Monday I saw my massage therapist, who also is trained in Craniosacral Therapy. You can google it if you like; it’s a form of energy work. When I made the appointment, I was hoping I could integrate some stuff that has come up during my father’s recent health crises. Just as God laughs at our plans, my inner Wisdom asserted a different voice needing to be heard. Still I felt an amazing release and a profound sense of peace.
People have been really solicitous, asking about my dad and his recovery. I think he gets better every day, but very slowly. Open heart surgery at 83 is a very different matter than at 55.
This post is not coming easily. Why is it hard to talk about good things? I was raised not to be too big for my britches. I’m much better at figuring out what needs fixing that exulting when something gets fixed, especially something I thought broken beyond repair.
The gift of crisis is that dynamics shift. The night before my dad’s surgery, I went to the hospital, thinking I might be saying goodbye. I took my bible into his room, but had no idea how to open up a spiritual conversation. The other people in the room, my mom and brothers, do not attend church, and as the youngest, I was not about to force things. But after a while, my dad simply asked me to pray with him. He told me that he didn’t want a big funeral, just a memorial service (I find it so interesting that people think there is a difference; in my mind the only thing a memorial lacks is the casket), and that he wanted me to lead it. We talked about passages and hymns he liked, and then he astounded us all by reciting the 23d Psalm from memory. I read Psalm 46 and prayed; it felt very natural, and the energy in the room was very positive.
The gift continued the next day. My mom & I got up before 6 a.m. to be able to see Dad before surgery. We only got about five minutes, I read the bit from Ezekiel about God giving us a new heart, and Dad again finished the reading. Mom was surprised, but I said, Baptists are good at memorizing scripture. He learned certain verses and phrases when he was very young, and that’s still in him.
Valve replacement is a long surgery, but Dad had the best surgeon in Ann Arbor, and came through ok. My sister came and sat with Mom and me in the waiting room. We hooked up with oldest brother for a nice dinner in Ann Arbor, at Paesano’s, recommended by the other brother who couldn’t meet us as he went to work. Mom said, in front of other people, how I was her rock that day, that I knew what to do and say and that she appreciated my presence. After years of conflict and distance, I felt affirmed by both parents, in both of my roles, as daughter and as pastor.
I do not regret the decision I made, years ago, to cope with my mother by limiting contact. But that trapped us in an old place. The family systems work I’ve done kept me connected, however tentatively; I credit the Spirit for giving me words and guidance. I’m feeling blessed and grateful to see my family relationships move to a better space. My mom is still my mom; my parents’ relationship is still fraught with conflict and verbal violence. But it’s been so neat seeing my mom be a wife; to hear old stories from my parents’ dating days. It gives me a bigger picture, helps me rise above a dualistic view.
I am reminded of the good things that happen when we get out of the way, when we let God be in charge.