A benefit of seeking a life of rigorous honesty is that I don’t have anything to hide. I no longer spend my days trying to remember what story I told to whom. I don’t parse my words when I talk to my wife about my day, trying to avoid discussing how I truly spent my time. I don’t say “fine” when others ask me how I am doing or how I am feeling. Honesty is new for me. It is also very freeing.
I am participating in a men’s Bible study through my church. We are studying a book by Louie Giglio called Goliath Must Fall. I really like his style of writing, how he is very transparent about his struggles and his failures. The premise is that Christ already has victory over the “giants” in our lives and therefore we can claim that victory and not allow them to have a foothold. Last night’s lesson was on fear. I was sure I had this one whipped. I don’t have anything to hide anymore so therefore I don’t have anything to fear.
The author spoke about his relationship with his father and how something small his father said to him had such a lasting impact. A throwaway sarcastic comment where both of them laughed at the expense of the son seemed innocuous to the father but was so damaging to the son. The son didn’t recognize at the time that his father was the product of an environment where rejection was constant and present. Not until at the end of the father’s life did the son realize that his father had experienced nothing but rejection and that he constantly tried to give acceptance to his son but didn’t always succeed.
My father is dying. He is gradually slipping away. He has fought against a neuromuscular disease for the last twenty years. He is strong and determined. He is losing. He is also losing his memory. The dementia is impacting his ability to function on a daily basis. The struggle to care for him is draining my mother both physically and mentally.
I realized this last week when visiting my father that I have pent up resentment and animosity towards he and my mother for the rejection I felt throughout most of my life, not only for what they said but for what they didn’t say. The times I hoped to hear them tell me they were proud of me or that what I did and wanted was important. I allowed that rejection to have a foothold. I realized that when I was visiting with them. They both came from difficult circumstances. I realized that, too. My animosity and resentment has started to truly melt away.
In our study this week, I was dwelling on this resentment and animosity that Louie Giglio had for his father. I thought about the animosity and anger I had towards my father. Then I realized that even though I was letting go of that foothold in my life, I had one more.
Reviewing fear forced me to look deeper into my life. I realize that I have a deep seated fear. I am afraid that I have damaged my kids too much. I fear they won’t be able to see me as a “good” father. I fear my wife won’t ever be able to trust me again. I realize that I can only do what my father does for me now. Each time I see him he tells me how much he loves me and that he doesn’t want me to leave. I pray that God show me that He has conquered these fears as well.