I’ve been blown, and not eating dinner with my parents, but I’ve put dinner on the table for them every night.
I got a new 2Gb MP3 player on sale, and when I realized I wouldn’t have time to use it, I loaded it and gave it to my sister, writing a long mail about how to use it.
I’ve shopped and done other things.
And as far as I can remember, no one has said “Thank you.”
Miz Ruby sent me a book by Mary Pipher, “Another Country: Navigating The Emotional Terrain Of Our Elders.” It’s chock full of the narratives of elders, what they remember, what they value, what they suffer, and where they are lost.
I read it and it all makes sense to me, because I have been living in my parents world for over four years now. Problem is, though, that has meant I haven’t really been living in any world where there is space for my success.
I do want my sister to read this book, because she hasn’t been living there. She is pleased I suggest she take my father to church the morning before his scheduled (and aborted) surgery, but she can’t really be present enough to see that is what is needed.
The night of the aborted surgery, I sent her a mail about biofeedback options to lower bloodpressure, knowing he would honor his beautiful daughter more than his layabout failure. As far as I can tell, she hasn’t entered the territory. Heck, she didn’t even choose to talk to me when she was here last night I suspect that I am in the “too-hard” pile.
I can’t just resume the status quo, no matter how much my parents and my sister want me to do that, want me to do that so that the pressure for change is off of them.
I suppose that Miz Ruby wants me to understand that they will never really be able to enter my world. And, of course, that brings up my deepest fear, my spectre of separation, that no one will be able to enter my world.
But, as someone once said, if you only have two words of prayer, “thank you” would be sufficient.
“Thank you” is what I chanted as I lay on the porch while my father took the syndesmotic screw out of my ankle with an allen wrench. I may have gone down on the ice getting his mail while he was away, but the costs were mine to bear, and this was the solution I came up with to save $2000. He was peeved I wasn’y up and doing the chores for him fast enough.
I could keep coming though with stories of sacrifice, but they are sacrifices to keep the status quo, my entering their world to keep them comfortable.
I understand they have their own world and their own limits. I live in that limited world.
That’s not easy. Even TBB is living in other people’s worlds trying to get a job, and she finds this difficult and wearing.
You can’t give to get. That’s a deal, and unless it is explicit, it’s not reasonable or fair.
But giving without getting?
Do that too long and you will be lost, too.