Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It's Complicated

 Good morning friends. I told you that my dad was put into hospice a couple of weeks ago. All of us sibs have reacted differently. It took my by surprise that I once again struggled with the possibility of his passing. My sister Robin has written some excellent thoughts on how she feels. I have to say, she has put into perspective beautifully her thoughts.

It’s complicated

Just two weeks ago I signed my dad into hospice. The complicated emotions actually took me by surprise. If push came to shove, I honestly didn’t know, until recently tested, if I’d even weep for him when he was gone. There is sadness for the life of abusive destruction and tangled lies he lived, sadness that he never knew his grandchildren nor even his children as adults. (Yet it was purposeful on my part because protecting the innocent from an unrepentant past and present abuser was and is, unapologetically necessary.) There is compassion for a fellow human being in the humiliating stage of life when someone babysits you while you eat and changes your diapers. He would absolutely hate this, as would I, if he was cognitive enough to know what was going on.
For years I’ve been talking to God about dad, letting him know that I was okay with His timing in taking him. But the honest truth is, I think I was ready for my dad to die. When I moved him here 3 ½ years ago I didn’t think he would live this long – aka…that I would still “be dealing with him” and all the associated range of emotions at this point. Don’t get me wrong – I love my dad and from that love I feel compelled to make sure he is safe and well cared for. But in my heart of hearts, I’ve been ready for closure. That sounds incredibly horrible, I know.
So why, God, does this grumpy, miserable bully have nine lives? What is the purpose in his life at this point. He sits in his room all day watching tv, sleeping, and being his customary gruff, insensitive and rude self whenever I’m around. Easily triggered and worn out from putting on my emotional armor every time I talk to or visit him, I’ve limited my visits in the last year or so to every two to three weeks and only stay a short time. Communicating and overseeing the care takers has become my main responsibility. Maybe he’s felt the same way- that his existence was only that, existing. Without social interaction and a sense of purpose, the desire to live dies, and physical death isn’t far behind. A few months ago I sensed he had given up and was just ready to get on with the business of dying, so-to-speak. The assisted living staff confirmed and echoed my suspicions.
It’s a matter of God’s timing. And since I’m not God, I’m smart enough to know that I’m supposed to trust him with that. So I’ve continued to search for those lessons over the last few years: Am I supposed to learn patience? Respect for the sovereignty of the Almighty? Respect that the Creator is the Life Giver? Surrender my prideful self-righteousness in deeming anyone’s life as “worthy” or not. Truth: Only the Creator has the right to determine the value of and judge His creation. Practice forgiveness. Practice compassion. I’m being painfully pruned as I’m trying desperately to see my father the way His Father sees him. After all, we see the outward appearance, but God sees the heart. Ugly truth: Mine is just as ugly as dad’s. :-/
It’s an ongoing process, but I can tell you this; God is answering me in that still, small voice. It appears that compassion is challenging and dissipating my short flashes of anger and indignation while reminding me that forgiveness is a daily letting go of my right to judge. And while healthy boundaries are biblical, good and necessary, hardness of heart isn’t. As I said, it’s complicated.
I’ve come to recognize that it’s quite possible that God has kept dad alive not for only for His and dad’s purpose, but also for mine. Maybe, just maybe, dad’s sole purpose in life right now is to exist so that God can prune ME. He has things to teach me and is graciously allowing me the necessary time to learn them. From that perspective, I cherish the time he has left.
Now at least I believe the tears I shed at the end will come from a place of compassion rather than anger and bitterness. For that I am thankful.
Isaiah 40:14 “Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what’s good or what is best?”
“God has his own ideas regarding what is good and he doesn’t always agree with us. If there is anything good about you, believe better things about others. This will keep you humble. It will not hurt you at all to consider yourself less righteous than others, but it will be disastrous for you to consider yourself better than even one person. The humble are always at peace; the proud are often envious and angry.” From The Limitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
“Vengeance is mine, I will repay” ..the Lord will judge his people”. Hebrews 10:30. Funny, I’m not seeing my name next to the Lord's!

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

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