June 9, 2008

Forgiveness

Near the end of my first year in grad school my parents separated, except it was a lot more violent than that, or at least felt that way...separated sounds like such a mutal word, an amicable split. It was anything but. Clear out of the blue for the most part. Unexpected. Mean and painful. In any case, divorce was in the works.

It was maddening the way he would keep showing up to do things around the house, like cut the grass. Or fix something. Like he still lived there and had any right to come and go as he pleased. He even once bought us ice cream and left it in the freezer. Left a note for my mom every time, and signed it "love" which is the completely wrong word for it. "Torture" would have been more appropriate. I mean, is it really love when in the same breath as you tell someone they are the most important person in your life and you love them so much, you also tell them that you're leaving? I hardly think so.

We sold the house. Packed our stuff into storage and left. I did things like take all the cds I knew were his favorite. I left him all the tupperware without lids and lids without tupperware bottoms (he would throw tantrums over this when I was growing up). I purposely left things messy so he would be responsible for cleaning up the mess he left. I realize now how metaphorical that is, or whatever the appropriate word is. I still want him to be held responsible for what a mess things were/are and I want someone to blame for how angry and hurt I still am.

So the Christmas following, this would have been December of 2002, all I could do as my mom and I hopped from party to party on Christmas Eve was think about how lonely he must be because my mom got all the friends and family in the settlement. It made me feel bad, so I called him. Then I went over for lunch. When I went back to school and made arrangements to have lunch while he was in town on business. It was all just awful. All I could picture was having to split holidays and the sad look on my mom's face when I would leave her to see him, awkward silences while we thought about things we couldn't talk about, how horribly he treated my mom, how disrespectful he is.

So I told him I couldn't see him anymore. I barely looked at him through lunch. We had Chinese food. I didn't look at him when I told him I couldn't do this anymore. It was snowing outside. We got out of the car. I still wasn't looking at him. He asked if he could have a hug. I told him no and walked away. He sent me a letter later that year asking if he could come to my graduation. I sent him a scathing letter back wondering how he could ask such a thing. I then spent the whole day worried that he would show up and cause a scene. I hated the feeling of being overly alert and prepared for what might happen if he were to show up, so I took precautions to cover my tracks. He doesn't know where I live, where I work, where I go to church, what car I drive, what my phone number is. He still sends Christmas and birthday presents every year, but I think this was the last one. He used to send them to my mom's office, but her office moved. He tried sending them through family, but that made them uncomfortable. This year a package came to the house, but it had the wrong phone number on it so I returned it to UPS person unknown. But now I'm afraid that he'll show up on my doorstep to check and see if the address was right.

All this mess is coming up again because I found out he's moving to the next city over. There's a HUGE possibility he'll be places I go. And I'm afraid. Not because he'll do anything, but because I don't know what I would do. Freak out? Snap? Disintegrate? Melt? I've spent an awful lot of time making sure he can't find me. The worst thing he is is pushy, so the worst thing that could happen is he'll bother me all the time. But I haven't dealt with MY issues with him leaving, I don't think. I've spent all my time concentrating on my mom.

I thought that I had forgiven him, but the thought has come to mind that perhaps I conditionally forgave him: I will forgive you if only I never have to see you, speak to you, hear from you, etc. And if that is the case, what do I do next? I don't have any particular desire to forgive him, other than the fact that it's what God tells us to do. I do have a particular desire for him to be punished, scolded, reprimanded, pay, be humiliated, be lonely, held accountable, responsible, etc. for leaving and inflicting what has resulted in my life/lifestyle for the past five years.

I deduced last week at bible study (thank God it was the women's time together) that I probably am truly mad at God for not protecting me, when it gets right down to it. My pastor always says anger is a secondary emotion, not primary. My primary emotion is hurt. My dad turned out to not be what he was supposed to be, and he did not do what he was supposed to do. My life is not turning out how it was supposed to turn out. I feel guilty and responsible for things that I shouldn't be.

Which doesn't leave me in any better of a place, because what do you do with anger at the Lord? He does everything perfectly, and good always wins over evil, and I truly believe that if he stayed, things could have turned out worse. But what do you do if your head knows, but your heart doesn't?

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