NOTE: If you have not taken the opportunity to read these two posts about my relating to things in my brain through colors please visit: Embracing My Colorful Self and Self Awareness, Self Observation and Hearing God before reading this post.
In the movie “Hope Floats,” Travis is a young boy living with his grandmother because his mother abandoned him to pursue an acting career in California.
Travis spends much of his time in costumes created by his grandmother where he pretends to be something or someone different than a child abandoned by his mother. Travis, in turn, abandons his reality and creates another one through these costumes to avoid the painful reality that his mother really didn’t want him.
In one particular scene the family is seated around the dinner table and Travis is dressed up like a frog. They eat their soup out of bowls made from tortoise shells. When the grandmother asks, “How’s your dinner, Kermit?”
Travis responds in a frog voice, “Good.”
“Well, we seem to be the only ones enjoying it. Did you ever see two such mopes?”
She points to her daughter, Travis’ Aunt Birdie, along with his cousin, Bernice, and says, “That’s a mope, and that’s a mope.”
Ramona Calvert shares how difficult and pointless her life is, but she chooses to be happy. She goes on to encourage them to brighten up and then she says, “Look at Kermit here … Do you think it’s easy being green?”
Later in the movie Birdie explodes at her mother. “I had to be pleasing, Mama. With the town joke as a mother. I had to be pleasing, when you’d come flounce yourself into school with your roadkill hat and your freshly skinned bag, Mom. I learned how to be pleasing.”
Her mom snaps back. “You’re pleasing nobody. You’re miserable, yourself, and I’ve never been unhappy. So the joke is on you, honey.”
Clearly it was not easy being part of the Calvert family.
Green in my brain family represents all things related to my family of origin. God and my own growing up have contributed to a great deal of healing in my life and my relationship with family. Still, growing up in a 70’s era household with parents who loved hard and fought even harder can be a traumatic thing. I knew from my very first collage when I saw a picture of “Kermit the Frog” in the area where Green had turned up in my brain map that he came to say, “It’s not easy being part of this family.”
But, if you polled even the Cleavers or the Nelsons I think you would find that they would also say, “It ain’t easy being a family.”
Families made up of individuals with different dispositions and personality types can be wonderful and dysfunctional all at the same time. The same holds true for me and my family.
Green had a problem after Gray left. Green thought I didn’t need her anymore. Her fear and anger rolled around inside of me for a few days before I finally collaged her with Pink. Turns out Green took on the attributes that a lot of the women in my family carried.
- Green is strongly connected to family.
- She even idolizes the family.
- Family history is very important to Green.
- Family is the only thing that matters to Green.
I knew addressing Green’s feelings and memories would be difficult at best and even painful if I dug in hard. Dr. Mungadze helped me to understand that Green had a couple of problems that I would need to help her along with in terms of understanding. The first area we would need to work on would be Green’s connection to Gray, and the idea that I wanted to get rid of Green like I’d gotten rid of Gray. The second thing would be introducing Green to the beneifts of God’s family.
I’m going to share most of my dialogue and praying through my Green color because it really is a powerful thing that God did in this exchange for Green and for Me.
ME: Green, are you there?
GREEN: Yes. Are you going to make me leave, too?
ME: No. Pink chose to leave, I’ll let you go when you choose to go, but not before.
GREEN: It makes me really sad.
ME: I know it does. Tell me about what’s happening with you.
GREEN: Well.. first Gray left and then Blue released all the pictures… and Purple… well it just doesn’t feel safe anymore.
ME: Why doesn’t it feel safe?
GREEN: B’cause Gray has always been with me.
ME: What do you mean?
GREEN: B’cause we’re family. You know… WE. ARE. FAM-I-L-EE.
ME: Green, Pink, Blue, Purple, Red, Yellow, Aqua, and Brown are our family in here, Gray was not our family. Green, Gray lied to me.
GREEN: So. He has been here as long as I remember. That means he’s family.
ME: No. He moved in and for a while I agreed for him to stay, but Gray wanted to hurt us… all of us.
GREEN: NO! Gray wanted to hurt YOU! I’m different than YOU!
ME: How are we different, Green?
GREEN: I take care of myself. I keep the family records, and I even know a lot of the history. Knowledge is power, and I’m powerful.
ME: Green, do you ever get tired?
GREEN: What do you mean?
ME: I mean, do you ever get tired of thinking so much?
GREEN: Sometimes…sometimes I wish I’d forget.
ME: Green, how old are you?
(At 12, my maternal grandmother died, my cousin’s fiancée was murdered, my uncle and his entire family was killed in a car accident, and at the end of that year I received Christ as my Savior and was baptized. This was the second or third year of regular church attendance for my entire family in my life.)
