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.
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