Thursday, July 14, 2011

Clean the Inside of the Cup (176.4)

In Matthew 23 there is this passage:
"Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too!"

I know Jesus isn't talking to the Pharisees about a weight problem.  But I love how this is similar to what we talk about with getting our insides to match our outsides.

My insides still have a lot of work that needs to be done.  I've just scratched the surface, I know that, even though I've done some significant work already. 

Before work today I ran to Target to get a few things, and I bumped into my Aunt Janet who works there.  This is my dad's sister, who is very nice and kind.  We talked briefly about the issue of my dad's headstone--which we are just now getting, and which my other two aunts have complained loudly and obnoxiously over because of the delay--and it understandably brought up some grief.  My sister and I had both put off getting the headstone, because it has been too hard to deal with.  We didn't do it when we made all the funeral arrangements, which was stupid, but for whatever reason, it was just too FINAL for both of us, so we procrastinated.  The cemetary is over an hour away; it's not like we go up there on a regular basis (I haven't been since the funeral).  My two complaining aunts, however, make a pilgrimage 3 or 4 times a year to the family plots; so they felt like we let them down, and blah blah blah, why hasn't it been done yet?

As I was leaving Target and driving in the car, this all got me thinking about my uncle Phil. 

My uncle who was there for my dad and my sister and me while Dad was sick and dying.  My uncle who is a Christian and wears his faith on his sleeve.  My uncle who called me every week or so while dad was sick and after he died, just to see how I was doing.  My uncle who made so many comments about my body and how I looked that I believe he was one of the catalysts to why I gained 30 pounds.

Instead of thinking "I am so glad I don't have to talk to him and be on tenter hooks about what his next inappropriate comment about my body will be," I thought "Why doesn't he call and check on me? Doesn't he care about me anymore?" 

Logically, I do believe the first thought.  In my head, I know it is best to cut ties right now, and not have his influence in my life, which makes me want to hide and be invisible (which is what the gained weight is all about).

But in my heart, it really hurts.  He is one more man in my family who has let me down. Who ignores me, like my dad did for 10 years after he and my mom got a divorce. Who was interested in me as long as there was something in it for him, which was a lot--my dad gave him his new Toyota Avalon; my uncle's son got almost all the furniture in dad's house; after dad died, my sister and I both gave a big chunk of money from his life insurance to my uncle and his son for helping out with dad. 

His son lived at my dad's house for 5 months after Dad died (he was living with my dad while he was sick, too--rent free the entire time, even after dad's death).  He didn't pay the last two months of the electrical bills, and instead moved out and left the bill for me to pay.  I called his son and asked him to pay it; it was over $500.  It wasn't about the money, although it is a lot of money. It was the principal of the matter.  He was taking advantage of me, and I wasn't going to have it.  I was very polite and civil when I talked with him and texted him; I am not a confrontational person for the most part, but I was adamant that he pay the bill.  He never did; neither did I.  It's in collections now, which is unfortunate for the energy company but it's not my responsibility. 

Since then, which was back in March, my uncle hasn't called me once to check on me.  This leads me to not only be disappointed in my uncle, but also to think that it is in part my fault that he's not calling, my fault that he doesn't care about me anymore. 

I know this is irrational thinking.  It is the same sort of thing I thought about my dad for my entire life.  I had to be perfect, or he wouldn't love me. 

I still struggle with the few confrontations I had with dad while he was in the depths of ALS.  There weren't many. I gave Dad eveything he wanted--and he wanted a lot of stupid stuff that put hardships on other people.  But still to this day I feel bad about those times; if only I hadn't said or done this or that, he wouldn't have been upset with me and told me I didn't love him in that last month in the nursing home.  I would have been perfect, and he would have loved me.

I needed to write about this today because my next therapy session isn't until July 25th, and I needed to get it on the outside instead of pushed down on the inside.

The inside of my cup is riddled with hurt and pain and lack of understanding and irrational thinking.  I'm thankful I've started the cleaning process.


Cindy...154 said...

I have had relationships with people like your uncle and his son. They are there when they get something out of it and then they leave and take no responsibility for their part. Something like that. But what I relate to the most, is that feeling of still wanting their approval, or still wanting them to care (as in the checking up on you) or still wanting something to come of it that may not actually be there to begin with. This may not make much sense, and may not be the same as what you describe. But, these don't sound like nice people, yet we still find ourselves wanting them to give us something. Something they can't or won't give. My insides are still messy, and I have been in there cleaning for a while. They are cleaner than they used to be. And at least now I recognize the mess. I can remember times when I knew I felt bad, but did not have a clue about what was going on. I am glad you posted about this. It got me thinking.. thanks!

Laura N said...

Cindy, yes, you understand it exactly. "these don't sound like nice people, yet we still find ourselves wanting them to give us something. Something they can't or won't give." That's it in a nut shell.

The first way to heal is to understand and name what's going on. For me, this post & your comment are step #1, which is always a big deal.