>Sad For Dad

randomlychad  —  December 29, 2010 — 8 Comments

>I’ve either written about it, or alluded to it, here before, but I don’t have a good relationship with my dad. In fact, it’s been about 18 months since I last talked to him. I had a simple request; namely, that he be polite to my wife when he calls. (There is too much water under the bridge of our relationship to retread it now, but suffice it to say that there were numerous failures on both our parts over the course of many years prior this call).

Because he wouldn’t comply with this simple request, I took the step–far too long in coming–of cutting ties, or what is known in Internet parlance as “initiating the ZCP”–the “Zero Contact Protocol.” I don’t hate the man, but neither do I really like him. I know he had a rough upbringing, but that’s no excuse for some of his signature–pardon the language–dick moves. Like calling my wife’s phone, asking for me, being asked who’s calling, and replying “Chad’s dad.” (My wife, being a more private person than me requests that I don’t use her name). “Oh, hi, this is Mrs. Chad.” “I know. Put Chad on.”

And so I let it go for years. Of my regrets, this is one if the greatest: that I didn’t man up sooner and put him in his place. I could’ve saved my wife so much unnecessary pain, and myself a lot of grief. But life, I suppose, hadn’t prepared me, or, honestly, I hadn’t prepared myself. In any case, I so often took the path of least resistance, and lived as a people-pleaser.

Despite it biting me in rear repeatedly, I people-pleased with the best of them. Until last year. When a tiny phone call became the tipping point. I finally learned that honoring one’s father and mother doesn’t mean bending over and taking it. So I pulled a Network, and said “I’m not gonna take it anymore.” For my sake, my wife’s, our children’s: I’m not gonna take it anymore. Initially, it was difficult, but the decision has grown on me. In fact, the same Bible that says “honor your father and mother,” also says “I came not to bring peace, but a sword.”

It is my hope that this pruning will bear fruit someday. Time will tell. In the meantime, I pray. In the meantime, dad is still a sad, bitter, stubborn old man. Yes, I’m sad for me–for what could’ve been, what should’ve been–sad for my kids, who have no real relationship with their grandpa. But, honestly, it was his choice, not mine. Much like those who reject Jesus in this life, and go to stand before the Father in the next: He will not send them to Hell–they’ve already sent themselves. Much like this, dad has chosen the hell of this separation. And in this vale of tears we all suffer.

I said above that I’m sad for me, but mostly I’m sad for dad.

How about you? Do you have difficult family relationships? How do you deal with them? Please click-through and leave your comments. It is my hope that we can pray for one another.

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • Amy

    I can relate. I don't have a good relationship with my dad either. He's a functioning alcoholic -- has been my entire life -- and I refuse to talk to him when he's been drinking. And since that's almost always -- we don't talk much. In fact, we went almost 11 months this year without talking at all. I didn't really intend for that to happen -- it wasn't like I was mad about any particular incident. The days just turned to weeks and the weeks to months. I'm sad for me and I'm sad for my children -- but like you, I'm mostly sad for my dad who is missing out on so much life has to offer, including time with his amazing grandchildren.

    • Amy, thanks for commenting! I can so relate: it wasn't until I sat down to write that I realized it's been 18 months. In the interim, my son did call him, but--big surprise!--that was a disappointing experience. My dad, too, has had problems with drink. It's so sad, and frustrating, too. Are your parents still together? Mine divorced 27 years ago.

  • susan

    Good on you, Chad, to pull a “Network” on him. My family had to do that to my own father. Some didn't speak with him for years. Dad had to change. I think it was Rich Buhler who said that a person won't change until it becomes impossible for him to NOT change. In Al Anon they call it “practicing loving detachment.” You can love them, and separate yourself and your family from his bad behavior. That is honorable. And you're being the husband and dad your own family will honor. I know it's sad. But the story isn't over yet.

    • What was so encouraging about your book was that, despite the the lost years, there was healing, forgiveness, reconciliation. It gives me hope. Thank-you so much for sharing your story!  I'm glad that God isn't done with us!

    • What was so encouraging about your book was that, despite the the lost years, there was healing, forgiveness, reconciliation. It gives me hope. Thank-you so much for sharing your story!

    • Thank-you for the encouraging comments, Susan! I sure appreciate them. I know the story isn't over, but I am praying for sooner, rather than later. Dad is 66.

      Really enjoyed your book!

  • Mom

    Hopefully I can help you give your children an understanding of your dad's family background so there isn't a gap--there are lots of good people on that side. Mom/Grammy

    • Mom, I appreciate your comment. Never said there weren't “good folk”on his side of the family. There's history there, but my issue is withhim. Thanks for reading!