I didn’t get my Saturday Bits post up that I wanted. When push came to shove, posting that was low on the priority list. The same with my Make-up Monday post. Here’s why:
One of the most powerful things I’ve learned in life is that you can’t change someone. You can only love them and pray or hope they decide to change themselves. But in the mean time, I believe it is also important to you learn if something needs to change inside of you.
I wasn’t close with my dad growing up. My dad only wanted to have full custody of my brother and I to hurt my mom. After my mom and I left, I didn’t hear from my dad for nearly five years. It took several years for a ‘happy birthday!’ and ‘Merry Christmas!’ and it took time to ‘get to know’ one another. I say ‘get to know’ because we don’t have deep conversations. They tend to be about recent events in the world, recent life happenings and simple day to day things.
If anything, learning this life lesson in regards to a parent has been most rewarding. What girl doesn’t want to be loved by their parent? or be told they’re beautiful, they’re talented, receive encouragement or asked questions about their dreams in life? I didn’t get those things from my dad growing up. Not even when we started talking more.
But what I did get was the understanding of how you can’t change someone unless they want to change. It didn’t matter how many times I told my dad I cared about him while I cried. It didn’t matter how many times I told him it upsets me that he hangs up in the middle of our conversations because of how drunk he might be. It didn’t matter when I’d not call him for several weeks because of how hurt my feelings were from the last conversation.
What mattered is that I showed him unconditional love. I realized I couldn’t do anything to change him. I had to forgive him of the hurt and let go of everything I held on to. Not only could I not change my dad, but I had to love him where he is in his life. Even if I didn’t agree. I could not express my negative/hurt emotions, but change my tone and create the positive relationship I wanted.
It was hard.
There were times I pretended to be happy.
But as I asked God for healing and started to leave myself completely out of this relationship equation, I was able to see more of my dad and what I needed to be for him. My dad is beyond The Glass Is Half Empty Type. Despite knowing that about him, it took a lot of internal work and time for me to accept that personality trait as part of our conversations.
There were points when I was a teenager and young adult where I wondered, how would I feel if my dad passed away? It was a serious and logical question due to his alcoholism. I felt very numb and wasn’t sure if it would matter since he wasn’t part of my life during those times. Since I chose to talk to him more and initiate a relationship my heart has changed. Several years ago I revisited that question, 7 years later after choosing to talk to him more, and realized I would be hurt. I’d go into mourning and I’d miss him. I had forgiven him and learned how to love in a way that was supportive for my dad and learned how to protect myself from potential hurt.
When I meet other people who have unforgiveness in their heart towards a parent, sibling, etc, it hurts me. I learned how to let that go, and it’s hard to do that, but it was such a rewarding experience. I watched my dad physical abuse my family, along with verbal abuse and alcoholism. I found it in my heart to forgive, to let go of those emotions, and to have hope for a better future for the relationship. My brother and I were grown, my parents were divorced and the reality that caused so much hurt didn’t exist any more. Why keep carrying the past around in my present?
I have hope for anyone who has trouble forgiving. It’s not easy to forget, but it’s part of the process to move forward and not allowing the past to stay in your present.
I write all this because I received a call approximately 16 days ago that my dad admitted himself into the hospital. I know this is the beginning of the end. His health has been declining for the last 8 years and doctors are amazed my dad is still alive. My dad has been told he needs to make some lifestyle changes and hasn’t been compliant. He hasn’t been compliant because he just doesn’t feel like it, but I can’t tell him he’s making the wrong choices. I can only tell him that he’s choosing to not do what he’s been asked to, so his issues are due to his choices. I’ve cried on my own knowing that my dad could live better and chooses not to.
While I wanted to share my testimony on forgiveness, I also wanted to explain my inconsistencies on here. I have so many plans! But family comes first.