How do you respond when a family member speaks cruel or hurtful words to you? The first thing that I did was think – What would Jesus do? I know what He wouldn’t do…Here is how it started….
I was not feeling well last evening, in fact, I had pains and pressure in my stomach. I didn’t feel well at all. I started coughing and so I took a pain pill and then I took a sinus pill. How the pressure in my stomach equated to stuffiness… I’m not sure??.. but a sinus pill works wonders for me when I feel all stuffy. I mean, I had to determine if it was pressure from not being able to breathe or something else.
The heat in my Father’s thermostat is always set to 72, which equates to around a balmy 75 – and stays that way– even when it’s 50-60 outside, or even 72.
Well, for me that’s a little hot, especially when you and even your daughter notice steam rising off of ourselves when you step outside of the house, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, I felt increasingly worse and the cough started sounding more congested but it felt different than the usual cold or a simple stuffy head and the pressure in my stomach… continued to build.
OK, I did have a raw vegetable lunch and sometimes that does tend to cause pressure in my tummy. I love raw veggie’s but they don’t always love me. Then, I noticed that maybe the pressure was coming from my undergarments…Or maybe the pressure was causing the undergarments to feel like they were choking me. Then of course, the normal – after going through treatment – the ugly ‘C’ word creeps into your mind, so by now…I’m really getting a bit worked up.
I had to make dinner for my son, so I went into the kitchen and decided maybe just to be on the safe side, I should take an aspirin too. Now, I know that typically this may not have been a good idea after taking a pain pill and sinus pill already, but I didn’t want to take any chances. I have had twinges in my chest in years past. All that it ended up being was a slight case of sinus tachycardia and the doctors said it was most likely anxiety induced. I ended up pushing on, acting as if (that I was a perfectly happy healthy peach) and making dinner.
I shared with my Dad after he got back from his meeting that I wasn’t feeling well. (That was the first bad idea.) He was really sympathetic though, and cleaned up the kitchen for me, while I went upstairs to take a hot bath. I felt better after the bath, and felt just a bit sore in the upper area of my chest and stomach. Oh, I forgot to mention, the entire time that was going on (the feelings of swelling and stuffiness), I was really anxious and was having trouble getting my thoughts together. I felt more scatterbrained than usual.
So, after a while, I felt better and had a snack and went to bed. (A snack before bed – another not so great idea).
I woke up today feeling okay (thank you Lord) and then I started feeling stuffy again with a about a half an hour. I felt sore in the chest area again too. I put on loose clothing for the day – just as a precaution – and to feel relaxed of course. It is – free Friday after all! The next thing I noticed was the cough started back again, just a couple of times though. I was stuffy and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere… I had a nose bleed. I am always a bit cautious of this because during chemo I suffered allot of nosebleeds. I have had periods since treatment that I have had repeated nosebleeds but thankfully, I haven’t had one for a few months. This one lasted a bit longer …yet it eventually did stop.
I then sat in the den with my Dad to watch a few minutes of TV before driving my son down to the bus stop and took a sip of coffee and ‘oh my’ – it went down the ‘wrong pipe’. I choked, I sputtered, I gasped.
My son stood up and looked at me from another room and dashed to get water. Bless his heart. I guess he thought water when I’m trying to get air, was a good thing, but it was the thought after all.
My father just sat looking at me like I had two heads. I said..when I finally had enough air – “I’m OK folks – just a minor scare”. (sorry for the sarcasm God). Anyway – I took a sip of water. I was fine. I had forgotten my soreness and stuffiness and all that for a second though. Good thing.
Wait – it gets better. Keep reading…My Dad said – “you know, it’s not ever gonna get any better until you lose weight.” Wait – What?
Let me take inventory: Pressure in my stomach, stuffy head, little bit of heart fluttering, to nosebleed and finally – strangling on coffee – led to another ‘weight comment’ – really?Well, this is when I need to ask for forgiveness right up front God for my thoughts and for the words that came next..
… yet, it was more of the same…of many years banter between us or rather comments made that I only in the last year have begun to respond to. This time without hesitation, I said “you know Dad, I’ve asked you over and over not to verbally relate everything that happens with me back to weight. I know you are concerned for my health but quite honestly – those words spoken over and over, when I have asked you not to say things like that again – comes across now, as deliberate and hurtful. In fact Dad, I know that it causes me to do just the opposite” (Yes, I admit it and that is no excuse) and then I added “and quite simply it tends to cause self esteem issues when it is repeatedly said – after someone has asked you to stop making those comments.”
