Mom! You have a cell phone now?
I’m using your sister’s phone.
Don’t have Beth’s number in my phone, so didn’t recognize it.
How are you? Everything cool?
No, not really. Your father fell again last night.
Few fractured ribs, busted wrist, wounded pride.
Wow! He ok? Doing alright?
He will survive, but in lots of pain.
Will be in hospital till 27th.
Man, that’s awful. Thnx so much for
letting me know.
Your father and I want to know when you are flying home.
Date: March 22, 2013 – 9:03 pm
What’s up, man? Still trying to break par on the local golf course? I keep telling you – golf is for wusses. Get some snowshoes, and be a real man. HA!
We doing ok. Suze and the kids are fine. Our oldest fractured her wrist running down the stairs- just tripped or something. The docs were great, though, and patched her up quickly. ER visit – about $43!
We’re still here in that country i can’t name doing that work i can’t talk about, telling people a great message about Someone great that i can’t mention here. It is reeeallly slow going and terribly frustrating. Sort of like trying to ride a kid’s bike with training wheels up an isolated, muddy, rock-filled trail in the rain at night: sure, we’re making progress, but we fail a lot and fall, we’re dirty, cold, and wet….and there’s no one around to help or applaud.
I guess i don’t really mean applaud. We’re not doing this for slaps on the back or cheers. You know what i mean, though. We don’t really have anyone around to say, “Keep it up…i’ve seen your labors and know you are doing exactly what your “Father” would want you to do.” Right now, we sort of isolated.
Wait, no…not isolated. We have coworkers and stay in touch with others who do similar work. So what do i mean….?
Umm…ok. i got it…I think.
It’s my dad. Got a text from my mom. Seems Dad fell again, about the third time in the last year. Busted ribs, fractured wrist. He’ll live, mainly because he’s a tough old buzzard who is too stubborn to quit. He’s still chugging along after 74 years. Mom is there to help out, so i know dad’s gonna be fine.
I just wonder what i’m doing here, though.
I mean, here’s my dad – on bad days he’s a raging atheist. On good days, he’s a sensitive agnostic, not quite sure about anything spiritual. And me…what do i do? I stop by the house and say “Hey Pops, thanks for everything. Me and the fam are heading over to parts of the world your brother fought against while in the Army- we love those folks more than we love you. Have fun with the dialysis, the glaucoma, the atheism, the bad balance, the house that’s falling apart around you. Try not to trust my sis, Beth – she’s been stealing from your bank account for years, and y’all gonna need the money back in order to pay those guys who are planning to cheat you on the new roof. i’d replace it for you, but, ya know….my hammer and i will be over there. Jesus loves you! See ya in 2015!”
Seriously? This is honoring my mother and father? And for what?
Nationals who don’t care about the Message. Fellow workers who listen to my frustrations and “encourage” me by telling me i’m not reading my Book enough or not pr*ying enough. Friends who tell me that my Dad is going to hell and that’s his choice, not mine. Neighbor kids who throw stuff at my blond-haired daughter to keep the devils inside her from attacking them…cuz apparently blondes are demon-possessed. Monthly reports filled with zeros where i’m supposed to count how many i’ve dunked and added to the Family in the last month.
Every month, emails from back in the US are the same – Dad confused, Dad hurt, Dad upset. Beth took money, Beth slapped Dad, Beth wrecked Mom’s car. Mom’s passive-aggressive comments about my “loving” my dad by leaving the country. Dad’s mournful emails about being abandoned.
If the work were going great, it would be easier to sort of set aside my Dad’s problems. i could point to all the good we are doing and say, “Dad, i’m here for these people who are coming to know Him. See?” But i can’t. No one is coming to know Him. No one. Even when Dad gets interested in what we’re doing, the moment i have to admit that we’re just slogging along he stops being quite so interested.
I’m pretty sure my work is suffering through all this. Always checking my phone, always wondering how the parents are doing. Last week I came home early from a study group simply because i couldn’t focus any more.
I tried telling my supervisor about it. His response, essentially: whoever puts their hand to the plow but looks back blah blah so i better stop this whining, and besides, our organization might have to take into account my spiritually immaturity. Great servant leadership in action. That sort of a response helps explain why his “attaboys” don’t accomplish much for me.
My unspoken question for him would be: Who’s to say that caring for my dad isn’t the “plow” i’m supposed to be managing?
My wife says whoever sacrifices family, home, money will get repaid by Him, but i’m not really worried about that. What i give up isn’t the issue; what’s my dad giving up in exchange for my committment? The attention of his grandkids, the help of his son, protection from the wolves – all for a cause he doesn’t believe in.
I dunno, man. I can’t envision returning to the US as anything other than disobedience to Him. At the same time, staying here and ignoring Dad’s needs feels pretty disobedient as well. Pr*y for us, dude. I need something – someone to announce a willingness to be dunked, someone to show up thirsty for His message, some acknowledgement that i’m doing a good thing. I need something that helps me grasp that this is all worthwhile.
Say “hey” to Ally and the gang. Hope you are all doing better than we are right now.