This morning I received a bunch of photographs of an event which was a birthday party for one of my three siblings. I was invited but chose to decline.
I read a different holy scripture every day, and today the Bible was on top of the pile.
I randomly opened the book and read Psalm 69 verse 8: “I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children.”
So, what’s new? My life path took me out of the country of my birth for eighteen years, and I realised that ensuring the family ties remain in place was up to me. I phoned each of my three siblings every two months to ask about their welfare, and also on the birthdays of the siblings, their spouses and their offspring. My calls were always to share good news and ask about their wellbeing.
I assured myself that they never called me because it was expensive to make a call to the other side of the world. When I was reminded that a text message was quite cheap and they did not use those, I steered my thoughts into a different direction.
Then I moved back to my country of birth, believing that we would have a lot more family time. Since my move back, I have not once been invited to the home of any of them. When two of them were in my home, it was for the purpose of getting free accommodation, attending a belated birthday dinner which I had to arrange for myself, or sharing in my misery (assuming that a broken foot necessarily meant misery for me, when in fact I just got on with life while the foot healed). This has been the sum total of three years of “family time”.
I stopped calling every two months, because I realised that I was the optional extra who barged in where I was not welcome. This had nothing to do with geographical distance or the cost of a phone call or text message. I did get some phone calls when help was needed to deal with inheritance issues or when woe befell them. I did not ever get phone calls from any of them asking about my wellbeing.
Also, over the past three years I had to deal with two suicide attempts from my only child. The first one was when he was forty and I told him he needed to get a job and accommodation, because I simply could no longer afford to carry him and his family financially. His response was to take an overdose, and when he recovered, he sent me text messages indicating how I had failed as a mother and destroyed his life. He told me in person while he was in hospital that I was to blame for his decision to end his life. I don’t know who he blamed for the second failed attempt. Apparently, he has since then found Jesus, and I am happy for him.
Nothing prevents me from offering sincere prayers for protection of these people that I love. However, I have moved on and I am now focusing fulltime on my spiritual practice and making the world a better place.