Friday, July 11, 2014

I Am Petty, Hard-Hearted, and Haunted by My Past

Yes, yes, that's right. No sugar-coating on old Annie. Her current resentments and old baggage combine to create a pungent potion of pettiness!

I've had three readers for almost a decade, but I recently added another ... so here's an old story:

My sister arranged my dad's funeral and told me that her pastor would deliver a homily. At the time, Sis was attending a Pentecostal church. Long story short, Dad's funeral turned into an old-time revival meeting, with that abominable pastor preaching from the pulpit that Heaven was like Hershey Park (a local amusement park). You had to have money for a ticket to get through the turnstile. If you get to the turnstile with no money, you're going to be sent away.

I was a Pagan at the time of that sermon, and my sister knew it. There I sat, seething, while a man I didn't know used my dear agnostic father's funeral to warn me that I was headed for Hell.

Over the years, Sis has just kept bringing up that sermon. Over and over. Sort of seeking forgiveness from me, I suppose. But hold on! I'm petty and hard-hearted! I'm not going to forgive that.

Well ... sure I would have, except that Sis brought it up again at the Spoutwood Fairie Festival, the last place on Earth I would ever want to talk about that. On this occasion, she said, "Pastor John was very proud of that sermon. He told me, 'Oh, wait until you hear it!'"

During the course of the Fairie Festival (Sis stayed in my hotel room, gratis, and let it be known that we needed to keep to her schedule), I said a few things about Drum and Splash, and Four Quarters Farm in general. Yes! I am petty and hard-hearted! I let her know, in a roundabout way, that there was a Pagan campground within an easy drive of her McMansion.

No surprises from my sister. About six weeks before Drum and Splash, she sent me a message: "Have you ever been to a Moon Ceremony at Four Quarters Farm?" She could only have found out about their Rituals by checking out the site.

So I unsheathed the rapier and let her have it.

Petty Anne #1:
I told her that I didn't mind having her in my hotel room for the Fairie Festival gratis until I saw her outfit herself in about $600 worth of costuming over three days.

Petty Anne #2:
I told her that I work overtime, long hard hours in November, to pay for Drum and Splash, and I did not want to be her cruise director there or see her arrive with a $400 djembe.

Petty Anne #3:
I asked her why she would want to go to a Pagan gathering, given her religious background. What would her husband and son think? What was she looking for that her community of Christians might not be providing? Was she ready for the consequences? Which led to.....

Petty Anne Maximum Ride:
What would Pastor John say? Would she be squandering her Hershey Park ticket money on a different amusement park? And while on the subject of Pastor John, Annie never wants to hear about him again, EVER. He's a despicable man who knowingly stabbed at me at a time when I was grieving. Maybe he had the best intentions, but even so, in all my life, I had never heard a message like that at a funeral. And I have been to Mennonite funerals. (They mostly sing.)

Petty Anne's Baggage:
When Sis and I were kids, my mother was mentally ill. From about age 8, I was expected to parent Sis, entertain her, and give her whatever she wanted from my possessions. Until some children her age moved into the area, I was completely hamstrung by caring for her. Therefore, when she dogged my every step at the festival I save for all year, I felt that same childhood frustration. And when she asked me about Four Quarters Farm, I saw the writing on the wall. She wanted more entertainment from me. She saw another opportunity to re-enact a childhood that was pretty happy for her, and absolutely miserable for me.

Long story short, Sis is not speaking to me. I blame myself, petty, hard-hearted Anne.

On the other hand, it feels good to let her know that childhood is over, and that she can't cry poverty in May and visit the Grand Canyon for the third time with her family in June.

I honestly don't mind at all if she starts going to Moon Services and becomes a Pagan. But I'm not going to hold her hand and show her how.  Sis can't help how our childhoods mapped out, but she's a grownup now. Time to find her own way and pay for it too.

It's just about the same thing I expect of my daughters. So maybe I'm not as petty as all that.


Lucretia said...

That is NOT petty, and neither are you. To misquote the bible, she asked, and now she has received; she knocked, and got knocked on. Time for her to grow up, as you said.

Now I hope maybe you can drop some of that baggage and feel a LOT lighter! :-)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Baggage is a terrible thing. We all have it.

Laura said...

I don't think that is petty. I think it is fair. You deserve to live your life and she should live hers. I probably would have made a scene with her at the funeral or at least let her have it afterword in private. Family is had to deal with a lot of times.


not petty,not petty at all..your a better pagan than I am..I would have not stayed for the sermon and would have called him a spiteful ole asshole when I walked out..I'm sure your daddy would have approved..I know I would.

Anonymous said...

Rodger C said:

IMO You did exactly the right thing. But was your sister conscious or unconscious that she was trying to re-create her childhood at your expense? It could make a difference in how you explain your feelings to her.

Anti Kate said...

I think I'm your 6th reader and am commenting to be supportive. Family can be really annoying.

You are allowed to protect your own life and experience from those who won't/don't respect it. And maybe particularly so from family.