Maybe I should just start each new blog post with "Sorry I haven't been blogging more"?
But since it's just you and me now blog, and all those other folks who used to hang around and read this stuff have moved on to Letters From Kamp Krusty and Dustin's blog, I guess we can get back down to business, eh?
So much and so little happening, all at the same time.
Looks like I'm probably heading down to San Diego a week from today. So, the week before Palm Sunday, the start of our 3rd Gathering, trying to get ready for Good Friday and Easter, I'm hopping on a plane to deal with dad.
I'm really trying to be okay with it, but it's a struggle. In my best moments, I feel compassion for him, am able to think redemptively about what it means to go and serve someone who has cultivated a careful indifference to you over nearly 40 years, about finding healing by answering the hostility of that indifference with love and trying to be Jesus to someone who seems to have missed Him...
In my worst moments I think "Screw him. I have a life, a family, a church community and damned if they are going to pay even the smallest price for this guy who just couldn't be bothered."
I try not to let that voice win... and I guess it's not, seeing as how I'm checking airfares, thinking thru who I can crash with and such.
I was talking to my uncle last night- he called during home group, and I let it go for awhile knowing the basic gist of what he was going to say. But I ducked out of the last few minutes of home group, hoping for a five minute conversation and getting instead close to an hour of talk about my dad.
My aunt (my dad's sister) and uncle have been shouldering the burden of my dad for almost a decade now, paying all his bills out of his insurance/disability, giving him food money, hiring a cleaning lady, shuttling him to appointments- basically doing what it took to allow him to live a semi-normal life.
The problem is, my uncle is getting old himself, has probably even more health problems than my dad, as well as two handicapped adult boys at home, and just can't do it anymore.
This is the uncle that always did his best to be a surrogate dad for me- taking me to camp and on trips, disciplining me when my grandparents wouldn't (wonder how my dad turned out as he did? There you go...) and providing some stable maleness in my life. He didn't always do it perfectly and it all got pretty sidetracked when the first of his two handicapped boys came along, but I always appreciated all the efforts he made for me. Amazing to me that this many years later, the guy is still putting out effort for our family...
So I explained to him that I feel no responsibility for my dad at all, but for his sake (my uncle's) I'd come down and try to get my dad into a situation where he would no longer be a burden on them.
In explaining this to my uncle, I referenced that "cultivated indifference" that I felt had been the hallmark of my relationship with my dad and he agreed. In fact, he said "I remember when we went out to visit him in New Jersey with you and your grandparents. You and I would ride bikes and play during the day, and he'd come home from work, be there for a 1/2 hour to clean up, and then go hang out with his friends."
Oh yeah. I'd forgotten that... but now I remember.
So that didn't exactly help, but like I say, in my better moments...
In my better moments I can think about doing something good for my dad in spite of all the good he's chosen not to do for me. And in lieu of that, I can think about helping out my uncle and aunt who have done tremendous amounts for me.
And hopefully, somewhere in there, all the rest will get taken care of as well...