Set aside the fact that the second term is one plural form of the first and bear with me a moment. Because I don’t want it to be that simple. Now, using your own experience imagine the times you’ve heard or read these words. What might someone who is a consumer of popular culture and modern Christianity say about them? Most likely they would approximate a definition for stigma. Then, if they have average recall, they’d say the second word has to do with blood coming from the palms of people in scary movies. Yeah pop culture.
The cinematic references are inconsistent with the traditional Christian term stigmata. It is the plural of the noun stigma. It has been used to describe past instances of spontaneous manifestation of scar like marks on, or bleeding from the palms of people who were particularly pious (lacking a better term), like nuns and monks deep into lifetime of sacrifice and service.
Quick Empath get on with it. Or talk about scary movies. One of the two buddy because this is getting tedious.
I’ve had the privilege, mainly through my work, to befriend a number of older men and their wives. In most cases they had kids m close to my age and i met and knew them as well. These men all profoundly impacted me in some way. They were a sort of amalgamated fatherly influence. It is my sense that those who had no children or those with only daughters found some gratification in mentoring a young man. Some are still around, some are already gone. Recently I found a thread running through those relationships. It doesn’t touch each and every one as far as I can tell. It is, however, preponderant.
The common thread is stigma and stigmata. Using the pedestrian definitions mentioned above, the men individually have a stigma, and the women collectively have stigmata. More plainly stated this suggests that the men have one or more major marital infractions while the women have been saintly in their forbearance.
I’ve had conversations with the children of these couples after one or both spouses died. Not being one who easily sustains shallow talk, the conversations I end up having usually drill down. I have heard enough stories about how Mom and Dad didn’t really get along well, but Mom tried her best. Its just that the Dad hurt her when they were young and she could not bring herself fully back into the fold.
Then a couple of months ago I reconnected with a friend I had not spoken to in nearly ten years. He and I took our boys camping and fishing for many years as they grew up in Texas. When I moved away we lost touch. We spoke for a long time when he contacted me. He told me of the deaths of both of his parents. In this case I knew the son and only knew the parents tangentially. So the son was honest.
He told me that his mother had died a few years back, and his father more recently. He chuckled and shared that he had zero idea what was really going on with his parents. They seemed fine. But Dad remarried two months after Mom passed.
I expected to hear he married his paramour. I was floored when my friend said that his father opened up to him, before he died, and told him him miserable life his father had had. His older sisters corroborated. His mother was an insufferable harpy. They had moved to Mexico when my friend was a child and lived for several years as expats. That would have been in the 70’s.
The return to the U.S. was when Mom went bad. She was crestfallen at the loss of the maids and drivers and large home in Mexico Cities swanky diplomatic and expat zone. She became a bitter malcontent. She incessantly nagged and dragged her husband down with expectations unmet until he found work that kept him on the road most of the time.
I had my red pill opener and I used it. And it reminded me of all the other stigma vs. stigmata stories I’d ever heard.
A woman can and will find something to blame for her seething discontent rather than examining her own expectations; expectations constructed more and more using materials provided by the church. If, after decades of quiet suffering under the rebellion of a disdainful woman during which he maintained a calm gentle demeanor, offered fatherly steady child rearing and made for abundant provision…after all that, if a man deserves derision up to the moment of death, what can any man expect temporally?
This isn’t a question to stir hopelessness. It is more a Shit Happens Deal With It admonition for men to find a way to see the atmosphere of their home both from inside and outside. The view from outside often stands in stark relief to the life he marinates in daily. Talking to others about it, if they have gotten past the withdrawal from blue pills, makes looking from the outside in easier.