One thing I have learned over the years is that people want to keep you in a place where they feel most comfortable. Their memories are based on a time when you were how they wanted you to be. And mostly I surmised, to my chagrin was when you were more dependent on them or in a lesser situation.
I laugh hysterically sometimes when I have a family member say, “I know you”…in some kind of way. I laugh because I have not lived for any length of time around any family member in over thirty years. For twenty plus years I visited every couple of years and in the last eleven, usually three or four times a year. And if they were asked to describe me, usually they would describe a teenager or very young woman…because that is how they remember me and for whatever reason that is what they are most comfortable with. Because the truth is we can only usually ‘see’ growth or change if it is of some advantage to us.
The same is particularly true when you are on a spiritual walk. Everyone who knew when you drank, cussed or were up to some other shenanigans are lying in wait to remind you of when you were more ‘wordly’ and will call you hypocrite quicker than they can call your name. Because they knew you when. I kid you not, I have heard people mention someone’s transgressions that are decades old just to try and keep them in their place. I must confess I had to learn not to be hurt by that when someone I love, who professes to love me would fling out some remark about how ‘you used to not go to church, ‘ or you used to be real partial to ‘gin and juice.’ All of which is true. But, I also used to be a newborn baby and not have any gray hair….and as sure as that changed, so can a person.
Actually I understand, because the truth is this, if we are stuck, we struggle with someone who we deemed to be just like us to change. Sometimes, I see people staring at me when they don’t think I am looking, as though they are trying to figure out what the hell happened. And I have literally had people ask, ‘what motivated you to school or that career or to stay married or to write books or to mentor or to…’
Because they literally cannot understand how it happened if it didn’t happen to them. I tell them that faith and work and staying focused did it. Grinning, I say, ‘That even when I didn’t go to church, I believed and prayed. And even when I loved my gin and juice a few times a week, it didn’t stop me from going to school, work etc and doing what was expected of me.’ That usually garners a few shocked giggles, because they weren’t expecting me to be that honest. And then I usually get the standard line, ‘You were always so smart with your head in them books anyway.” True that.
This past weekend I was at the funeral of my aunt, who was almost 100 years old and I saw many people I hadn’t had my eyes on in, probably 35 years. I could literally feel my face burning from the stares. A couple even asked me, “Girl, where in the world have you been living. And how did you get away from here and stay.” I basically smiled telling them that I am in town quite a bit, just don't venture out far from the family. Some asked what I had been up to. I gave them a simple response. “Praising, loving working, trying.”
And that is what I tell the young people I talk to. That one of the hardest things to do is change, be different than those you love and who love you. Because as quiet as it is kept, everyone who professes to love you is not always deliriously happy when you do something different than what they are doing. Whether it is leave home and never move back, or write books or stay married or learn to love Jesus. So try not to take it that personal while on your journey of growth because at the core of it, it is not about how they feel about what you have done, it is how they feel about what they have or have not done. Just sprinkle love and prayer over them like holy water and keep moving….forth.
Angelia Vernon Menchan
Angelia Vernon Menchan is an author, publisher and public speaker who owns two publishing companies, MAMM Productions and Honorable Menchan Media. Mrs. Menchan is also a Budget Officer and former Job Corps Counselor. To date she has published twenty-three books of her own work, both fiction and non-fiction and more than eighty ebook novellas on amazon.com. You can access her bibliography on www.amazon.com search words: Angelia Vernon Menchan
Phone numbers: 904 714 2272 904 303 2679
Phone numbers: 904 714 2272 904 303 2679