Tribute

Summer is going by very fast and I’m not sure how I feel about it. 

I can’t believe how much of a sap I’ve turned into. I literally tear up and get all chokey for the smallest things. I’m absolutely appalled. I have a theory that my body is making up for the years I spent suppressing my feelings and doing arithmetic in my head to make sure I never cried.

I despise crying.

Anyway, I got all choked up today because it’s Father’s Day and it didn’t go exactly as I would have liked it. First, even though my dad seems to think we’re on good terms, I still can’t get over the awkwardness that follows a fight/scolding. It came straight out of the blue; my brother and I were playing around, arguing about which fruit requires the least amount of effort to eat (I vote blueberries) and we kept at it because our ma was laughing at the incredulity of it all. And then my dad drops the bomb and says all this is evidence that I’m a spoiled brat and he somehow brings RoX into it again; he damns RoX and says that I’m wasting all my time and energy on it and come home and do absolutely nothing for the family. The attack is so fast and hard that the mood at the dinner table immediately drops; I see my brother stare at me out of the corner of my eye, worried and checking to see how I’ll react (because he knows I’ve helped around when my dad wasn’t watching) and my ma immediately tries to change the subject. 

My dad does have merit in his words. I was especially bratty the beginning of summer (I would like to use the excuse that I was so damn tired but come on, Jesus never complained or stopped serving even when he was exhausted) and I really did do nothing for a while. I am an incredibly lazy person at heart and I can see how I could take it out on my family and not even realize it. Thank the Lord for my brother who sees both sides; mine and my parents, and possesses the grace to explain to me patiently and kindly that I am in the wrong and at the same time, support and comfort me. He was angry that I stayed silent while my dad yelled at me and didn’t defend myself (“How could he know how you feel if you don’t tell him?” he asks me) and told me that I had to acknowledge my dad and stand up for myself at the same time. 

But, I have this thing where anytime I’m in a fight or get yelled at, I physically can’t bring myself to face that person to apologize (except in the case of my mother and I have a theory for this too) and I act as if nothing happened. Even if I’m in the wrong, I can’t own up publicly to my mistake in front of them. I’ll try to do things physically to show them I’m sorry but I’ll never verbally apologize. Why?

Shame, pride, fear, insecurity, sadness. One, I know the minute I open my mouth to apologize, I’ll choke instead and start crying and that’s happened before when I was a child and my ma would scream at me to stop instead of comforting me. (Ahh….maybe that’s why I hate crying) Two, even though I logically know that parents love their children and forgive them, I can’t convince my heart that they will so I don’t want to risk being vulnerable in front of them only for them to shoot me down. Third, I have the mindset that if I show them I’m sorry through my actions, I won’t need to say so in words. They don’t need to hear that, it’s a given in the way I’m behaving, right?

I’ve always known I owed my ma a long, overdue apology for the way I acted over the years but now I realize I probably need to sit my dad down, too, to apologize to him. 

After the “fight” I was supposed to meet Michelle but I couldn’t bring myself to exit the house because it meant I’d have to get past my dad and let him know that I was going out, again, to hang out with RoX people, again, right after he had scolded me about holding back. I was so close to sneaking out the basement door when I suddenly remembered, “OF COURSE, JESUS HELP ME,” and chanted it like a lifeline, that I was able to walk out the front door after telling my dad where I was going. He let me go with hardly a reaction.

Still in that weird phase of not being entirely comfortable with him, still haven’t worked up the courage to apologize to him, still can’t look him in the face for more than three seconds. 

And then second, (after this terribly long, dull tangent, my apologies) I planned such a nice dinner for him and my brother had to get his wisdom teeth surgery days before today so he can’t eat anything and the whole family can’t go out to eat. I’m terrified that my dad will be upset over it (even though he’d never show it because men are macho like that) because we went to such an extravagant place for my ma on mother’s day. We didn’t do anything special today and it makes me angry because my ma hasn’t been on good terms with my dad either and I haven’t heard her say a word to him today besides snapping at him to stop bothering her.

This is my father, who’s sacrificed a lifetime of opportunities for myself and my ma and I’m so upset that nobody seems to care as much as I do. Ahhh, what is the point of this whole convoluted post?

Basically, I’m angry at myself. I’m mad that I didn’t appreciate my dad for all he did the years he raised me and stuck with my family when I know others might have walked out. He has nearly limitless patience for both me and my mother’s brattyness and he doesn’t only tolerate us, but loves us and continues providing for us all the same. I’m angry because I remember just a couple months ago, I questioned if he even loved me and didn’t only provide for me because he prides himself on being a good man. And even looking back now, I realize he was the very first person to expose me to Christianity, who bought me the Old Testament storybook that I poured over as a child, who named me after Rebekah in the Bible, who was open to me going to youth group and fought with my ma to let me go in high school, etc. He paved the way for me to meet Jesus and yet he doesn’t know Him himself. 

And what makes me tear up is that I realize now it is because he loves me so much that he is unwilling to lose me to Jesus. 

Lord, please don’t take my parents away from me. Yet, not my will, but yours be done.

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