"I thank God for my handicaps for, through them,
I have found myself, my work, and my God."
There I was after dinner last night discussing have a Christmas party next month. I asked Dad questions about things mom used to have at her annual party; the more we talked the more he remembered. We were just getting to the like guest list when the phone rang. I talked for a few minutes, hung up, sat back down ready to pick up where we left off, when POW, like a cartoon balloon out of nowhere, everything about the evening changed.
I should have seen it coming. Dad had mentioned his lack of sleep the night before. I'd seen him scrunched over his desk figuring and refiguring. He looks like a cross between a Dickensian Scrooge and Scrooge McDuck of Disney fame instead of my dad. When says something along the lines of, "is this a good time to talk?" the acid in my stomach floods my gut and fills my esophagus. My heart beats to a fight or flight rhythm. My feet decide flight is the better option before my brain even knows what's coming. It's always about money. And when my father wants to discuss his finances with me, I dread what issues are going to come with it. Will it be how inept I am at handling money? Will it be that Sweetie and I aren't married? Will it be about making plans for my future of which there are none?
For any sane or rational person these topics are not life-threatening. But for me they are. I don't know why, and to be honest, I don't think I want to. I just want the topic to go away and never be discussed again.
Sweetie and I listened to his proposal(s). I scribbled a few notes. But in actuality I could not see or hear for the fear and anger that was coursing through my veins like Sherman through Atlanta.
I don't know what the outcome of the conversation will be. All three of us have headed to our separate corners to think about it. But I know it's time for me to act like a grown up, hold my inner child's hand, convince her we'll get through it and deal with it. That's what I need to do, what I want to do is go to sleep.
I don't usually dip into other people's medicine bottles. Last night I found a sleeping pill and downed it like it was a shot of Tequila. Perhaps I should have opted for Jose Cuervo instead. I slept some and then some more. The cat tried repeatedly to wake me up, yet each time I rolled over giving myself over to Somnus (the Greek god of sleep). It was 11:30 before I stumbled out of bed and a shower. I beat Dad by half an hour. Apparently, after getting things off his chest he slept soundly.
When I looked in the mirror I was not happy with what I saw staring back at me. All day I've been feeling angry, sad, and tired. I've been playing old tapes in my head, thinking lots of negative stuff. That's what anger does to me. I don't know how to express it, I hate to feel it so instead of beating a pillow with a baseball bat I beat up my psyche til I can cry myself into oblivion. Okay so I know this about myself, what now?
Well I'm reminded again of the 12 Steps of AA.
Step 4 =Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves; Step 5 = Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs; Step 6 = Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character and Step 7= Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
Lately I've been real good at judging my father's mood and character. Tonight I see very little difference in his grumpiness and my own. I get really frustrated when it appears he has no clue as to who I really am. In a moment of clarity this afternoon, I realized the same could be said for me about him. I am as stuck in my ways as he is in his. It is appropriate then to start one of those inventories 12 steppers talk about and see where it leads me. One thing is for sure, I'm ready to be released from the bondage of my anger. I'm just not exactly sure how to say (and mean) here it is God, you take it and keep it this time.
Now what does all this have to do with gratitude? With my vision so clouded over you'd think I couldn't see a blessing if it kissed me on the cheek. You'd be partly right. I've had to look, but not too far.
During the conversation from hell last night, I wrote on my paper: Jack (aka Sweetie) is a saint. By that I meant that he knew just the right words to say and when to say them. Unlike me who was seething in the corner trying to make myself invisible, he listened to what my father had to say, acknowledged his concerns and fears, diffused an atomic explosion, and knew when to draw the conversation to a close. I'm not sure how it was possible but in the moment of mixed emotions for me, I felt even more love for Jack. For this man's presence in my life I am extremely grateful.
I'm also filled with gratitude and surprise and love for a certain potter who out of the blue sent me one of her precious creations. She reminds me that while there is some healing that comes from looking inward, there is fulfillment beyond measure by reaching out in love and generosity. Especially when there is not reason other than to say "it matters." I am blessed to be a recipient and promise to look for opportunities to play it forward.
I'm touched with joy by an email I got today from a woman I know only through the blogosphere. However, I'm pretty sure we were sisters in another life. Our stories are way different yet at surprisingly very similar. She has opened herself to me and offered me a place to feel safe enough to do the same. She reminds me of the gift of girlfriends.
Lastly, if you are still with me because I have certainly lived up to the name of this blog and rambled on, I'm filled with a strange kind of love and thanks for my $700 cat and his sister. Boy cat waits til I'm in a quiet place then comes to me on his terms. He purrs, rubs, kneads, puffs up his tail and in a very feline way touches my heart. Girl cat on the other hand is like a baby. She cries to be picked up, follows me into the bathroom, waits for me to sit down, then rubs her head on my shoulder and cheek. When all the world seems dark and bleak, there is nothing like the unadulterated attention of a furry creature.
Blessings abound. I am grateful.
Wishing for you surprises in your mailbox, something furry to lie next to and enough introspection to turn your frowns into smiles,