ME: Green, why is family important?
GREEN: B’cause it tells us who we are. The genes, the DNA – even the way we look is tied to them. If we don’t have family – who are we? Orphans?
ME: What about me is like my family?
GREEN: You like to argue like your dad. You look like your dad’s mom and your mom. You have a quick temper. You like to tell stories. You like to be the best at what you do. You press through and don’t give up. Your son died. You had sex before you married. You love hard. Your eyes are brown. You have back problems. You can be a bully with your words. Shall I go on?
ME: That’s enough. I guess when I hear all that there’s a lot of pain there.
GREEN: Well… It’s true.
ME: Green, those are the facts, but they are not who I am.
GREEN: How so?
ME: When I had my love encounter with Jesus in 2003 He began to show me who He created me to be?
GREEN: You meant that knit us together in your mother’s womb CRAP?
ME: You were here when Blue met Jesus?
GREEN: Yes, and I was none too happy. Did you see what He did to our tree? The roots have been cut.
ME: Green, I asked Jesus to sever the roots. The tree is sick and we have to treat it at the roots before God can heal us.
GREEN: I like us the way we are.
GREEN: We’re real, I can be myself. Change scares me.
ME: What has to change?
GREEN: I don’t know. You changed husbands, lots of times (promiscuity), you changed churches, houses… You even change the way you look all the time. I can’t even keep up anymore. I don’t like it. You want me to change families now?
ME: Do you want to change?
GREEN: I don’t know.
ME: What are you afraid of – really?
GREEN: That for this change to happen I have to die.
ME: Who told you that?
GREEN: They didn’t have to tell me. I know.
ME: What do you know?
GREEN: You’ve been trying to get rid of me for a long time now.
ME: I don’t believe that is true. I love my family and I value them and I value you. Good or bad my experiences with them have shaped who I’ve come to be, but God’s family has also help shape me into who I am.
ME: They love me for who I am, not what I do.
ME: They help me overcome the bad things that happen, like Justin dying, with God’s good.
GREEN: I remember. It was like that whole church had a son, brother, grandson die. That really was incredible. I mean, your — MY Family — was there for you, too.
ME: Of course they were. They always have been. But I need both my natural family and my church family.
GREEN: I guess you are right. Where does that leave me?
ME: What if you’re wrong about Jesus, Green?
GREEN: What can I do to change that?
ME: Would you like to talk to Jesus, Green?
GREEN: Do you think He can help me?
ME: I do, but you have to choose.
GREEN: Okay. Will you take me to Jesus?
ME: Jesus, Green wants to talk to you.
JESUS: Hello, Green.
GREEN: Jesus, is what Michelle said true?
JESUS: About what exactly?
GREEN: We need the church family just like we need our natural family?
JESUS: Yes, Green. It’s true.
JESUS: Because when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they stopped looking to me for what they needed. Do you understand?
GREEN: I think. Bob Hamp taught us about this. He said it is the problem you came to solve… Right?
JESUS: Yes, that is right?
GREEN: So how does that help me?
JESUS: Well, because all mankind is born with the same problem, God the Father made a way so if I died and rose again alive then you could be adopted as His daughter.
GREEN: But what about the rest of our family?
JESUS: Because Michelle has chosen to let Me deal with the roots you are able to stay close to them.
GREEN: But didn’t you say people who follow you have to leave their family behind?
JESUS: Yes, I did. But those families hurt you like my own family rejected Me and those who followed Me. Michelle’s family isn’t doing that.
[Omitted due to family issues that I do not have permission to disclose.]
GREEN: So, we can have two families?
JESUS: Two that are really one.
GREEN: Okay! Does this mean I can go with Pink?
JESUS: Michelle, Green would like to go with Pink. How do you feel about that.
ME: Grateful. Green you’ve been the glue that has held us together, but now that you have chosen Jesus, He can take care of that for us now.
GREEN: So, I can go now?
ME: Green, you will be a part of me always. The part that connects me to both my family and God’s family. I love and the families you represent. You can go now.
GREEN: (hugs me tight) Thank you.
ME: Go in peace.
GREEN: I’m ready, Jesus.
JESUS: I have some really cool archives I want to show you. It’s all about Michelle’s family’s hall of faith.
GREEN: Cool! Can Pink come, too?
JESUS: She’s already there. Let’s go.
ME: Goodbye, Green.
Green and Pink joined my core identity by joining me in accepting Jesus. I now feel more free to embrace the wonderful things about my family while learning not to give into the negative patterns, renounce and come out of agreement with generational roots of iniquity and dysfunction, and learning to love myself as a part of them.
Even though it’s not easy being a part of my family… It’s so worth it. I would not be who I am today without them.