“Do you know how old you are?” my dad asks this question quite frequently.
“Yup, I know what year I was born.” I always answer back with sarcasm.
“No, I’m not!!! Not yet… not for another 2 years!” I exclaim.
“In Korean age, you’re 39.. that’s almost 40!” Dad says as he rolls his eyes.
“Korean age is stupid! I’m not 40 yet… I’m 38!” also rolling my eyes…
(by the way, this conversation is funnier when said in Korean with lots of sarcasm–my typical conversation with my dad!)
So apparently my dad also knows how old I am, but it doesn’t stop him from treating me like I’m still 12 years old. Perhaps it’s because in his old school Korean mind, I’m still his responsibility because I’m not married. He spent so many years teaching me to be independent, and now that I’m an adult, he still sees me as someone who needs his guidance and help. I understand that to a certain extent, this is the heart of a parent. I see that my 94 year old grandfather still worries about my 69 year old dad. Some things don’t change… however, we’re at a crossroads where I feel the need and want to take care of my dad as I see him aging, and he also wants to take care of me… thus, we keep butting heads! That’s a new one!
When we took a short vacation last week to visit my cousin in Boston, half of our argument was over who was going to carry the bags. This is so lame… it sounds even more lame as I see the words being typed. I had a rolling carry-on which was heavy due to a wooden train set that was packed for my cousin’s kid. My dad had much lighter duffel bag. I kept insisting on putting the duffel bag on top of my rolling bag so I can pull both. My dad kept insisting that he pull the bags. I know that we were both trying to serve the other… but our argument over who is going to carry/roll the bags got absolutely ridiculous that I just gave in.
We also kept fighting over who is going to pay for things!!! Once again, LAME!!! Okay, part of this is very Korean… but also it’s out of pure desire to take care of the other person that we kept fighting over who was going to pay for what! My dad always apologizes to me during our tender moments that happen twice a year (my birthday and his birthday). He says he hasn’t done enough for me, when I feel like he’s sacrificed everything for me (this is where we both cry…) So I understand his heart to want to give as much as he can, and I feel guilty because I feel like he always gives and I always take… thus, my attempt to want to give back… and this usually takes form of paying for each other.
And then my dad kept getting annoyed that I hadn’t told him what we had planned for each day. In my attempt to give my dad a worry-free, relaxing vacation, I had made plans with my cousin and didn’t tell my dad play-by-play account of our schedule. Now, you must understand that my type-A, control-freak, my-way-is-better personality comes from my dad!!! So when you have two control-freaks together, it’s bound to be trouble! When I finally told my dad about our planned schedule, he misunderstood and was very unhappy. He wanted to re-work our plans, which led to another argument. At this point, I almost regretted taking this trip!
Saturday night, I was in bed thinking about our weird relationship… and two things distinctly came to me.
1. Why is it that we have least amount of patience with the people we love the most? It’s the people we love that have the ability to get under our skin, annoy the heck out of us, and have very short temper with…. only to have regrets in the end… Why is that? It’s something I’ve always struggled with… I get short-tempered with my dad or my grandparents, and I regret it afterwards… I know I need to change… but why is it like that???
2. Just as I think I know best when it comes to my dad, I realized that I think I know best when it also comes to my Heavenly Father. By the way, I don’t believe there is an earthly relationship that perfectly exemplifies our relationship with God… but the best I can come up with is how I’ve learned the most about God’s love for me through my dad’s love for me. I don’t believe my dad always knows best… but I DO believe God knows best. However, my controlling nature tells me that I know best… and I try to impose my ways on God all the time… and I often don’t hear Him out. I don’t trust that My Father in Heaven knows what’s best for me. 😦 Just as I argue with my dad, I argue with God. (and this is where I feel like I suck!)
My final thought before I went to bed that night: both my earthly father and heavenly Father’s hearts come down to this–undying, sacrificial love for me… and then I was overwhelmed by that love.
3 thoughts on “My Father’s Heart…”
I so get this, Gloria. Not so much in my relationship with my dad – we’re both Type A – but him not quite am much as I am. But the constant struggle to trust that my Heavenly Father can take care of me without my 2cents, directions or shaking fist when He does it differently than what I would do (and He has always been right, imagine that?!). And then I see my pride in that and just how wrong that is. The great thing – maybe a little similar to those sweet moments with your dad – except that He is the only One who paid a high price to bring about the restoration and healing of those sweet moments – my loving heavenly Father always forgives me for my pride and control issues – even though I seem to fall there quite often – and He loves me but also forgives me too. How thankful I am that He never, ever lets me go – that I am safe in the palm of His hand. Yet He continues to put plenty of circumstances in my life where He is giving me opportunity to learn and ‘do better’, to trust Him, to let Him work and leave ‘me’ out of it. And more times than not, I fail. But I am thankful for His love, forgiveness and even the refining….at least right now at this moment I am thankful for the refining. 🙂 So – control freaks unite! 🙂 Unite in helping each other to let go and rest in the care of our Heavenly Father.
And you are not lame and you don’t suck! But you are created new in Christ Jesus! WOOHOOO for saving grace and mercy! The Message version of Ephesians 2 so speaks to this control freak! So from one to another –
“It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”
This growing up spiritually is tough! You’re doing that good work, Gloria!
Love you, friend!
Kelly!!! you hit it right on the nose… that darn pride! and nothing like The Message translation to bring us back down to earth!!! Thanks for your words of encouragement! i keep telling myself that the refining process is exactly that–process… and to enjoy and learn from the process!!! so happy about your house situation! God is good, and He sure knows best with the most perfect timing! love you back! 🙂
Highly energetic article, I liked that bit. Will there be a part