(This post was written on 7/18/2008. I didn't get a chance to post it until now, though. Please forgive my untimeliness.)
His mercies are new every morning; great is His faithfulness.. This blogpost has been a long time in coming. There were dozens of posts that I didn’t write, for various reasons, and this one will probably contain a slight smattering of them all. I didn’t write them out of fear. It sounds odd, and it’s unreasonable, but fear is a funny thing. Fear comes to us in many forms, and it catches us at odd moments. Sometimes it’s obvious, and others it masquerades under the guise of more “logical” emotions. The fear of which I speak for this post is a relational fear.
I have a healthy fear of God. That fear of God bleeds over into a healthy fear of my parents. I don’t mean fear as in “I’m afraid of my parents” so much as “I’m afraid of hurting or disappointing my parents.”
Let me tell you a little about my parents. My parents are two of my best friends. They are my trusted advisors. They are the voices, arms, and bodies of God in my life. They are my heroes, my mentors, my examples. Their opinion(s) means more to me than any other. It’s only been in the last few years that I have developed to the point that I feel that they can count ME as a friend, too, but that friendship that I share with them is rich with the many facets of a well-cut gem. I am their daughter, true, but I am also their friend, their companion, their spiritual sister.
In my younger years, I regrettably developed the habit of not communicating with them about some important things. Under the guise of “what they don’t know won’t hurt them,” I excluded them from portions of my life. I didn’t share the things I should, and I reaped a large harvest of heartache for my, well, deceit. Hurts that could have been prevented weren’t. Things that Satan meant to destroy me almost did. The lies in my head were bigger than my faith in my parents, and I’m truly ashamed of that. I bought into the lie that they couldn’t possibly understand, that the hassle wasn’t worth the trouble, that they’d be disappointed in me, that they might reject me—whatever lie was most convenient for whichever occasion.
Since moving away from my home state, I have learned to be more frank with them. I have learned to discuss things with them, to rely on their wisdom and input into my life, to understand their perspective more, to include them in my life. However, there are still times when I struggle with being forthcoming, because it was such a way of life for so long—hiding things. I would justify it in my head with whatever reasoning I needed to, such as “they don’t need to know,” “they wouldn’t care,” “it’s too much hassle,” or the ever-popular, “I’m an adult, and I get to decide what I do with my life, and I don’t have to explain that to anyone. I don’t live under their roof anymore; I pay my own bills…”
Cut to 2008. I’ve had an interesting month or so. Since Monday, 16 June, I have been in some rather interesting conversations with “Bonehead” as my friend calls him—the somewhat-subject of an earlier blogpost about my relational life. (I still maintain that the post was about me, but he did feature predominantly in it, so I won’t argue semantics.) In the course of those conversations, and the developing friendship that I share with him, I have had many ideas that I longed to put on paper, to post here. I didn’t do it. I didn’t share, because I knew that my parents were set against him, and it was just too much to poke the hornet’s nest, when there wasn’t really anything going on. Well, over the last couple of weeks, there has been a lot of development on that scene, some of which I will share here, and I have come to the point where I faced my fears and actually had a couple of conversations with my parents.
At this point, I’m not sure where to really begin, but I’ll give you a smattering of the developments and allow you to draw your own conclusions. I’m going to refer to him as Beast, here, because I like it better than Bonehead, and it’s a little more flattering, if only in my head. haha
Conversations began over a misunderstanding (intentionally fostered by an interested third party), but quickly evolved into a serious discussion (hereafter referred to as The Conversation). Beast had heard a conversation between his uncle and me (herafter, Uncle Beast or UB) on his mom’s (Mama Beast or MB) radio phone. He had listened intently to most of the conversation, and I was surprised at the degree of attention he paid. UB and I were discussing some fairly weighty topics, such as the state of the family in America, personal responsibility, the roles of masculinity and femininity in our society, and the devolution of sin from the time of the Fall of man. Beast said that during that conversation, he had developed a greater realization of my spiritual state. He said that the contrast between where I am, spiritually, and where he was, spiritually, was huge, and that he knew, for the first time, how far he’d gone the wrong direction. He realized that his condition was so bad that he didn’t even know where to start to get back on the right track. He asked for my help in changing the course of his life. That’s where it began.
