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Barrier to Reform: Late Valentine from your Kids - We hate your guts!

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From: John Murtari (jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org)
Date: Tue Feb 26 2002 - 08:49:42 EST

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Good People and People of Faith,

"Roses are Red,
    Violets are Blue,
 Dad says your a jerk,
    and we think so too!"    (Feel free to substitute Dad/Mom.)

The passing of Valentine's day is an occasion to speak about one of
the most unique barriers we need to overcome in the movement for
Family Law Reform.  If we look for historical comparisons in our
search for Civil Rights versus others -- we have one BIG difference:

* A slave woke up every day as a slave who was not free.
* A woman woke up every day without the right to vote.  
* A black woke up every day with a seat in the back of the bus.
* A time came when they felt -- I should make it better for my kids.

But with many parents, unjustly separated from their children, their
usually comes the day when: Your children don't love you anymore. How
many of you have known people who have "moved on with their lives."
Succeeded in forgetting the whole mess.

Probably one of the most unique horrors any parent has ever had to
deal with.  What's the point anymore, my own kids don't want to see
me? Normally, for our holiday messages, we ask people to have
understanding for former spouses that aren't encouraging contact --
but what about the kids who hate you. A mom told me her young son had
once told her, "You are just someone who spread her legs and I popped
out..."  How about that on the inside of a Hallmark card?  Happy
Valentines Day!

How many of you have been thrown that old bone, "Don't worry dear,
when your kids get older ... they'll be coming to you." Yeah, and I've
got a bridge to sell you....  Can I tell you about a Dad I know really
well, who was active in the movement and had an older son tell him, "I
hate you, your a real f#$k head!"  Imagine that -- perceptive kid!  

[Those of you who have had it happen -- write in, allow us to share
that shock with others.  Better yet, talk to me in person. I plan on
being at all our upcoming meetings, http://www.AKidsRight.Org/meeting.htm]

My friend told me reform was never going to happen.  He was spending
more time working out at the Gym, feeling better about himself now...
LOVE of their kids, what a powerful motivation for so many people in
the past.  Still available to us all - yes!  If we can act with
Faith, as People of Faith.  Even after getting hate mail, we can forgive
and still love our kids - AND, forgive and still love ourselves.

I'd like to take a moment to apologize to many of you for the
misguided advice of many professionals and friends, "Dear, if you had
just read this book on "long distance" relationships, all this
wouldn't have happened to you...  If you had been just a bit more
sensitive, the kids would still love you...  Why don't they just say,
"If you had been PERFECT, this would not have happened."  A person
feels bad enough when their little one runs away the moment they see
them. It is so easy to feel guilty. 

LOOK, LISTEN, and SEE -- there is an awful system of Family Law that
made it easy for all this to happen. It's not your fault, the kids
fault, or your former spouses fault.  You others, please understand why
so many people try to escape/reduce Child support -- can you imagine
paying a lot of money to people who hate you?

If you want to feel guilty, you can feel guilty about this: When all
these laws were being passed, you weren't paying a lot of attention,
because it didn't matter.  Now that they are on the books - how about
doing some work and making sacrifice to improve things for others --
because you love them and you don't want them and their children to
experience what you and your family did. 

You know the laws are bad, but try to show the Faith that our loving
God can help us make things better. Living without Faith, acting
without Faith -- now there is something you do have control over.

Domenic and I
I have to say, this is one area where I don't know if I could practice
what I preach.  Through it all, Dom and I have kept a very close
relationship, a very comfortable relationship. We can travel 8 hours
in the car with just each other, no radio, no back seat video, no game
boy.  Just us -- and have a riot!

I just got back from out West, after spending the Valentine's day
weekend and also celebrating his Birthday -- he is now 9.  When I
first see him he smiles and locks his arms around me -- what a welcome
hug!  I could go on for ever, but just one thing -- when he would go
to sleep at night, I still read to him and pray with him, and even
sing a song for him. [Now let me tell you, my voice is awful .. but
you know what, he doesn't mind.]

As he gets ready to fall asleep he will grab my arm, and wrap it over
himself like another blanket -- and I just lay there till he falls
asleep.  Hearing him quietly breathing. Real Joy, Real Peace, Real
Love....  As I write this to all of you, tears come to my eyes.  I
know so many of you from your emails, the horrors you have been
through.  You'll never experience this with your kids -- when
childhood is gone, it is gone.  What a terrible, terrible loss. I cry
for myself as I think of what I could have missed with Domenic, what
he would have missed with me.  I think of the other things....

Can you believe people wonder how I can walk into a Federal Building
and risk arrest?  What is really more amazing is why I am still alone.
Still looking for other mothers and fathers to stand together, People
of Faith.

Many of you don't believe in a loving God and what follows may
reinforce why you don't have Faith.  Many of you do have Faith, and
the following will also help you (it's funny how that works). I'd like
to share with you one of the darkest readings from the Psalms. You
don't hear this one very often in church:

Psalm 88 - Prayer of a sick person.

"In this Psalm, unique in all the psalmody by its complete lack of
hope, we can appreciate the suffering this person has endured and
experience the deep despair in which they are grasped. Not blaming
themselves, or even their enemies -- they are not asking for revenge.
Their one complaint is with God."

Lord my God, I call for help by day;
  I cry at night before you.
Let me prayer come into your presence.
  O turn your ear to my cry.

For my soul is filled with evils;
  my life is on the brink of the grave.
I am reckoned as one in the tomb:
  I have reached the end of my strength,
like one alone among the dead;
like the slain lying in their graves;
like those you remember no more,
  cut off, as they are, from your hand.

You have laid me in the depths of the tomb,
  in places that are dark, in the depths.
Your anger weighs down upon me;
  I am drowned beneath your waves.

You have taken away my friends
  and made me hateful in their sight.
Imprisoned, I cannot escape;
  my eyes are sunken with grief.

I call to you, Lord, all the day long;
  to you I stretch out my hands.
Will you work your wonders for the dead?
Will the shades stand and praise you?

Will your love be told in the grave
  or your faithfulness among the dead?
Will your wonders be known in the dark
  or your justice in the land of oblivion?

As for me, Lord, I call to you for help:
  in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Lord, why do you reject me?
  Why do you hide your face?

Wretched, close to death from my youth,
  I have borne your trials; I am numb.
Your fury has swept down upon me;
  your terrors have utterly destroyed me.

They surround me all the day like a flood,
  they assail me all together.
Friend and neighbor you have taken away:
  my one companion is darkness.

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