Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Phone Call...

I just got off the phone with my father and I find my heart in a circle of emotion. I normally would wait and balance my thoughts before attempting to share. I never want to bash or say/write anything out of whim thinking. I never want to be hurtful and regret it later. But I find that today....maybe writing will help me stop the spinning.

Without having to re-hash everything, this post link can explain our past pretty well if you are curious and feel confused.

Since my step-mom passed away a couple of months ago, I have been trying with renewed vigor to communicate with my father. I want to let him know that he is not alone and he still has so many blessings in his life. When I was with him for the funeral, I noticed that there were no pictures of us anywhere. So, a few weeks ago I sent him a package of our new family pictures framed and ready for him to display. I chose frames that could be either used in easel fashion or be put on the wall, frames that would compliment his decor (not that decor would cross his mind). I figured that by doing this, it would make things easy for him with no "to do list"...gotta get to the store and buy frames to hang those pictures, gotta find the nails so they can go on the wall.
Then I called to let him know that a special package was on the way so that he could be looking forward to it. He seemed excited.

He has now had the box for three weeks, but couldn't take the time to call and say a word about it. When I asked about the pictures today, he said he loves them and has been enjoying them.
He has had them for three weeks......

I wanted to yell through the phone, "Dammit Daddy, the phone works both ways! How can you have tears in your voice as you call me your angel and say love me as we hang up from my phone calls....but you can't even pick up the phone on your end for a quick hey I got it bye?! Why do I always have to be the strong one and push this relationship forward? Why do I have to be the grownup? Why do I always have to be forgiving and have the grace? Be my parent for a change!"

Why isn't there an ounce of comment with, "Hey the girls have really grown since I was able to see them 4 years ago. Wow they are beautiful. Gosh they remind me of when you were a little girl. I wish we lived closer so I could know them more."

No, I didn't say anything of the sort. It would be counter productive and push him away more I fear. Anger rarely serves a positive outcome. Instead I commented on how glad I was that he had gotten the box and was enjoying the pictures. Then I changed the subject and brought it around to things I knew he could discuss.

The communication between my father and I has always been rocky. I know he loves me and just doesn't know how to say so. I know that he would like to have daily conversations with me but can't find the energy to pick up the phone and do so. I know he fights with regrets at not being there for me and doesn't know how to move on from let go and move forward. As he wrestles with his insecurities, I daily have to let go of the thoughts that say I am not good enough for his time. I know it is a lie and I push it away and move forward.

Why do I have to be the one that is the grown up, the one who guides and bears with grace when it would be easier to put myself in a protective wall?
Because I am the one who sees the truth. I see his pain thru the veil of my own. If I wait and stomp my foot saying that I will not budge until he makes the first move forward....that serves no purpose but self-indulgence.
Because I see the circle of what is going on, it is my job to be patient and wait it out.
Wait for how long? I guess that doesn't really matter. He may never completely come around from his mountain of perception and I am not responsible for that.
I am however responsible for my own actions...for doing what I know to be right to the best of my abilities.

Thank you God once again for your guidance and patience with me. I am better now.


  1. I love you!

    I do.

    I love your sensitivities, passions, and humble honesty. Your vulnerabilities and needs. And I love your compassion and understanding of your crippled, disabled, and handicapped Dad. Mine was too.

    He was crippled by his upbringing. The complete absence of nurturing care and affection in his youth. He was disabled by a culture that did not endorse a man's responsibility to know his feelings. And he suffered the handicap of an uncomfortable awareness of desire to communicate what he had no vocabulary to even consider within himself. So he suffered in an emotional place of circumstantial incarceration. Until, during the last years of his life, I "treated" him with a slow, patient "Love Acknowledgment Therapy."

    Long tedious story shortened ... I am the only one of my immediate family (and this includes my Mom)that my Dad ever initiated a spontaneous "I love you" to.

    I'm here with you, Dear One. The work is worth that one isolated (and very late) memory of a singular "I love you Son."

  2. Our Lord is the only one we can count on to be there every time we need him.

    I wish I had some magical formula to enable your dad to break through his own communication barriers, but none of us do.

    Whatever you do, don't let the enemy wisper words of doubt into your ears about what you could have or should have done differently.

    A humble heart is a strong value to posess, cherish it.

  3. Wow the comments above there let me speechless! Your friends say all, I envy you to be patient and understanding, that's not an easy task.
    The almost same situation happens to us with my husband father and sister, we are the only one who call, one way only calls, and when we don't call enough often they become nasty and hurtfull. As I don't mind much because I know we do the right thing, I forgive easily and talk hubby to better feelings, i know he is hurt anyway.

  4. John Michael...thank you so much for being brave and sharing your experience. I am learning that you are so courageous and inspiring as you transparently share your thoughts, emotions, and passions in this blog world.
    You are right, I think our culture makes modern day man so confused and many crippled. They seem to teeter in the extreme one way or the other...most never gaining a healthy balance in life.
    I am so sorry for the struggles that your father had. It is inspiring and encouraging that you showed character to see things thru and speak to his inner yearnings. How satisfying that you can look back and have that memory.

    Jeff...thank you for the encouragement. You are so very right. Where would I be without my cherished Father God but a heap of mess on the floor. Every time I want to lash out, I instantly feel Him pat my hand and whisper in my ear, "I am your perfect and unfailing Father. Trust Me to see things thru and I will fulfill all your needs."

    Kitem...oh so nice to visit with you. I haven't checked with you in a while because I knew you were living up the deep purposes of life on the magical beaches with cherished family.
    Thank you for coming by today and sharing your heart. I am sorry that your husband and you must struggle with family hurts. Your husband is truly blessed to have you there to lean on and look beyond the moment with.

  5. I am having internet problems, so sorry that I have been slow to comment. I think that you are really brave. My Dad hasn't always been a tower of strength to me, and now lives in New Zealand. He has been married 4 times, and has three families all still here in the UK. He also seems to value some of his children above others, last year rather than coming back to the UK where he could visit everyone he paid for the two youngest to meet him in Thailand for a holiday, so I have not now seen him in a very long time, something that hurts me a lot. Our conversations are growing more and more sporadic, and it makes me deeply unhappy when I think of the bond that we used to share. I have not been the brave person that you have about it though, and I probably should have, and maybe that is the lesson that I need to take away from your blog today. Time to call and try to rebuild bridges!

  6. Dear Mima...I am so sorry for your pains and struggles. The rejection can hurt so much. Thank yuo for being open to share. I am so glad that you are not hurt so much that you have a huge wall up to protect you. You are still willing to move forward and that is wonderful.

    For me, I try to keep in mind that we each have a different perception on life and our pasts. Dredging it all up might only make the gap farther apart. So I find it best to simply learn where each other is at now whenever we talk.

    You are a mighty and strong woman to do and deal with all of the things that come your way. I admire you so greatly.

  7. Wow, you radiate strength and I send you best wishes!

  8. Mamageek...thank you for visiting and for your compliments. I certainly do not always get it right, but God is so patient.

  9. You will not believe how much we have in common.

    I am glad that you know your father loves you and that you aren't responsible for his failings. It took me a lot of years to learn that. Sometimes I still get angry when I think of all the Saturdays of my young life I sat dressed and waiting on the couch, but he never came.

    It wasn't because he didn't love me. It was because he didn't know what to do with the pain, mine or his. Hiding is easier. I don't know why that is, but I know his failings helped make me stronger, and that makes it easier to forgive him.

  10. Quilly...thank you for sharing and relating. Our fathers, it is so much easier for them to hide. Our society has taught them to be strong at all costs.
    Inside though they crave and need just like everyone else.


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