The Words of the Williams Family
Adolescent Tries to Grow up Regarding True Parents
John R. Williams
April 20, 1999
I just saw the movie "One True Thing" and it definitely made me rethink my attitude towards True Parents. The film showed a young woman staying home to care for her sick mother and discovering her beloved father was having serial affairs. She is bitter and angry. Her mother demands a hearing, to give advice before her death. She says it is easy as a young woman to declare you would never put up with certain things. But once you commit to a man and your whole world is built around this marriage, you weigh things and decide to focus on his strengths and the blessings you have. You put up with things you never would have imagined, because you learn the costs involved with what you have and changing what you want to change. You consider carefully if you want to tear everything and everyone up over your spouse's shortcomings.
When I substituted "parents" for "spouse" in the movie example, I realized how in adolescence I focused only on what disappointed me in my parents. I was not mature enough to recognize what heroism they showed just to be what they were and do what they were doing. I compared them to my dreams and even maybe to their own teachings and they came up short. Only years later, doing it all myself, I can recognize the hard lot they had and I am no better than they. Everyone makes mistakes and it may take a long time to recover from one mistake, if you ever can. I know I must forgive my parents if I can expect my daughter to be merciful with me.
So I think about True Parents. Like the daughter in the movie, I have been dazed by the gradual revelations of Father's limitations at best and mistakes at worst. (Let's not rehash all the details or split hairs over who is to blame. At the very least, a lot of questionable things have either been done by him or by those he supervises.) At times I have been disappointed, hurt and bitter. In better moments, I have tried to cling to the simple things I admire, the blessings I have received, and blot out all the things I can not handle. It works most of the time but it is not a real resolution.
When I consider that movie and mother's words, I realize in some ways I have been like an adolescent in relation to True Parents. I have compared them to dreams and teachings-to Messiahs and God's Kingdoms in my imagination-and that is not all bad. But I have to compare them also to real life, and how hard it is to get anything done and work with what you have to work with.
I have to consider how you can make a mistake and then have to live with that and succeed anyway. Father no doubt made tactical errors (unlike some people, I don't doubt his motivation; he made no moral mistakes, at least none he did not rectify). Maybe he trusted the wrong people for advice, interpreted a providential need the wrong way, preferred his cultural instincts over an unfamiliar but more effective way. Maybe he made a lot of mistakes; maybe he made only a few. I suspect he made many, but Jesus made some glaring miscalculations during only a few years, and they cost him his life. Father has escaped death and has done a thousand times more. He attempted much more, more than anyone else has ever tried to do. (None of the other spiritual leaders I admire have even considered some of the problems Father has given everything attempting to solve.) Naturally he has made a lot of mistakes because he has attempted a lot.
Yet sometimes I am tempted to reject it all because Father has disappointed me. Like a stubborn teenager I see only the shortcomings. The church too has become such a foreign place for me and I cannot relate to most of everything Father and the church says and does. I am repeatedly tempted to pull away from the whole thing. But, like the movie mother says, is it fair to tear everyone and everything apart because of disappointments? Can I get fixated only on the shortcomings and take the greatness for granted? And can I expect my daughter's forgiveness if I cannot forgive True Parents for being fallible and human?
This is not even to mention issues of what I have tried to do that is better than they, or my right to judge them, or where would I be now if not for their influence. I'm not dealing with them because they don't have much weight for me these days.
It's not as if I haven't heard people say these things before. It's just that for me they are hitting home in a way they didn't before, one of the fruits of middle age. I know these issues aren't resolved yet for me, but it is a step.
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