Have you heard the saying, ‘act in haste; repent at leisure’? While it had been good for ‘me’ to get all of my huge emotions out on paper, the exercise had not resulted in anything action-worthy. I guess I have learned something in my life, because somewhere along the line I became much more comfortable with waiting. Not failing to act, but reserving the decision for a later time.
I was stuck. I wanted to explain myself- felt I had that right. More than that I wanted my earthly Father to know and understand me again. I wanted to feel his faith in me, his trust that I was an ok person, not a daughter who brought him shame. I know that any shame he would feel over me or my actions would not be MY responsibility, but OH! How I wanted him to be proud of me. I did not want to respond until I knew what I wanted to say. I was stuck.
For some reason it had been days since I’d checked my email… When I logged on I was surprised to see any emails from my Father- I thought he had said his piece. There were three, sent on each of three subsequent days. The first email was an update on some newsy stuff, but at the bottom he wrote; “My dear little one, I long to hear from you, ok?” and he signed it, ‘your anxious papa’. (My dad was writing in Spanish- not his native tongue.) The second email was rather terse. “Were you able to translate my last email? At the end I said I would like to hear from you.” The third email laid his heart bare.
I hope you don’t mind, your mommie shares your messages with me. Like you, the most important thing for me is to have a good relationship with you.
In view of that. I don’t want to be one of those daddies who just keeps hammering away with his opinion. I would rather be friends with you. I said what I wanted to say and I will let it rest. It was just my opinion anyway. And I won’t be presenting you with a facade in the future. I will always be genuine with you. I just will not keep expressing the same opinion over and over.
Please keep sharing your thoughts with me, and if I disagree I will listen, and not be critical. If you ask my opinion I will give you what I believe to be true, but I will be gentle and pleasant. About the dissertation. The good things I said about you are all true. I did not make anything up to soften the rest of what I said. If the whole thing makes you continue to feel bad, please, delete it. Then take a deep breath and breathe it all out. Okay? Or just delete the unpleasant stuff and let the good stuff work through you.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
I was astonished! Suddenly I knew what I could write that would ease the fear in my Father’s heart, and maybe even help him begin to listen to what I had to say. I responded to each of the emails individually, explaining that I had not been ignoring Him, but that I had forgotten to check my account. I told Daddy that I would be sending part one of my responses very shortly, and that I hope we could dialogue about it as we went along.
I wrote Part One. I decided to concentrate on what was most important, the fact that I loved and respected my father. Here’s part of what I wrote-
I don’t consider you a failure either; not as a Pastor OR as a Father. I have told many of my peers (no one you know, though) how your life is a testament to God’s Grace and to the Power of the Holy Spirit. You are different than your brothers and sisters. There is something that broke in them that remains unbroken in you. You passed the core of strength on to your children. And that tenacity is what allows them to disagree with you WHILE loving you and respecting your wisdom. The fact that your children disagree with you is a hallmark of your SUCCESS as a parent, not a sign of failure.
I wanted him to know that I had had enough freedom to change my parenting plan simply because he and Mom had somehow done something right. I waited with bated breath for his response. Since I really hadn’t addressed anything contentious in this one, I didn’t expect much more than respectful silence. I got much more than I expected. Daddy wrote;
When I downloaded your part one response, I clicked on save. I’m glad I did.
Thank you, it was encouraging.
There was more than that, but it is too personal to share. What he wrote let me know that he had faith in me. I cried with relief.