All those years I could have been spending with my mother and father, were spent in the cult, far away from home. I basically wrote them off–the family that cared about me–for a counterfeit family that was only contingent on my staying in. So what am I left with today? My parents who loved me are dead; my sister (in a nearby city) is not as close to me as she was many years ago before I joined. (The relationship slowly went downhill because I didn’t maintain it.) When I think about how much closer we all could have been if I hadn’t gotten sidetracked with Herbert Armstrong’s lies, it causes me so much sadness. I threw away the most important thing I had, and that was my family. In some ways I blame myself because I didn’t appreciate them as I should have. I was young, confident, thinking I had all the answers. Now it’s all so clear what I had.
My mother and father never stopped loving me and stayed in contact through letters all those years. I chose the Feast of Tabernacles over taking trips to visit them and then I thought “they” were the ones being selfish when they complained that I hadn’t been back to see them in years, but always went to our “church meetings” regularly. After I moved back home, I still rarely visited them. How much pain I must have caused them I will never know.
What has helped me even more to perceive what I lost was by reading through some old letters I had kept from some of my family. (It’s a wonder I didn’t throw them all away, along with everything else I scrapped.) That and thinking back on how much they actually did for me. It’s tragic how we can’t see how much we have at the time. I always thought my father was “too strict” or pushing in on my life. In the meantime, I wasted years not appreciating what he wanted to do for me and how much he did care.
The only consolation I can hang onto is that in Heaven (and I truly believe there is a Heaven) everything will be set right. The family will be restored, the love will be deeper than before, the tears will be gone, and we will be able to start over. In the past I shoved my parents and sister out of my mind, believing that the time to look forward to was the 2nd resurrection when their eyes would be “opened”; something I know now is totally false.
Today is the day to appreciate those who truly love us. Today is the day to love them. Recognize the blessings you have and don’t let them slip away as I did.
By P. L.
Exit & Support Network™
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” ~Revelation 21:4