Stones

My father is returning to prison this month. I've been told that this time it's for 2nd degree assault and 4th degree burglary. Consequently, he has been contacting my sister a lot the past couple of weeks; thus following an absence of several months. I give my sister a lot of credit. She is much more forgiving than I probably ever will be. She is the only person on this planet that sees anything worth the effort in our father anymore. And honestly, I can't even fathom what she could see, he has fallen so completely.

I deal with a lot of cognitive dissonance because of how I choose to deal with my non-relationship with my father. When he calls, he now knows that my sister is the only person who will speak to him. If anyone else answers, he knows to ask for her. It used to be that if I answered the phone, I would hang up the second I realized it was him. But now I just pass the phone along or briefly tell him that my sister isn't home and that I'll have her call him. Then I hang up. He has learned that I refuse to speak to him because I have nothing I want to say to him that isn't infected with disdain.

I knew before I ever converted that a relationship with Heavenly Father would mean I would have to forgive my father. And I have tried. When I got my patriarchal blessing, I learned that I have a responsibility to serve my father; to pray for him and forgive him for all that has happened. Sometimes I do pray, which I don't find difficult anymore. But it seems like every time I nearly get to a sense of inner resolution for what he has already done, he gives me a new stone to throw at him; a stone that, because of the pain that he has caused me, I wish I could throw at him.

But I can't. Not just because catharsis doesn't work, but because I know better.




I spent all day redecorating my blog in a new layout. Its background is a pile of stones, to serve as a reminder of what Christ did for me. He protected the harlot that I used to be when he admonished, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." (John 8: 7) He protected me, his younger spirit sister, because he loves me. And, whether I can appreciate it or not, he loves my father too.

I know this. I know this in my mind, thoroughly. I know I have no right or authority to pass judgment on anyone; not when I have stones of my own that others could throw at me.

But at the same time, I cannot bring myself to speak to my father when he calls. I prayed for strength when I told him that he was no longer welcome in my life, and in hindsight I know my request was granted. But now that I'm supposed to make a re-entrance into my father's life, if for no other reason than to give him a Book of Mormon and my blessing, I can't do it. I refuse, despite my better judgment. Despite everything I've learned about Heavenly Father, and all of the sacrifices I've made, I still am not ready to make my ultimate sacrifice; and the opportunities to complete the task I've been given will only continue to gather like stones before me.

And it grieves me to know that there is only one way to truly get rid of them; and it isn't by throwing them.

Comments

  1. Give yourself time and space.

    A father, worthy or not, occupies a profound emotional place in a young woman's life. As my oldest sister puts it, a father has three important responsibilities toward his daughter: to treat her mother well, to let her know she's loved, and to let her know she's beautiful.

    My own wife struggled well into her 40s with how her own father -- a faithful if somewhat rough-hewn Latter-day Saint, who worked as a construction foreman -- had treated her while she was growing up, particularly during her adolescent years. In retrospect, she thinks he just didn't know how to deal with her coming of age as a young woman and so retreated into some rather harsh rhetoric. While they always had an on-going relationship, she didn't fully reconcile with her father until the last few years of his life, when he was dying of cancer.

    Your situation sounds a bit rougher than hers, to say the least. Your desire to be Christ-like in forgiving him for whatever he's done or however he's failed you is both admirable and correct, but -- give yourself some time and space. ..bruce..

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  2. Paradox, My wife has struggled with how to balance the love that she feels for her father - a wonderful, loving, LDS man who would do anything for his children but who placed expectations on them that have haunted each and every one of them in one way or another. One of the best things we ever did was move across the country shortly after we were married, since that put us outside the drama that still flows within her family.

    Much of what pains her the most deeply about herself was inherited from her father, so much of what she is trying to eradicate from her "natural woman" is her part of him. She loves him dearly, so the process of recognizing and eliminating much of him from herself is very painful and difficult.

    As Bruce said, I'm sure your struggle is very different than my wife's. I'm sure it is *much* harder for you to forgive him than it is for my wife to forgive my father-in-law. The process, however, is the same.

    If you want to do so, please read the following from my blog:

    http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2007/11/carrying-his-load.html

    I don't think it will teach you anything "new" - but I hope it will hit you just a bit differently than what you have felt previously.

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  3. Sorry that didn't link. Here it is, in two parts:

    http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/
    2007/11/carrying-his-load.html

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  4. BTW, I absolutely LOVE the new format - even without the explanation, but more so with it.

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  5. I like it too. I wanted something different, yet meaningful. I think that's what I've managed to create.

    And thanks to both of you for your support:)

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