Saturday, September 25, 2010

Unexpected Blessings

I am still here. Still very sick. Still unable to read without becoming very dizzy, thus the lack of posts. I literally have nothing to say, too, since my days are just spent surviving the nausea and being grateful that my mom is helping me out.

God is very good to me. The nausea is controlled and I really only suffer between 4 and 5 hours a day. The rest of the time I'm just very uncomfortable, which doesn't even count as suffering because I watch TV or talk to my mom or listen to a book on tape. Given that I suffered with my other two every waking hour, this is practically heaven. Not that I'm enjoying it. Though I am grateful to have something to offer up in the evenings.

And it's amazing how it brings my family together. My mom has been living with us for 6 weeks now (BLESS HER!) and running the house like a whiz. My kids are enjoying a special relationship with her because of this, and she and I have had the chance for many long talks and companionable hours.

Best of all, it's brought about a reconciliation with my father. Our relationship was never easy, and in the past year I decided that I was going to put my foot down and no longer allow myself to be forced into the role of "dutiful daughter" when inside I was anything but. I broached the subject with him over email and didn't make much progress, so I thought to myself, okay...time to put my money where my mouth is. I decided I was going to stop allowing him to visit whenever he wanted to.

Then I got pregnant. And next week, my mom will be taking a break from caring for me. I'll be on my own for 6 days, with no one to drive the kids to school and activities, clean and cook, and bring me soy milk while I throw up. She needs (and deserves) the break, and I don't begrudge it to her, but I literally cannot do anything but sit on the couch and eat with occasional good moments where I can check email and a couple blogs or make a phone call to a friend. I can't cook. I can't drive. I can't take care of my family. I need help.

Knowing this, my dad offered to come for the week my mom is gone. And immediately, my old feelings rose to the surface. Hadn't I decided I was going to put my foot down? Hadn't I decided it was time to stop giving in, so that our relationship could finally move past the unhealthy dynamic we've always had?

When I told him the reason I didn't want him to visit, we had a long conversation. We addressed many of our old issues head on, which I usually shy away from. In the end, we made significant progress.

As I hung up, it occurred to me that this was the moment where I had to decide what type of person I was going to be. If I was truly going to put my money where my mouth is, then I would have to completely forgive everything and begin anew as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton did, as described in this lovely post from Abigail. Or I could hold on to the person I was, my hurts and my judgments, and we'd never be able to move forward.

I have to say, Abigail's post has been rolling around in my heart for a few months now, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton's example has inspired me. I'm going to pray to my little Elizabeth, named for this wonderful Saint, to give me the strength I need to completely erase my past relationship with my dad and greet him when he comes with the sort of love and open heart that is necessary for true growth and relationship.

God has made me sick and dependent for a reason. Perhaps it's to build my humility. Whatever the reason, I can't make unilateral decisions about my life course. For someone like me, who struggles with wanting to control everything, being forced into a position of utter dependence is a huge challenge for my spiritual growth. I am encouraged, though, that I will receive from it the lessons God wants to write on my heart, and emerge a more faithful and devoted servant to Him whom I love above all.

Picture credit.