I would consider myself an expert at holding a grudge. I have some pretty significant anger problems and I take things way too personally. I tend to not open myself up to people for fear that I will get hurt by them. This has left me feeling pretty isolated at times. I have been hurt by strangers, acquaintances, really good friends and even family. Counseling has helped me deal with a lot of the issues I have but I still tend to cut people off if I feel that they have hurt me in some way.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be trouble and do not be afraid.
During the time that my dad lived with us, which was pretty short, he said and did some things that were very hurtful to me and my family. I know that some of the stuff he said came from a dark place stemming from his poor health and losing control over his body and his life. But he did still say those things and it did really hurt. I’m almost ashamed to say that I was glad he moved back to Florida when he did. I was glad to be rid of him. I was glad that I wasn’t going to be the one dealing with his problems anymore.
I have a very small circle of people who know the truth of what has happened in the past year+ and those that I talked to mostly said the same thing to me…”you need to tell your dad how he hurt you, that the way he talked to you was wrong, let him know that you won’t put up with his stuff anymore”. Even my counselor told me to just let him have it the next time I saw him.
I have never been one to enjoy confrontation. I tend to just close that chapter of my life and try to move on. That’s what I wanted to do with my dad. I wanted to close that chapter and say see ya in heaven. So, when the time came, this week, that I needed to go see him in Florida I didn’t know what I was going to do.
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
In December my dad had a stroke. He was in the hospital for a while then moved to a rehabilitation facility. He has lost the ability to speak for the most part. He can get some words out but it’s not above a whisper. He has a feeding tube. He cannot eat or have liquids due to the lack of ability to swallow. It will be a miracle if he ever walks again. Honestly, he’s in sad shape.
I kept feeling the need to go see my dad. He hadn’t met our newest little peanut yet and that was important to me. I bought plane tickets for me and the boys. The travel day came and I was so anxious that I was throwing up. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how to react. I was traveling alone with 2 kids and that was stressing me out. I was just having a difficult time.
We made it to Florida and made plans to go see my dad the next day. I still didn’t know what I was going to say or do. Friends were still telling me to just let him have it and get everything off my chest. And then I saw him. I saw his skin and bones body. I saw the sadness in his eyes. He’s lost complete control over everything. I couldn’t do anything but show him love and compassion and grace. I hugged him and told him I loved him. I introduced him to Oliver. His eyes lit up at our presence. I knew that I didn’t need to say anything. I felt a calming reassurance. My anxiety went away. My anger disappeared. All those frustrations were cast away. All I could do was love.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
It’s interesting how God will work in your life. When you think things will go a certain way and you give it over to God…everything comes out different. God relieved me of that anger I had been holding onto and replaced it with compassion. He took away that fear and anxiety and taught me how to show grace. A burden was lifted from my heart and I feel at peace with my relationship with my dad now. I had purposefully booked a short trip because I didn’t think I could emotionally handle a long one. Now, I wish I had just a few more days to spend with my dad showing him love and grace.