coming in adoration, we think of the wise men bringing gifts, we think of Mary tired but happy, we think about the angels singing ~ but very little thought goes to Joseph.   Joseph is pivotal to the whole of Jesus Birth and life, he modeled how to be a man, he trusted not only God but also Mary, he trained Jesus into his trade and gave him the necessary love and support to undertake His ministry.   Yet after the nativity story we hear nothing of Joseph, he is allowed to disappear form the story.

Yesterday I had a couple of experiences which reminded me just how much I miss my own Father, he died over 25 years ago, yet not a week will pass when I don't miss him.   I will see something and think "I must tell Dad about...." or I will want to ask for his opinion or advise.   In our family it was Dad we went to for affection, Mum was the practical one but Dad was more likely to give us a hug or a sweet. My Mother is still alive, but is now in a nursing home with advanced Alzheimer's, so I now often find that there are things I want to talk to Mum about as well but can't any more, her advise, her experience, maybe even her blessing. Neither of my parents met the authentic me as I now am, I am sure they would have struggled with the very concept of transgender, never mind that one of theirs would be trans.   I am also quite sure that they would have loved and cherished me whatever.

El Greco
When my first school couldn't teach me to read and wanted to send me to a "special school" (for the educationally subnormal as it was so delightfully known back in the 60s) my Mother taught me to read and got me into the school where she taught.   When I was the first in my family to learn an orchestral instrument and needed support and help, they were with me all the way.   When I decided against the expectation of University they stood by me and supported me.   So I am quite sure they would have supported me now.   In turn it is my duty as well as my joy to support my daughter as she works out who she is, what she wants to do with her life, and maybe who she wants to spend it with.   Whatever she chooses I will do my best to support and love her, maybe I will do a bit better now that I can also love and support myself.

My Father modeled to me how to be a man and a father, through his behaviour he has also shown me, at least in part, of what it means to be a woman. I hope that with the help and unconditional love of my heavenly Father I can mange to show my daughter what it means to be honest and true to yourself, to satisfy your own innermost needs and through that be a loving caring authentic person herself.

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