… and with that said, I picked up my coffee, that I had just strangled on and walked to the kitchen table in the other room. The whole time in my mind, I was asking God to forgive me for saying anything. Something like this…
“God I know this is my Dad I and he is gracious and loving. He’s My Dad and I am to honor my mother (who has since passed) and Father and I know that I should have held my tongue.” I didn’t mean it to be a pride thing, but I was also a bit ‘hot around the collar’ (God forgive my anger) and I knew I had said and done enough.
So, I took my son to the bus stop and he was still concerned about me. He in fact really rallied around me and offered to carry some bags back up to my bedroom before we left for the bus stop, as…I have been lugging them back and forth from upstairs to downstairs and back, 4 times a day. I’m not supposed to lift more than 25 lbs after having lymph nodes removed and the bags are um-mm easily 30 lbs or more, by the time you add two laptop bags (one with notebooks and paper only), the other with the actual laptop inside and of course my overstuffed purse.
Why, you ask, do I do that? And… it occurs to me that I have done this before (carrying heavy pocketbooks etc) and had similar issues with chest pain. Anyway – my office is set up upstairs in my bedroom and when my son comes home from school each day, he likes to play on the play station which is also set up in my office, so I move to the downstairs every afternoon when he gets home from school, so he can have his unwinding time.
I also sometimes log onto my laptop in the morning some days, so I lug them downstairs first thing in the morning. Aha – I see a possible solution – leave it (the bags and laptop) in my bedroom… unless I am working for a while or have someone else carry them downstairs for me. Again, God forgive me for my pride, because most of the time, I just lug them down and back up by myself.
My son asked me about the exchange between my Dad and I– (of course he heard it all) and I said “I know that I did wrong. I made a mistake. I should not have responded – because we are to honor our father and mother” (thinking I hope he hears what I’m not saying) and “I know Dad is just worried about me.” (I was making the usual rationalizations, and excuses but truth. You see, I did this same rationalizing also during my marriage. I’m quite good at it).
Anyway, it was nice that my son really showed concern and that we had a chance for dialogue – but I felt that I did wrong somehow. Why is it that I always end up feeling somehow like I’m the bad guy?
So, my son went off to school and I decided to take a drive. Driving clears my head and driving and singing to the radio is liberating. I didn’t drive very far. Where did I go? I drove myself – to Bojangles – food! I decided (said to self… “okay – he made his point about the food and I will not eat in the kitchen when I get back.”) They were prideful, resentful and hurtful words. Who did the hurt? Me and more importantly – God! So what did I do….?
I ordered – grits – at a southern biscuit place, no doubt. I ordered a less than a cup full of southern grits and I pulled over, added my pat of butter and ate them. I felt vindicated! I only ordered grits for Pete’s sake. I would show him. I would eat just grits! I would eat small and then I thought “wait” – this is wrong! My mind set is still wrong. Thank you Lord for the grits but please forgive me for my attitude.
Please Lord, give me the desire to eat better. Give me the desire to forgive hurtful words – please forgive me for wrong mind-sets and please… help me have the desire to change those mind-sets and not let that ugly ‘Pride’ word enter into my heart.
Grits…yes I was vindicated by Grits and convicted by the Holy Spirit and it was only 8:15 a.m.
So, I drove home, walked in the door and there sat Dad in the kitchen, on a chair and as he was looking at his phone – he said..“I thought you told me that my doctors appointment was at 8:45 am? I had on my calendar it was 2:45.” I said “Dad we had this conversation yesterday and you were going to to check with your doctor yesterday to verify, did you do that?” – “No”, he said.
So, he walked back to his office to call the doctor and I begin going through my whole morning routine of kitchen cleaning and I heard him calling the doctor and then I heard him yell from his office – “Well they don’t even open until 9 am!” God help me hold my tongue. I grabbed my bag and headed back upstairs…
No, I don’t have time to run out ….for more grits!
..side note – – Wouldn’t you know – I went downstairs…Dad just returned from the grocery store and bought – hot dogs and rolls, chocolate covered doughnuts, macaroons, mashed potatoes – shall i go on?…I didn’t see one single vegetable but he wants me to diet? …I think I will have two (2) doughnuts… and (1) macaroon.
So how do you handle these situations?
Don’t forget to share YOUR story today…. 🙂