Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Seeing The Light...In Black & White

This was posted before I presented the "contract" to the Gomez family. It was apparent almost immediately that the children might "sign" the contract but they had no intention of abiding by it, or really even reading it. I believe we honestly tried our best. God forgive our failings.
I thought it was over last night.

I thought Amy and I were going to have to part ways with the Gomez clan and I told them so. No details are necessary, but we've had some ongoing issues, primarily with really the only rule I have in my house - respect everyone who lives here.

I can't imagine how difficult it's been for Lee and the kids and we've gone a long way to forgive, forget, and not freak out. Sometimes, though, we fail. It's difficult for us too... often.

Last night, the failures seemed too frustrating and far too frequent to put behind us again. I called Gordon in a panic and said, "ENOUGH!" Within minutes we had made arrangements to move the family to a hotel of sorts down the road until their apartment is ready in a month or so. I hated it, but I didn't see any other way. Amy's health is an issue... I can't have her stressed. My work is an issue; I'm leading a transition team that will alter the way we do our jobs dramatically. With Klondike's health, our foundation failing, and our financial burdens, life seemed to be too burdensome to have to put up with disrespect on top of it. I truly felt that maybe less reliance on us is what the Gomez family needed - and I'm still not certain that belief is in error.

But I was furious at myself for being furious. Make no mistake, I'm still angry, but I also remember what my brother-in-law Mike (all my brothers-in-law are named Mike, but he's the eldest by a year) told me once when I was feeling I wasn't being "Christian" enough in dealing with something frustrating. I don't even remember what I was frustrated about, but he said, "Even Jesus turned over the tables once in a while."

So last night I turned over the tables. I let them have it. I assured Lee we would still stand by her but at a distance. I said we couldn't take living together anymore. Amy cried. I cried. Lee cried.

And that was that.

Then I tossed and turned and thought and prayed and cried and mumbled a few angry things to God...somewhere in between I slept a little. Very little.

And time passed.

This afternoon my heart is telling me that we simply cannot give up... not yet.

I don't want to make Lee's life any more difficult than it already is. She's going to school, she's working, she's struggling with finances, her "husband" is taking every dime of federal money that might help out his family and keeping it for himself, he doesn't pay child support and he sends Lee all their bills. Yet Lee goes on.

This is a strong woman.

So we will be strong too.

We will go on.

Who two days I may be posting..."So much for that idea," but in the light of day I see promise...and promise is that upon which we will also base the remainder of our time in this house together.

Before I wrote this post, I wrote the following (borrowing a few lines from things I found on the web):

Main/Gomez Contract
* Our goal is to find solutions which will strengthen our family.
* We commit to respecting each other AT ALL TIMES.
* We will work hard at helping and supporting each other in every way possible.
* Our family will participate in church.
* EVERY family member will actively try to make living in our home more pleasant for everyone, by cleaning, taking out the trash, doing laundry, taking care of the dogs, doing whatever needs to be done -- WITHOUT BEING ASKED.
* As much advanced notice as possible will be given for the scheduling of appointments, rides, etc., and we will try to remind each other. Use the refrigerator calendar when possible.
* Quiet time will generally be observed in the house by 10 p.m., as well as when others with different schedules are sleeping.
* We will ALWAYS make certain to let each other know where we are at all times, whom we are with and when we will be back. Cell phones should be kept on wherever allowed.
* When in doubt-common courtesy will apply.
* We will practice forgiveness.
* We will apply these lessons honestly - hopefully experiencing greater happiness, love and peace in our home.
* If any member of the household feels these rules are not being observed, other household arrangements will be made with no hard feelings.

Signed on February 1, 2006
Family Members
_________________________ _________________________
_________________________ _________________________
_________________________ Klondike, Winston & Avery

Please God, let everyone sign it...willingly.

Postscript: The Gomez family will be moving into other shelter within the next few days until their apartment is ready March 10th. Their move will come at no expense to them.