Cardio exercise is a great stress reliever. When I was juggling my job with raising children and running interference with an emotionally unhealthy spouse, I learned that a ½ hour jog could press my reset button to calm as if I had taken a medicine. The endorphins released are medically shown to have that effect. These days when I add to my jog Messianic Jewish music playing through my headphones and conversations with HaShem . . . well, the experience is transformative.
This morning as I was breezing through the news I ran across a story of a woman about my age who thought she was 100% Ashkenazic Jewish, only to find out that the father who raised her was not her father. Apparently genealogy tracing through 23andme.com and ancestry.com has become a booming industry. This story led me to one after another of similar stories, of adults my age confronting 90-plus year old parents and asking about their true paternity, among other family secrets. My heart broke as I read of women who had lived most of their adult lives very God-centered, but having had a child born out of wedlock as a teen, only to be now, at the end of their days, estranged from their adult children who felt betrayed. Sadly, the sons and daughters felt they could have forgiven the moral lapses had their parent been honest. The schisms were created by the sons’ and daughters’ feelings of having lived lives that were lies for they didn’t really know who they were, who the rest of their families were.
Although I have no doubt of my parentage, the quest led me to Google one of my cousins with whom I had lost touch. Interestingly, last summer a distant relative contacted me as she was using ancestry.com and I learned through her that my cousin had died in 2008. I also learned from her that his life had left a tainted legacy as she alluded to his alleged involvement in white collar crime. This morning as I Googled his name, I became more and more sad as I read the details of his disbarment. I have not been a stranger to hearing these types of stories, but this one hit hard, for it was a toxic secret impacting his family and jarring my memory of him. I did not learn the details through my closer relatives, but rather, through media reports. As I read of the sons and daughters learning of their true parentage, I, too, felt that pang, for it was not just the facts of what happened, it was the betrayal of trust for keeping it a secret within the family.
I felt a welling up of hurt, probably not just due to the information about my cousin, but resulting from the touch of that secret to other hidden untruths. The new discoveries reopened old wounds of other toxic secrets within our family that sear the heart when learned. The new one reopened an unhealed scar needing HaShem’s touch. I put on my sneakers and headphones and had to run. Thankfully, our Abba had provided a gloriously sunny day and beautiful views by the shore to calm my soul as we spoke.
As always, the music ministered to me, each song seemingly to speak to what was on my heart. “God has redeemed Israel”. I need to remember Yeshua has taken these sins. “Enter His Gates with thanks in your heart”. I’m trying. “Shout for joy to the Lord.” Working on it.
But perhaps the final ministering words were most important: “If I could get one thing right. It would be to see him/me through His eyes. . . . to see the spark of divinity. . . that we are all family. . . “
I pictured my cousin as a boy when we would all play together. I remembered his innocent child’s face, his chubby cheeks, his amazing laugh. And I cried. And cried. For when HaShem sees us, how he must cry. We are all His so very flawed children. I was able to see my cousin through His eyes, as a child. The rest is between him and HaShem.
As the New Year starts, I encourage you to unlock the family secrets. The opportunities for conversation to lead to understanding will be blessings. Seeing them this way may take time, maybe years. Yet the choice to do otherwise can only lead to more hurt than is already festering in those boxes of darkness.
Ring in a fresh start! Shine light into the recesses of our souls. It will free both the possessor and receiver of these truths as they are laid at the feet of Yeshua.
Have a year filled with blessings and Shabbat shalom.