Ah, Friday. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the weekend! Although, around here, weekends look almost exactly like week days and this weekend we have an open house so my weekend will be jam-packed full with cleaning craziness to get ready for that. We also got a call today scheduling a showing for Monday so hopefully something comes of all that.
In last week’s Freedom Friday post, I left off mid-story telling you about a confrontation I had with my father several years ago. I highly recommend going back and reading it so you can make more sense of today’s post. You know how I just love to leave you hanging.
For those of you who are newer readers, you may want to go back to the beginning of this series and read all the posts in order. These posts are specifically designed to go a little deeper into my own personal journey and the emotional side of my weight-related issues.
I tell these stories not to garner sympathy. Rather, my desire is to get to the heart of why it is that I do what I do when it comes to food and find real healing from the inside out (while still focusing on the outside). In writing these posts, I hope to also connect with those of you who understand where I am coming from, who share similar experiences and who also struggle with an emotional and physical addiction to food. You can read these posts from the beginning right here.
Last week I shared how my father and I had a confrontation and I stormed out, running away from my problems like I always
do did. This was also when my beloved grandfather, who was more like a father to me, was in the beginning stages of his battle with cancer. It was an extremely hard time for all of us as reality came crashing in on us and we had to face watching this man of strength and honor and integrity battle this terrible illness.
I think that was a contributing factor in my decision to stop running that day. It was like some light bulb went off in my head and I realized how awful it was, what my dad and I were doing to each other. Here we were in the midst of a family crisis and we were letting petty arguments get in the way of keeping our family unified for the sake of my grandfather’s health and well-being. How terribly selfish we were!
So, just a couple of short minutes after storming out of my grandparent’s house, husband and kids in tow, I realized that it couldn’t go on like this. If there was ever a time when my family needed to pull itself together it was now.
So, slowly and trepidatiously (is that even a word?), I picked up the phone and dialed my dad’s number. In tears, I apologized for my behavior. And in tears I called him out on his. I asked him why we couldn’t just speak to each other like adults and why we had to always get into screaming matches. I asked him if it was always going to be this way and told him that I didn’t want that and I wanted things to be better.
And then he said something to me that I will never forget. He said, “Lisa, it’s like all of those things you did as a teenager are right here. Every time I see you they are right in my face. They are right here for me.”
What he meant, of course, was that he could not get past our past. Here I was a grown woman, married with 2 children of my own, and he coud not see me as anything other than the shameful little girl who had been hurt so much and who hurt so much.
I told him that I didn’t know what I could do about that. I told him I wasn’t that girl anymore. And for probably the hundredth time, I apologized for the pain I caused him. I reminded him that I had apologized for those things over and over and sought his forgiveness, yet he refused to give it. I told him that I didn’t know what else I could do. I could not go back and erase the years the locusts had eaten, the years of pain and anger and rage and turmoil. And again, I apologized.
I knew that if he could never get past the events of my childhood, namely the events that happened during my high school years, which at the time, had been more than ten years prior, then we would never see healing to our incredibly broken, seemingly damaged-beyond-repair relationship.
And, for the second time in the conversation, he said something that I will never forget. He had never said it to me before and he hasn’t said it since.
He said, “Lisa, I’m sorry.”
And this was my response:
Yes, that’s right. Maybe for the first time in my life I was speechless. Anyone who knows my dad, knows that those are words that are not easily spoken. In fact, I may be the only person in the history of time who has heard those words come out of his mouth. I was totally caught off-guard and flabbergasted. Hence the speechlessness.
Well, I finally did recover from that and we talked for a few more minutes before saying good-bye. At the end of the conversation, he said something else rarely spoken in my childhood home. Not quite as rarely as “I’m sorry” (which was never), but a very close second.
He said, ‘I love you.”
And you know what? For the first time ever, I think I believed him.
I’ll share more next week about how God brought triumph from the tragedy in our lives and where things are with my dad now. Thanks for sharing this journey with me!