I’ve never been interested in the kind of peace that comes from burying your head in the sand, or from accepting oppression. These things can look like peace, might even feel like it, but they aren’t true to my Druidic ideals and I try not to go there. That said, there are so many things I cannot fix and have to let go of, because if I took their absence of peace into me, I would go crazy.
It’s one of those curious ironies that the quest for meaningful peace can call for some serious bouts of equilibrium shattering. Steeping way outside my comfort zone seems to be a regular feature. I’ve had a dose of that already today, in the ongoing saga of trying to deal with things between my son and his father. This is not new. I’ve been trying to speak for my son all his life, to explain what he thinks and wants, to support him in getting where he needs to be. For me, this is intrinsic to parenting. How it works, varies, and depends a lot on how people see me. For some I am, or have been, the pushy, demanding mother, over reacting, over emotional, putting my own feelings onto my child and demanding attention through him. I mentioned dark reflections yesterday, and those words have been painfully hard to hear over the years. I’ve heard them from the child’s father, and the child’s father’s girlfriends, from teachers and other professionals. Arguably people who all had something to gain from disbelieving me. But I’ve also found plenty of teachers and other professionals who recognise my lad, understand how he feels, embrace and celebrate what makes him different, and do everything they can to enable him to flourish. It may not be a coincidence that I’ve never had any negative feedback about me, there.
The teacher who blamed me for my child’s distress belonged to a school that went on to send one boy to a special needs school for his behavioural issues, and did not recognise that the other child in the scenario had autism. He’s since got the much needed diagnosis. Maybe if they’d listened to my concerns rather than telling me I’m hysterical, three families would have had the support they needed, rather than leaving them to struggle unrecognised. Peace comes at a price, and often the price is a willingness to sacrifice peace. I’ve gone off at a tangent a bit here.
It’s very hard remaining peaceful, or working for peaceful outcomes when you are hearing things you do not want to hear. It’s easier to reject the message bearer, devalue or demonise them so that they can be safely ignored. It is not easy to take a good hard look at yourself, question your own motives and assumptions, and consider that you may be the one who got it wrong. Of course, in a scenario where one person will do just that, and the other cannot hear they are less than perfect, there tends to be a resultant culture of blame that has nothing to do with who is right, and everything to do with who is self critical and able to bend. In conflict situations, rare are the times when any of us couldn’t have done a better job, one way or another. Sometimes the better job would have been to leave sooner. There is a kind of peace that can be held by believing that you are never wrong and never need to change, but it’s a fragile, unhealthy peace that takes you further and further from consensus reality.
I wrote some words today. They are not new words. They are variations on words that I’ve been saying for all of my child’s life. This is what he needs, how he feels, what he wants. If those words were listened to, it would serve to help the person I like least in the world. But it would also help the child, and that matters more. The quest to bring peace into his life, brings serious disquiet and challenge into mine. But one day, he will reach the point of being old enough and wise enough not to need me to do this for him, and hopefully by then he’ll have enough of an example about what true peace looks like, what is worth fighting for, what should be forgiven and what is just human, that he can go out there and do a good job of things. Got to be worth a go, that.