The following is a condensed version of a letter that I, recently, sent to a wonderful friend who is one of the most loving, Godly people I've ever met. The counsel I received was heartfelt, reassuring, guiding, and helpful. I just felt led to post these words in hopes that additional words of wisdom may be shared because time is of the essence and I still feel very un-convicted about what to do. Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to read and comment. I will sincerely appreciate any and all input.
I am dealing with such a sense of sadness; not in the sense of despair but a sadness that places an ache in my heart that is accompanied by a sense of emotional suffocation. I was reading the Biblical definition of love, according to 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
The Webster dictionary defines love as:
Affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests; Warm attachment, enthusiasm or devotion; Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another
I can’t recall my dad ever having, genuinely, shown any of the above characteristics. I can recall one instance of possible sincerity but if it was, it was short-lived and ridiculed in future interactions. When I think of my dad, these descriptions come to mind: irritable, critical, indifferent, appalling, mean, two-faced, dangerous, harmful, unreliable, dishonest, con-artist, liar, thief, resentful, arrogant, insensitive, self-centered, condescending show-off, vulgar, destructive, disrespectful, criminal on several accounts, abusive (in all senses of the term), impatient, prejudiced, inconsiderate and unbearable.
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why with knowing those things about him, do I still care about him and care about what he thinks of me?!? I hope that I would be more concerned if he did actually desire to have a relationship with me.
He doesn’t love me. He didn’t love me. And that fact, alone, has broken my heart. I realize, in my head, that the reality of that says more about him than it does me, but it hurts just the same. In my heart come the questions like why didn’t he love me? Why doesn’t he care? What did I do or not do? What did I lack? How did I disappoint him? How can I make it up to him? What was he looking for that I didn’t have? Why didn’t I have ‘it’?
Over the years, some have told me that my dad loved me as best as he knew how. Just days ago, my husband told me that my dad loved me as much as he was capable of loving. I may be wrong about this but those statements really offend me. I don’t believe that my dad was incapable or unknowing; he had choices to make. Even if it were a matter of incapability, there were choices made along the way that led to that proposed result. He could have done things differently. He could have chosen kinder words. He could have changed his vulgar words and actions. He could have attempted to make things right. He could have lived a life of honesty and integrity rather than one of destructiveness, thievery, hatefulness, and abuse. He could’ve done a lot of things but he chose not to. I realize that he had a crappy dad who treated all within his family horribly but so what…I, along with many others, had a crappy dad and chose not too be the kind of person that he has shown himself to be.
I disrespect the man. I despise him. I resent him. I am angry with him. BUT I don’t want him to be in pain. I can’t stand the thought of him being destroyed by cancer. I can’t fathom the concept of his spending eternity in hell. I want him to be physically okay yet at the same time, I wish him gone from my life, from my mind, from my heart, from my memories. I hate that I can’t seem to simply place him in the furthest recesses of my heart and mind.
I don’t want to go against God’s commands to “honor your father and mother” but how do I go about showing honor to one who is so dishonorable? I know that command doesn’t have conditions tied to it…it doesn’t say “honor your…if they…” What does God expect from one in this kind of situation? Part of me wants to reach out to my Dad, yet again…but the larger part of me wants to stay as far away as possible but in doing that, am I being too self-protective, judgmental and critical---which are some of the very things that I find so detestable about him?
I feel badly that my brother is the only one of 4 children who regularly communicates with the man. Am I being unfair in allowing my brother to be the one who attempts to maintain a relationship with our Dad? What are my responsibilities to my him and to my dad? Do I offer to help financially? Do I do nothing unless specifically asked? Do I seek information on the status of our Dad or just let my brother continue to tell me what he wants to, if and when he wants to? Do I make myself available regardless of the probable personal attacks (verbal, emotional, and potential physical) that will come?
I am weary and unsure what I am to do or even if I am to do anything. I keep praying and searching Scripture but have yet to find any clarity on this issue. ANY guidance here would be much appreciated.