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[Quiet Thoughts] Bystander to Misery

3 years ago

977 words

Photo: We had to get flu shots yesterday, and since I was in the area, I decided to pick up The Husband from work. “I need another hour,” he told me. So I had to scramble. Thank goodness I found an empty ball field and a parking spot… and there were 3 quarters miraculously in my car so I could feed the meter. An open field, two little boys, a beautiful sunset, and a place to run it all out. It’s exactly what I needed after a tough morning.


I have sat at this computer for an hour and have written three posts. All three about my Father. I spent an hour on the phone with him (the first call in months) and he told me a tale. A long one, a sad one, about this life that he’s living. My Father is miserable. I want so badly to write about it, but I know better. I can’t write about it the way I want to because my Father is a real person in this real world with minor children who he is responsible for and accountable to. I can’t write about him the way I want to… there might be a day someday, but not today.

Longtime readers know a bit about my complicated relationship with my Father. I won’t go into the details here. But when I write that my Father is miserable, that’s a loaded word. A part of me believes that misery is actually something that he deserves. A younger me hoped upon hope that he would be punished for blowing up his perfectly good family so that he could start another. I waited patiently for it, knowing that it would come because, as Southern folk say, “God don’t like ugly.”

Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it. These words are so cliched, yet they are my Quiet Thoughts today. Punishment has come, and my Father is deserving of every problem he is facing because they are all direct results of his own actions. He has never voiced remorse or regret. He’s never done anything other than double down on his belief that his choices were logical and we ended up just fine regardless. He’s 60 and a stay-at-home dad to his 2 year-old and his 10 year-old boys. He’s cleaning the house, changing the diapers, helping with the homework, carting kids to and fro… the “woman’s work” he never wanted to do when it was me and my little sister. He was too good to do those things. How long have I been so resentful of all of his decisions, all of their consequences?

Yet my Father is miserable. I can’t do anything about it. I’m not responsible for it and I have no means of changing it. I just have to wait and watch. It’s a misery all its own. My Quiet Thoughts are about the power of acute, seething, cancerous anger and the things we ask for in our moments of highest passion, greatest rage. The ideas that we put out into the universe in those moments are powerful… and they may very well result in what we ask for. If you knew that your curses, sent to the heavens in rage and lamentation, could actually come true, would you really ask for them? If you had an opportunity to take them back, would you?

I think I would. My Father is miserable, Dear Reader… and I feel awful about it. Maybe that’s my punishment in all of this. I sent up the curses, a bad thing to do, and now I must atone by watching the result.

I’m sorry to depress, Dear Reader. That’s not really my intention. I write honestly, and this is where I am today. I’m anxious and sad, not full of regret, but I certainly have a few. I wish I had the ability to make it all go away, and yet, I understand that we all must walk our own paths. We and we alone must live with our decisions and the consequences. No one can take the steps for us and nobody can learn our lessons for us either. I think that what I’ve truly learned this week, though, is that vindication isn’t always sugary sweet.

I hope that my Quiet Thoughts help you walk in love this week, Dear Reader. That you may find space in your heart to find forgiveness for someone out there who may have wronged you. I hope that this depressing post that I didn’t really mean to write gives you opportunity to seek peace rather than anger, compassion rather than righteousness. On this Friday, unseasonably warm and beautiful, I wish you quiet thoughts and a peaceful heart. A forgiving heart, too: for yourself first, for others if necessary. I wish you time for meditation and contemplation. I wish you intimate conversation over a good meal or a warm mug. I wish you a story that makes you laugh and another that makes your stomach knot and your mind wonder. I wish you the opportunity to reach out and say hello to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Give a little of yourself and see what comes back to you, Dear Reader. Fill the world with a little bit of light this weekend.

And know that no matter what you have done, you are loved, Dear Reader. You are loved beyond measure, even when you aren’t at your best. You are loved so much that when consequences come down and only you can deal with it, someone is out there holding their breath and hoping for you to succeed. It’s a deep sort of love, endless and powerful. And you are worthy of it, Dear Reader. Take that power and do something amazing with it. For the good of us all.

Until Monday, take care.

9 Replies to “[Quiet Thoughts] Bystander to Misery”

  1. While I’m no expert on such things, from what I understand, only we, that is, each of us, reap the seeds that we sow.
    And if some of the seeds that have been sown in your mind have been haunting you, it seems like the place you are in is softer, & compassionate towards your father & for yourself…
    Forgiveness, as you know, for yourself & others is healing.
    It sounds like you are in this place.
    As for the misery your father is experiencing… It is unlikely due to any wishes from another.
    We all have to tend to our own miseries.
    And it’s also hard to sit with or near another’s, feeling it.
    So, a deep bow to you for your reflection. & the care you feel in your heart.
    Deep bow to you

    1. Thank you so! I appreciate it. I know deep down that this isn’t my fault. It’s just hard to watch such things. Nobody, really, wants to watch a person suffer. At least I don’t. I think I finally learned and fully understand that about myself this week. The things that I want in my most angry, wild moments are actually awful and not actually something I want. Hard lessons. Don’t like learning them…yet here I am.

  2. Can you share what you’ve learned with him? It would be a team effort to help him see the joy in the gift he has in front of him and experience joy in the woman he helped you be. His influence is a strength in you admit or not right? Show him? He’s stubborn, but you’re cleverer. Cleverer? Anyway…

    1. Unfortunately, knowing him and knowing myself… this is probably one of those deathbed conversations. We might, in the end, need to give each other absolution. It wouldn’t work now, because the time isn’t ripe… but there will be a day.

  3. I totally agree with the previous response that we reap what we sow so you shouldn’t feel bad. You can’t help him. What you can do is move beyond your pain and get to a better place. I know because I’ve been there. Time is not always on your side. You know I have my daddy issues too and I thought we had all the time in the world but now he has cancer and I am left feeling hurt because I couldn’t move past my pain to get to know him sooner. Best of luck sis!

    1. Thank you. I’m sorry about your Dad. I hope that you two find what you need to find. I think we all have Daddy issues–they are complicated beings and it’s hard to reconcile the good, the bad and the really ugly. It’s also hard to see them as human when they are, by their nature, superhuman when we are young. We need them to be. But when it all comes to full light… Lordy.

      It was an overwhelming time. I’ve got it bottled up again. As I wrote above, I think that this is something that we’ll have to come to grips with during the final moments of someone’s life. Mine or his. We’ll have to give each other absolution in the way only we can. It’s crappy, but probably true.

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