Chapter 2, Excerpt
The Perfect Relationship Myth
In some sense every parent does love their children,” she responded, ignoring his second question. “But some parents are too broken to love them well and others are barely able to love them at all…1 Papa – The Shack
In the photograph actress Gwyneth Paltrow appears completely at ease. Eyes closed, dressed in an elegant white evening gown that accentuates her slender neck and upswept hair, Gwyneth leans back against the comforting embrace of her mother, Blythe Danner. Both women are remarkably beautiful with facial similarities so alike that no one could mistake them for anything other than what they are—mother and daughter.
The photographer has crafted a beautiful portrait which emotes a sense of tranquility and security and something more—a surreal moment of an ideal existence between a mother and daughter. The two seem so at ease in one another’s company that they need say nothing, just co-exist peacefully in the same space.
What woman hasn’t longed for such a mother-daughter relationship? The carefully staged portrait of Gwyneth and Blythe, however, is just that, a staged portrait. The photographer painstakingly considered their wardrobe, the lighting, the backdrop and the pose. None of it happened by chance. Though the younger actress may indeed have a good rapport with her mother, it is undoubtedly imperfect. Even if their bond is as close as the photo implies, at times their relationship may be pulled snug and taught like a comfortable pair of perfect fitting jeans. At other times their bond may feel frayed, stretched, and dangerously thin.
On a daily basis we interface with human beings laden with idiosyncrasies and short-comings spawned by unique upbringings. We even exhibit these ourselves. For better or worse, our personal history forms us into who we are and we are left trying to make relationships work despite these quirks. Close-knit friendships between mothers and daughters are a rarity. On occasion when we do glimpse what appears to be a healthy, tight relationship between a mother and daughter, we may view them through a filter making their relationship appear more perfect and desirable than it actually is. Perhaps this is because we find our own so lacking and long deeply to have just a fraction of such intimacy in our own.
Teena Stewart is an author, ministry leader, and artist with hundreds of published articles to her credit in the secular and Christian realm as well as numerous books. Her current focus is on helping others find value and beauty in themselves and others despite brokenness and transforming them into authentic, mature Christ followers.
When she isn’t writing, she is creating artwork and jewelry treasures (often from discarded and found objects) or leading ministry for Java Journey–an innovative coffee shop ministry in Hickory, NC–whose mission is similar to her own, to provide hope and restoration to the hurting and broken by sharing Christ’s story, showing His love and by empowering the restored to serve others.
Her two most recent books include:
Mothers and Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship (Beacon Hill).
A book that will help you name your hurts, face the barriers that stand in the way of a healthy mother daughter relationship, and forgive what feels unforgivable. Learn to cultivate a friendship, communicate more effectively, and become a part of the change you want to see. There is hope for restoration and renewal.
The Treasure Seeker: Finding Value and Love in the Arms of Your Loving Heavenly Father (Wine Press).
Author and artist Teena Stewart uses the “lost” parables and treasure stories to illuminate the precious relationship to be had between us and our Heavenly Father. He transforms us into gems of stunning beauty and shows us our remarkable potential and true worth. Teena designed a Treasure Seeker jewelry line that ties in with the book.
Her books are available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobles, through her website and at most other bookstores.