I have been thinking about MLK today and his quote - “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.". I don't know if you have grown up with hate, but I have. I cannot remember if it started when I objected at my Mom's wedding to my stepdad at the courthouse. Or if it was before she married my stepdad. I don't know if it was because I did not like him or if it was because he did not like having another mouth to feed.
I was raised in Louisiana where there is still a lot of racism. There was way more than you could ever imagine in this day and time. Or maybe it was just that way in my house and my best friend's house. Maybe it was just their generation. I doubt I will ever know the reason behind so much hatred.
I was not allowed to watch The Cosby Show or Fresh Prince, simply because of their skin color. My stepdad treated all black people as if they were thieves. It was insane in my opinion. I could not understand why people would judge and hate others simply because we are different.
My Dad's side of the family was teaching me that we are all equal, God made each and every one of us and to treat others the way you would want to be treated. My Mom's side of the family was teaching me completely differently, if actions are what we learn.
I find it ironic that my stepdad would talk bad about people on welfare, but he would only work long enough at a paper mill shut down in order to get unemployment, then he would sit at home or enjoy his days on the golf course, while my Mom worked full time to carry insurance on us. How are those two different? I do not see much difference. In fact, I think it's taking advantage of the government, the same way some people that are capable of working choose not to and get on welfare. Is there a difference?
I cannot count on one hand how many times he yelled at me or argued with me until I just gave up. He had to have the last word about everything. He was always right, no matter what the discussion.
I was a reader growing up. My books were my escape from reality. I don't think I will forget him telling people that all I read about was who was kidding who. I felt so humiliated.
The first time he bullied my oldest daughter, I completely lost it. He wanted her to try the peach tea he was drinking. She politely said no thank you. His reply was, why don't you ever do what I ask you to do? There was name calling in there, too. She was probably 10 years old. I stood up to him for once and told him that he may have gotten away with bullying me, but he was but bullying my child. We left his house with my grandmother crying and asking me to just let it go. I had been told since they'd been together to "let it go", "ignore him", "let it go in one ear and out the other", "that's just the way he is, he doesn't know any better", "he's just not happy, so he tries to bring everyone else down" and my favorite "You just don't know how to take a joke". I think my mouth dropped every time I heard "You just don't know how to take a joke". That is what my grandmother said when her daughter, my aunt, said that one of my children would probably grow up to be a child molester. "She was just joking! It was just a joke! You don't know how to take a joke! You need to just let it go.". Then my brother turned out to be a child molester, but that is a family secret. There is shame there. They don't want anyone to know. Because that's unthinkable, but yet they could joke about it and tell me that I don't know how to take a joke.
The day of my brother's funeral, or maybe a few days after, my mind is pretty muddled about that week, my stepdad tried to give me my engagement canvas that had been hanging in their old house for 15 years and told me that it was not going on his walls. This house that my Mom bought and pays for and only has his name on the mortgage because she needed his income counted, my picture is not allowed on "his" walls. My brother just died and what I was hearing was that a reminder of you, is not welcome in his and my mother's house. Do you think she stood up to him? No, because that could cause a conflict. She had her mother, my grandmother, call and ask for the canvas back so my Mom could put it in her office.
I don't think I had ever felt more hated. By my stepdad and partly by my Mom, because I was not important enough to her to stand up to him and say that I am her daughter and my engagement canvas was going in her house.
Hate makes me sick. There is absolutely no place for it, ever. We are commanded to love God and each other. Hate is a waste of time and energy. It separates us from God.
What are your thoughts? Have you dealt with hate in your life? How have you reacted to it? Or are you able to easily let it go?