Speaking of Old Men

They break my heart.  My grandma was going out to dinner with my mom, dad, Aunt B. and her family and my grandma fell in the parking lot of the restaurant and busted up her arm.  The whole family spent the night at the hospital and they thought she was going to get to come home yesterday, but the CAT scan showed that the bone was pretty much shattered up near the shoulder and so they’re going to have to go in and fix it.

She’s almost 90, so, you know, no one’s very excited about putting her back under anasthetic.

I like to pray, you know, sometimes.  It brings me comfort, just to articulate things outloud and put them out there in the Universe.  But I never know in cases like this what the best thing to ask for is.  I guess just the best resolution and leave it to the Universe to sort out that.

Anyway, so it means the folks might not come down for Thanksgiving, which is fine.  But my dad’s best friend is coming through and I called him to ask him if we should plan on having them for Thanksgiving dinner and he was all evasive on me.

Not the kind of evasive you can take too personally.  I’ve known him as long as I’ve known my dad and I see how they both have no idea what would make them happy.  Their whole adult lives as ministers have been spent opening themselves up wholly to the needs of others and both of them have been terrible, in their own ways, about making a safe space for them and their families where that work doesn’t intrude.

And I’ve noticed that asking them to think about what they’d like to do–do you want to have Thanksgiving here?–is almost paralyzing to them.  They do not know if they want to have Thanksgiving here.  They do not know what they want.

I don’t know.  I guess this isn’t making any sense.  My point is that I will not be upset one way or another if they do or don’t show up here on Thanksgiving.  I am upset and my heart is broken that my dad’s best friend has devoted his whole life to serving others and it’s come at such a cost to him that his whole soul is bent under the weight of it.

I love these men with my whole heart, but seeing the price they’ve paid as ministers to do their god’s work is about the worst advertisement for Christianity ever.

3 thoughts on “Speaking of Old Men

  1. This is exactly where my mother was when my dad died. She had spent her entire adult life making other people’s lives possible and easy and was just utterly lost about what she wanted for herself.

    Three years later, she knows what she doesn’t want and can say that loud and clear. What she does want? Not so much. But it’s progress.

  2. I feel like I might have been a little too hard on Christianity here. I mean, if these men had been bankers, they would have devoted too much of themselves to banking.

    But I just get so frustrated that their belief system reinforces a way of moving through the world that so clearly works against their own well-being.

    I mean, Heaven should be great on its own; it doesn’t need the world and your life to be as shitty as possible to make it that much better by comparison.

    I love having burritos on Mondays. That doesn’t mean I eat shit the rest of the week so that said burrito tastes especially awesome.

  3. How did I not know you were a p.k.? It should’ve been obvious. Great big room full of people, and I’ll find the one other preacher’s kid. Great big internet full of blogs, and four (FOUR) of the handful I make time to read are written by the same. Weird.

    Anyway, I know exactly what you mean. My dad lost his family because of his eternal dedication to the needs and wants of others… except himself and those closest to him. My mom told me about the incident that finally led her to file for divorce once. I spent a long time thinking about it later. I finally concluded that leaving the ministry still wouldn’t have saved their marriage. Now he has a grocery store, and my stepmom frequently has to drive up there and drag his buns home for supper.

    Rather than being “God’s” fault, maybe it’s more the men and women who dedicate themselves to others. My dad always taught me about a warm, benevolent God (hard to reconcile that with my mom’s fire and brimstone fit. Hmm). But, somehow, it was still Daddy’s responsibility to heal the world. No matter how much we needed him, too…

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