Sunday, June 18, 2017

Anything for Mama

“For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.”
     ~ Psalm 40:12

I practice Hindu meditation and yoga four to five times a week. When I tell some Christians this, a look of fear comes over their faces. They warn me that meditation and yoga are dangerous because Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. They believe meditation and yoga is a form of deity worship. I always want to tell them that Shiva, Shakti and other Hindu deities do not threaten my relationship with God any more than Yoruba or Greek deities do. What threatens my relationship with God is maternal worship. From adolescence to 36 years old, I unconsciously fashioned my mother into my very own golden calf. I even sculpted a golden altar, so I could sacrifice my hopes and dreams at her feet. My mother was my raison d’etre. She was my god, and I didn’t even know it.

By placing my mother before God, I violated the first three Commandments. I idolized my mother since I have had a memory. The man who abused me said he would kill my mother if I ever told her what he had done. He had been to prison before he met my sister—a felony charge, I don’t know what crime specifically. When I spent the weekends by my sister’s house, I watched as he took out his “special” box, rolled joints and smoked marijuana; I watched as he cut lines of coke on a mirror, rolled a twenty-dollar bill and snorted them; I watched as he punched my sister until blood flowed from her nose like water from a faucet. So, when he threatened to kill my mother if I told, I believed him. I absorbed the shock waves of trauma he imposed on me, and I did it without complaint. While he destroyed fragments of my spirit, I repeated two things in my head over and over again: the “Our Father” and “For mama. Anything for my mama.”

I may have been powerless to protect myself, but I could protect the most important person in the world. I had the rational of a child—that’s all I knew to do, but I continued these unhealthy, enmeshed patterns well into adulthood after I knew better. As an adult, the sin of placing my mother before God manifested in anger, rage, resentment and disconnection from God and my non-familial loved ones. I have pushed my husband and best friends away so many times, I have lost count. I have started to use tools to mitigate this unhealthy habit, but every day is a challenge. 

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