Can you identify?
Can you identify?
As I journey through the bible, one particular day of study I read three areas that spoke pointedly to deception; I had to consider the importance of this subject for me! The first thing I read, that morning, was 1 Kings 14:1-9 (I strive to read 3 chapters in the old testament, one in new and one psalm or poetic book chapter.)
But then, the valleys roll in, periods of being blocked which feel more like a clogged emotional drain pipe. How do I get back to the high places? Is it just Prayer that gets me there? What happens if my prayers are blocked? What if it’s hard to pray? Why is it hard to go to God and tell Him what’s bothering me, give Him my struggles? Is it my ego? Is it my self-reliance? I hate that I need God, You or anybody! I feel vulnerable in admitting “need” as apposed to pulling up my boot straps!
I never liked my name! I’m sorry to say this out loud, Dad, as I know I was named after you, ‘Salvatore’. There were so many Uncle Sal’s in my family and in my childhood. Of course, there were sweet Sally’s like Charlie Browns’ sister, Sally. And then there is my favorite children’s’ book, “Blueberries for Sal”. (I don’t remember “Silly Sally…”, a book many friends like to bring up! Do you remember the readers we learned to read from, the stories of Dick and Jane and Sally? What a privilege to see my name in writing as a child. Now, what are the odds that my name is also in the AA Big Book? “As ex-problem drinkers, we smile at such a Sally. We know our friend is like a boy whistling in the dark.” (BB Pg.152) And your point is? I must pause here to say, I do like the expression: “Sally Forth!” That makes me smile.
To begin with, today is Fathers Day. This year I am a very different person than I was last year. This is one of the first Fathers day that I honestly couldn’t wait to call my dad and say, “Happy Father’s day”. You see, for so many years… well for most of my life, I have had some pretty lofty expectations of my father. I’m sure they came from the movies and various other media sources. The world portrays fathers . . . good fathers one way and bad fathers another way. Like most dads, my dad didn’t meet the movie star quality of a dad often projected on the big screen. So, for most of my life, I have viewed my father as an imperfect father. This year, without saying a word to him, I embarked on a new adventure- to find out who my father is and why. My goal has been to hear his past and his present and to learn exactly who the man is and why, to actively listen to his words. And so, when I called, I began to ask him questions about him. I started to explore who the man is and instead of holding my breath and wishing for the call to be over (as I had in the past), I instead embraced the opportunity to learn. I started to see the calls as an opportunity to get to know who my father is instead of who he’s not.
Let me back up. Clearly, I haven’t had the best relationship with my father. Largely because I was close to my mother and I heard her heart and, well, I had my judgement in place, and, he was deemed, “Wanting!” (‘Mene, Mene, TEKEL, UPHARSIN’– translation: The hand writing was on the wall and it said, “You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting!” That’s found in Daniel 5:25-27). You’ve heard me mention it in the past. Anyway, I had written my father off for a long time. Then, a strange thing happened; the thought crossed my mind, “What if you drop all expectations of your father and, instead of being angry all the time about ‘what you’re not getting,’ you give him what he wants!” That was a bizarre thought! I cautiously called my father and asked him if there was anything I could do for him? Anything he would like? He said, “I would love it if you would call me once in a while to just say hello.” Calling my dad has never been easy as he loves to talk about his sons and, apparently, this has created a resentment within me. This wouldn’t be a problem, as I too love my brothers and love to hear of their accomplishments, but it hurts because his conversations have always perseverated on them and it has always been painful. I knew that this wouldn’t be an easy request.
But I wanted to try to give him what he wants. He’s in his eighties and I would like to hear his voice too while I can! So I agreed.