Posted by: zephaniah317 | December 30, 2009

Joy, Puppets, Sadness and Anger

Well, if you’ve done any shopping this week in the retail stores, you have, as I have, realized that Christmas is officially OVER.  My girlfriend (Jamie) and I went to several places one day this week looking for “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby, an excellent musical that she had not yet seen.  All gone.  The British gent behind the counter at Target (that’s pronounced Tar-ZHAY by friends and I in an attempt to sound like we shop at trendy places) even lamented that he has barely been able to enjoy Christmas because it’s over just a few days afterward.  “They’re already putting up the Valentine’s day stuff, just look over there” he said in his British accent.

It makes me sad.  I had a GREAT Christmas Eve at my church.  The worship and the sermon and the candlelighting and everything was AWESOME.

I had a WONDERFUL Christmas spent with my girlfriend’s family, both Christmas Eve and Christmas.  The gifts were DEAD ON (I got Oakleys I had been coveting and Lego Batman for the Xbox, which Jamie and I love to play; “No Compromise”, Keith Green’s biography, which I have yet to read, but am looking forward to it; and another gift which Jamie has yet to “finish”…hmm…).  And, the gifts I got for her and her family were dead on, as well.  But that’s only a small part of it.  They made me feel like FAMILY.  Not that my friends and their families have not done so in the years I have lived here in upstate NY, but this year was different, special, fun.  They have their issues like any family, but they genuinely enjoy hanging out with each other and that meant a lot to me, to be in that environment, right down to jamming on guitar (bass for me, of course) with Jamie’s cousin Sean, a Beatles fan.

And I’m thankful for this commercial:

http://inside.nike.com/blogs/nikebasketball/2009/12/20/mvpuppets-dunking-on-reindeer

(I tried to post the actual video here…did you know it costs $60/year to add the video upload option to a wordpress blog?!?!?!?!  Holy…)

So, in rebellion, my tree and decorations will remain up until further notice at this point; I don’t know when I’ll take them down.  And, the Christmas playlist on my iPod will continue to play.  Retail America be danged.  😛

So that’s the joyful part.  Not to mention having this week off work and spending time with Jamie each day and continuing to grow in our relationship, having devo’s together, watching movies (Kung Fu Panda was on the agenda on Monday  🙂  ).

The sad and anger part, which I’m w0rking through, became clear to me again this morning while reading “The Way of the Wild Heart” by John Eldredge – which, if I haven’t already, recommend highly – it is a great book for men of ANY age.  I am now into the “Sage” chapter.  Look it up, if you don’t know the definition of the word.  Here is the section that caught my eye this morning:

…There comes a time when the King must yield the throne.  This does not mean failure.  It means it’s time to become a Sage, and let another man be King.  Too many Kings hold on to their thrones too long, and they literally fade away once they have lost them (which tells us they were drawing too much of their identity from their position).  It will appear that at this stage a man’s “kingdom” may be shrinking – he retires from his career position, perhaps moves into a smaller home or apartment, lives on a fixed income.  But, his influence should actually increase.  This is not the time to move to Ft. Lauderdale, “wandering through malls,” as Billy Crystal described it, “looking for the ultimate soft yogurt and muttering, ‘How come the kids don’t call, how come the kids don’t call?'”  For now the man is a mentor to the men who are shaping history.

Sadness.  Anger.  My earthly father.  Muttering, “how come Neil doesn’t call/visit, how come Neil doesn’t call/visit?…”  We talk once a week about the weather, Alabama football, and now, possibly, a little about Jamie.  He has no wisdom for me, nor has he ever.  He was absent from my childhood, my teenager-dom, my college life…no, not absent – needy.  I have borne the weight of my parents emotional needs my entire life, and with each phone call, each visit to Texas, I continue to be pulled into that vortex that sucks life out of the child inside of me that is still struggling to grow up, to understand why I’m so anxious inside sometimes, struggling to let God come into those places and fortify them and let me get on with the life that HE has for me, HIS purposes, rather than the life that my parents (and others) sucked out of me and emotional needs they laden me with.  That’s why I go to visit every OTHER year.  It’s not a vacation, it’s “get my teeth”, and “go to the grocery store for me” and “help me get to my chair, son.”  So exactly how does he accomplish these things when I’m not there?  My cousin Mike and his wife bear much of this load year-round, and I’m appreciative for this.  I can’t imagine.

Sorry.  Lots of angst in that last paragraph.  But, please understand, there’s a lot of frustration there.  A longing to hear “Hey, what’s up?” on the phone from my Dad, instead of “Well Hi, son” in this needy voice (sorry, can’t emulate it in words here, other than something like “Well Hiiiii, ssssooonnnnn” – hope you can get my drift).

The answer, as with all our problems, is to focus on God.  (how many of you just rolled your eyes at having heard THAT before?)  Well, it’s never more true than in my situation here.  He’s the good Father.  He greets me with “What’s up?” each morning and any time I ask, and I love that.  I pray for my Dad, and hope he can come out of his shell, his hole in that assisted living place in Texas and be a mentor, a light to those that live there.  Right now, that’s all I’ve got.  I sent him his (12/11) birthday card and Christmas card and Crimson Tide calendar over the past few weeks, and you would’ve thought I gave him a blood transfusion to save his life or something.  Which, yes, I understand, those things meant the world to him.  But, where’s God in his life?  I guess…I guess I’m just wishing that God was more present so that he wouldn’t unhealthily need me so much.  So that’s my prayer.  And, I need to accept him for where he’s at instead of condemning him for what he’s not (and hasn’t been).

Joy.  Sadness.  Anger.

Puppets.

Christmas.

Family.

God.

I am thankful for all of these.

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