Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Advice Gratefully Accepted

Ok, I've got this issue, and it's bugging me.

30 years ago or so, I met a woman at work who just "clicked" with me on all sorts of levels. She was smart and funny and shared a lot of my same interests. We worked in the same department, about 10 ft. from one another for many months, doing the same kind of work and became very close friends. (No, this is not some "self-outting") She and I were like sisters. We went to the same (at the time) denomination church, both were fairly newlyweds, and I was driven to become friends with her.

Over time, we both had children, and she asked me to be the godmother to her oldest - my godson "R".

During my divorce, she and her Husband graciously and unselfishly gave me and Amanda sanctuary until I could get my act together enough to hire a lawyer, pack my stuff and leave the state. I can never, EVER, repay that, even though I've spent a lot of time trying to "pay it forward" with others.

During her time of crisis, I said and did a few things that at the time seemed to be of some assistance to her. Certainly not to the extreme that she and her hubby had been to me, but it SEEMED to be helpful at the time.

Unfortunately, "J" and I drifted apart ideologically - especially as regards those two Verboten topics - Religion and Politics. J became a rabid follower of Rush Limbaugh and virulently anti-feminist, anti-choice, anti-gay and anti-liberal. I, on the other hand, drifted more to the so-called "liberal" side, feeling that people should have the ability to make their OWN bad choices, to get assistance where needed, and that a woman NEEDS a man in much the same way as a fish NEEDS a riding lawnmower - and finally made the decision that Christianity as currently and historically practiced is not something that I espouse.

In spite of all this, I still cared very deeply for J and her family, and tried to tread as lightly as possible over the sensitive topics/areas. I never once indicated to her children that I had even the slightest variance from straight-line LCMS doctrine, and quietly refrained from argument with her on political issues.

About 4 or 5 years ago, this all came to a head. J laid into me with both barrels, reading me chapter & verse from the Gospel according to Limbaugh, calling me a Femnazi, accusing me of all sorts of vile things - and saying that I devalued her because I did not share her religious or political beliefs. The icing on the cake was when I told her flat out what I think about George Walker Bush. She countered that he is a GOOD, HONEST, CHRISTIAN man and that I was a horrible human being for not agreeing.

With a heavy heart, I severed the relationship. I told her that I would not take the abuse any longer, that I was quite tired of pussyfooting around her prejudices and bigotry, and that obviously we had grown in such opposite directions that it was better we just ended all contact.

J continued to send Xmas gifts for a while - then she just sent the semi-mandatory "Gosh, Aren't We Just Living Lives That Are Too Perfect" Xmas letters. Until last week.

Last week I got a very beautiful engraved graduation announcement for my godson's graduation. I certainly am NOT going to attend, as it would mean flying to Denver and staying in a hotel and ... well... confronting J.

Part of me says to just let it lie... let it go... forget it.
Part of me says to just send a nice Hallmark card and forget it.
Part of me says to just send a nice Hallmark card with a check and forget it.



Peacechick Mary said...

I wonder if the godson insisted you get an invitation. We can hope that he needs reinforcement knowing that there is one sane person out there who cares about him. Best to err on the side of forgiveness and send him something - keep the avenues open in case he wants to become his own man and not follow his parents ridged belief system.

Thanks for your support and encouragement on my recent OHare trauma. I think I'm just not a big city person anymore.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

Last week I got a very beautiful engraved graduation announcement for my godson's graduation. I certainly am NOT going to attend, as it would mean flying to Denver and staying in a hotel and ... well... confronting J.
I'm often in the same dilemma, as nearly all of my family are Jesus Freaks. I measure it this way: How close are the kids to me? Do they espouse the JF crap? (If so, automatic NO!) What "escape" routes are available to me, should the heat become unbearable? You might, if time permits, send your Godson a letter, explaining in frank detail your problems, and asking him what he would like. Occasionally, I get this letter back saying "Please come, Uncle Dan. Mom and Dad are So full of shit I can't stand it." I make every effort to attend those. It's a sticky situation that there's no one easy answer for.

a woman NEEDS a man in much the same way as a fish NEEDS a riding lawnmower
ROTFL!!! Love your turn of phrase there!:) Incredibly, so many men seem to think She's been without sex for ___, it's time she had a man in her life. Or, you can't "exist" on your own. Sigh....delusional chauvinism is alive and well...(:

"pay it forward"
SO many people want to "solve" that with money. When I lived in Michigan, I drove four wheel drive trucks for years. They pulled many a grateful soul out of ditches and snowbanks. They also left many assholes IN said ditches and snowbanks, but I digress.:) I used to tell one and all, when they offered money: No thanks. Do a favor yourself, the next time you see somebody that needs one. They'd look at me like my lobotomy hadn't healed properly!...(:

BBC said...

"the Gospel according to Limbaugh."

Ha, ha, ha.


Fuck, I don't know, get a riding lawnmower? ROFLAMAO

What in the hell are you asking for suggestions for? We know that you don't give a shit what we think.

*pulling Sews leg*

Leandra said...

I've met so many men who are so insulted by the idea that women don't need men and, if they thought about it, visa versa. Need implies an inability to survive without one. Men are nice to have around, as you know, as long as they don't spend too much time with their heads up their anal orifices. Then again I guess that's the reason plate glass belly buttons were invented.

I would definitely acknowledge the announcement at least with a very nice card and a personal message. That opens the door. It's up to her to walk through it, apologize, and stop being a jerk. Given her orientations, that's not likely. Being insufferable is sort of a malady of many overly institutionalized Christians. I've often theorize it's because once you give up your right to think for yourself and question everything, it's really difficult to get it back.

lynn said...

Send the card, its not fair to begrudge the kid because the mom is judgemental and bigoted. I always try to make sure I acknowledge things that kids do...until they are grown up at least!

Many people cant change their parents views and for the sake of peace just agree to live and let live.

The problems are with people that cannot do that, sounds like you had no choice.

Its VERY hard to get along in that situation. its too bad when it turns out that way, I;ve been there and am like you politically, and I just got tired of certain friends wanting to "save me" from hell or some shit.

Good luck.

Sewmouse said...

Welcome, Lynn, and thanks to all for your comments.

I think this may be the best road: Just a card with a one-liner handwritten and then a small check. I don't want to open the door for J anymore - she burned the bridge.

"J" said...

There are two times I was truly and deeply grateful for something you did for me. The first was when my son was born and I wasn’t getting enough sleep. Although I myself was a schedule fed baby, the fad of the moment was to feed on demand. The problem with demand feeding is that you don’t always know that every cry is for food. You recommended that I do a schedule but I couldn’t find any info on that to help me since it wasn’t in vogue. You helped me to ease into that and I was truly, truly grateful. The other time was when I was miscarrying the pregnancy between the births of my two kids. Your presence was comforting and your help with my chores allowed me to stay in bed and try to save my baby. I lost the baby anyway, but I was deeply grateful for your help nonetheless.
I am finally ready to let you go entirely, that clearly being your wish. It will also be less painful for me. But, as I am unable to reconcile your incredible meanness with your incredible kindness, I will not choose to remember the ugliness. I will choose to remember those two times that I was deeply grateful to you and I will mourn the passing of someone who was once my friend.