As some of you know, he had broken my trust when we were together before. Unfortunately, trust broken is not easily mended. I am loyal to a fault. I care for people more than I should, most of the time. But, when I’m hurt, it takes time and faithful effort to move past that. I’ve spent too much time making excuses for people who hurt me, and I’ve gotten to the point where I won’t do that anymore. I can’t. This desire for my help put me in an awkward position. Not only had I been hurt, but my parents had been hurt on my behalf. They were dead-set against him. I called my mom to tell her about the conversation, and she told my dad, who called me. While not unpleasant, it wasn’t pleasant, either. He doesn’t want to see his little girl get hurt. I can understand that.
When I began developing this friendship, again, it was slow going. I couldn’t see this growing to be more, and in fact, I saw an end in sight and coming quickly. Why bother my parents? Why needlessly concern them, if nothing is going to come of it? Why stir up the hornets?
Shortly after this conversation began, Beast and his brother, the honorable Mississippi Pimp/MP (long story—don’t ask) were scheduled to move to Florida. Florida isn’t nearby. My thought was that they’d move, and that’d be it. Well, he asked me to come visit him in Florida when they went, so we made the plans, and I got tickets to fly to FL the weekend after they moved. Ok, so maybe it wouldn’t end when they left. I helped them pack, played babysitter quite a bit, shared a piece of their lives, got closer to them, and planned for a brief Florida vacation.
When I went, I thought that I’d get down there, there’d be a lot going on, we wouldn’t get much time to talk, and then we’d have some argument, and I’d go home and never hear from him again. That didn’t happen.
I got home and thought, “Crap.” Yes, it’s good to have a burgeoning relationship. Yes, it’s exciting to know that there’s a mutual understanding and caring. Yes, it’s terrifying to think of telling your parents that you’re seeing the one guy they really wish would drop off the face of the planet, especially when they don’t know that you’ve just spent the weekend in his home state in his mother's home.. Crap.
For some weeks in advance of this, and even prior to The Conversation, talk had been happening among his family that I would be joining them on their family vacation, this year. It sounded like a lot of fun, and something I would LOVE to do, but… well, but. But, when the topic originally arose, Beast was essentially not speaking to me, but he wasn’t planning to go on the trip, either. As our friendship emerged, and as the potential for romance was rekindled, it became an ongoing topic of conversation. He decided to go. The family had adopted me as one of their own, and they wanted me to be part of this event in their lives. “I’d really like to go, but I just don’t know if I can swing it.”
Somewhere, sometime, behind my back, the decision was made. Satin is going on the family vacation. The family is buying her tickets. It’s a done deal. No arguing. Yesterday, that happened. The tickets were bought, the arrangements were made. Crap. Now I HAVE to tell my parents. Crap, crap, crap.
So, I made the call. Mom was NOT thrilled. She’s the single most relaxed, easy-going, gentle-natured individual I know. She was NOT happy. She passed the phone to Daddy. A conversation was had. I had broken Daddy’s heart. He was deeply concerned. There were some things, to his way of thinking, fundamentally wrong with the concept of my having a relationship with this man. How does a concerned dad protect his daughter from heartache and not inadvertently push her away instead?
After that phone call, I received calls from MB, Beast, and UB. I spent a lot of time on the phone. Much was said. In the end, it was time to pray. I sent an email to my 4 best female friends asking their intercession on behalf of the matter. When I awoke I had responses already from three of them. Later, I found out that UB had spent most of the night saturating all of those involved in prayer, specifically my dad.
Partway through the day, I got a call from my dad, and we visited more, coming to a greater understanding of each other. He had spent the night praying and studying the Bible to search out truth, where it relates to the fundamental issues with my relationship, and in his studies, he came to a different understanding of the grace of God than he had possessed to that point. We became closer through an issue that threatened to tear us apart. THAT is why this post is entitled “Great is His faithfulness.” Through the faithfulness of God, I was brought forth from a crippling fear. Through the faithfulness of God, my dad was brought to a deeper understanding of scriptural truth. Through the faithfulness of God, my relationship with my dad was strengthened. Through the faithfulness of God, a very important friendship was spared and the potential for a future was preserved.
Now, I don’t honestly know if Beast and I have a chance at making this a forever thing. We both have much to learn and a long way to go. This is just the first step in a long journey, however, it is one of the most difficult steps I’ve envisioned needing to take. These two men in my life haven’t yet met, but I’m not as worried about them killing each other on sight, now. Perhaps we stand a chance. With each step, the “hope and a future” that God speaks of in Jeremiah is more in evidence. Great, GREAT is HIS faithfulness, in my life. His mercies are truly new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.