“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.