If you've read through this blog, you'll notice I say something over and over....you have to allow people room to react. I learned this after my husband and I told my family about his HIV status when essentially a bomb went off in our entire family that didn't heal until my daughter was born.
I came across this quote today from author Pema Chodron (from her book When Things Fall Apart), "We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. Its just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy"
A few weeks ago, my husband and I took our daughter for a visit to see my parents. We have all come a long way from the days when they wouldn't speak to me because of my choice to marry my husband. Both my parents have come a long way in letting go of their fears and expectations, and have truly come to accept and love my husband as part of the family. I have been very happy with their progress, and thought they had really come around. My best friend from high school just had a baby, so my husband and I were going to visit the newest little bundle. And then my dad made a remarkably offensive comment. He said "Do you think your friend will feel comfortable having your husband hold her new baby?" I was completely taken aback...and said "Yes dad, she's fine with it, she invited us both over to see the baby." My father replied "But maybe she's not comfortable saying that he shouldn't hold the baby...you know....just in case the baby could catch it."
I was stunned. I was frustrated, I was angry. Here I thought they made all this progress with their fears and ignorance, and then all at once, we take 5 years worth of steps back. I replied, "Haven't you learned by now that you can't 'catch' HIV like that? Why don't you educate yourself before making such an ignorant comment?"
My heart broke all over again and honestly, I felt like packing all our stuff and storming out of their home for another 5 years, and vowing to never let them see my daughter again unless they were ready to fully accept our circumstance and stop being so ignorant.
It took a couple hours but I cooled off. I had to remind myself..."give him room to react, give yourself room to react, remember we all need room to react." Eventually I let it go. It allowed me to understand exactly what Perma Chodron means when she writes:
"...the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again...the healing comes from letting there be room for all this to happen...."
This has been my life's greatest lesson. I hope you will allow room in your life for this lesson as well.