I didn’t sleep last night. Again. It wasn’t because I wasn’t tired. In fact, I was exhausted. But my brain wouldn’t turn off. I did everything I could to wind down. I sat in the hot tub. I drank a (small) glass of wine. I played non-thrilling computer games until my eyes got heavy. And yet, as soon as my head hit the pillow, my thoughts spun wildly and my stomach clenched and I got nauseated and anxious. And I didn’t sleep. I happen to know why but that didn’t make it any easier.
For, you see, I called my dad yesterday. I was feeling guilty because I had been avoiding him. He has the ability to catch me unaware with his snarky comments and so I had purposely not called. But the Guilt Monster got to me yesterday, so I called. Stupid Guilt Monster.
The conversation was good. He told me all about his upcoming trip to Washington in his Model A, the recent problem with his gate, how he helped a neighbor with her lost remote. He asked about my middle son. And then, out of the blue, he says, “Don’t worry about us, we’re not just crying in our teacups over here.” Where the heck did that come from? Oh yeah, I remember…I’m to be punished for not calling because I forgot that the phone lines only run one way (from me to him apparently) and my life doesn’t revolve around his (although he never ran his around mine, even when I was little.) So I clenched my jaw and sighed real big and hung up politely after telling him goodbye. And I vowed to never, ever, ever call him again.
And then I tried to let it go and give it to God and rest in the peace that surpasses understanding. But I couldn’t. I don’t want revenge, I just want to be okay with how I live my life. But here’s the rub. This is what kept me from sleeping last night. You see, Jesus loved Judas. He knew exactly what Judas was going to do, He knew that Judas was stealing from the money meant for the poor, He knew that Judas was only there because he thought that Jesus was going to overthrow the Roman oppression and become King of the Jews. ( Jesus was, and Is, King of the Jews but actually none of the disciples understood the whole picture of Salvation.) Judas was Jesus’ enemy. And yet He loved him.
So what exactly is my problem? My dad is snarky. My dad is difficult. My dad loves to use the Guilt Monster against me any and every way he can. But he isn’t going to betray me to another government. He isn’t going to hand me over to be publicly humiliated and crucified because I disappointed him. He isn’t taking payment (a slave’s wages for a King!) for turning me over to those who mean to be rid of me. So why am I not sleeping and anxious and mulling the conversation over and over and even blogging about my hurt, for goodness sake? Because I’m human. Because I refuse to truly hand it over to God to take care of. Because no matter how many times I lay it at the foot of the cross, before I am even done saying ‘Amen,’ I’ve picked it back up again. Time to stop licking my wounds and nursing my hurts; pressing on the bruise to make sure it’s still there. If Jesus example was to love our enemies even though they mean us harm, then that’s what I’m supposed to do. Yes, I obviously need help. But praying with expectation and single-mindedly trusting God to guide me is the only way.
So tonight, as I lay me down to sleep (remember that kids prayer?) I will ask God to show me how to really and truly let it go. I will ask Him to show me how to really and truly love my dad, despite his flaws and hang-ups and ability to hurt me with his words. For if Jesus loved the man who betrayed Him to face the most horrible and unjust torture and death, then I should be able to love the man who only tries to wound me with words.