Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gifts Aren't Always A Good Thing

Sometimes I know things.  Sometimes I know things because I'm really observant and I like to study the way people act (still can't figure out why I got a D in psychology, it must have been the scantrons!)  Sometimes I know things because I have dreams about them.  Sometimes I find myself thinking about something and someone at different times, but for no obvious reason.  Sometimes I have a combination of the above.  Most of the time these things only make sense in retrospect.  Sometimes I can see a hint before things happen, but the details are never there.  Usually, it just sucks.

Christians call it a gift.  Science fiction treats it as a gift, a bridge, and a curse.

For a couple weeks I've been thinking about my Dad, about all the times we used to build stuff together (makes sense right?  I'm doing a bunch of home projects and rebuilt a section of ceiling, my dad and I once built a two story garage together!), I've been having weird dreams, even weirder this week and some of them highly religious - I thought part of this is my conflict over visiting new churches, but I'll talk more about that another time.  I've been clicking on all kinds of news articles and web links, but many of them have had to do with cancer, particularly skin cancer, but also other cancers.  In fact I'm pretty up on most medical breakthroughs in the news in the last three weeks that have to do with Alzheimer, mental disorder, and cancer.  Things were getting so extreme, in the obscure researching that I was thinking I should try to find the money to have a doctor look at some growths I've had for the last 8 years or so that I still have no idea what they are.  I don't think that's the issue though.

Tonight my Dad called to tell me he has cancer.  He's had prostatitis for years and been under doctor's care for it forever (ok 15 years).  His sister even prayed for years for him to lose his job because she was convinced it was causing health issues for him.  Well he did lose it, but he got it back again last summer.  Maybe she could see this coming too.  As he told me tonight, three guys on his street have cancer, two the  same kind as him and one a closely related kind and they all work at the same factory.  He assures me that the cancer is slow moving and he'll most likely live through it.  Everyone he knows has.  Two people he knows have been cured, although there is no cured with cancer, there is just without-cancer-for-now.  He's really optimistic and not canceling his projects trip to come see me this week.  He still feels like he can do everything we talked about and why shouldn't he?  They aren't even going to talk about treatments for two more weeks!

So having some warning that something like this was coming, even if I couldn't put the pieces together until tonight.  However, talking to my dad, apparently I lacked the commiseration he needed to hear on the phone. My practical, rational approach to things beyond my helping or controlling, made me come across as uncaring.  Even though I had the warning, my brain received this last piece of a puzzle (or more pieces as who knows what comes next) and frantically scrambled to wedge the shapes into a picture of what is happening and what is to come and what my previous observations, dreams, and open mind exploration may clue me into.  What it didn't warn me of, is that my dad feels I don't care.  I do care.  I don't know how to express that on a phone.  I suck at dealing with issues where I really can't help.

I'm a fixer.  I fix things.  If I can't fix it, I learned years ago that the only thing I could do is give it to God.  Worrying about it is a waste of energy.  Sometimes I slip, the closer to home the tireder, the weaker I am the more likely I am to fall into the pit where I begin to worry and panic, but for the most part, I wash my hands of it once any contribution I can make is done.  In politics I vote, I may send an email or sign a petition, then I have done what I can and the rest is for God and man to sort, not my problem.  Sure I may have to live with the results, but there is nothing more I can do to alter them.  I feel the same about medical crises, I guess this makes me cold.  I am willing to help, but I live so far from my parents and I don't have any income to speak of to assist financially, so I am somewhat limited on the practical help I can give.

The worst is I have no idea what to say to not seem cold.  I have the same problem when friends are ill or have children in need.  I never know what to say.  Thankfully, some have extended grace to my social shortcomings and accept me anyway.  I hope my dad can see to do that too.

Only twice has knowing whats coming been positively beneficial, mostly it's like this, takes the edge off and lets me screw it up in a completely different way.  Not really so much of a gift, more just another one of those quirks that push me towards appearing to spend too much time along insanity.


  1. And like you, I have no idea what to say.....I'm so sorry:(

  2. Sorry to hear this. My dad had cancer too, several years ago, so I've been there. He is fine now. As far as reacting "wrong" that is hard too. But I bet your dad knows you pretty well, and knows that you love him.

  3. In a crisis situation, very few of us say or do the "right" thing. I'm glad your dad is still coming to visit, as it will give you a chance to talk face-to-face. I'm sure he knows that you love him and care very much.
    SC relative

  4. I agree with Erin. You dad knows you pretty well and knows you love him. I don't think you are "cold" at all. Medical issues are hard. I don't always react right either. But I don't know if their is a right way to react. I am glad you are getting this time with your dad. We are going to pray for him and stand with you in agreement for his healing.



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