my father is home. he'd been away visiting my sister and her husband for the past month. it's been about a week now, but we're just catching up. yesterday without thinking i said 'oh my article, here, let me get it for you.' as i'm walking to the stack of photocopied paper i'm thinking 'what have i done? i don't want him to read this? what if he hates it? he's going to hate it, or maybe not hate it, but hate me, for having a voice, for saying the words, for judging the church...' what if?
i hand him the pages and show him my name on the cover. this will impress him. remember he married a frustrated writer. the real bobbie. he knows how momentous this is to my soul. he sits at the kitchen table and slowly turns the pages, there are six of them. he gets distracted and sets it aside and makes a phone call.
the whole time i am in terror, 'will he reject me? my words? did he have to stop reading because he hated what i was saying? was it too close to home? does he think i'm unsubmissive, wrong or unlovely?' all of these things flit through my head as i repeatedly tell myself 'stupid, should have kept it to yourself, why did you hand it to him, give him so much power over you again?'
he returns from the call and says 'i'll take this downstairs with my lunch and read it there...' da da dum... what does this mean?? 'oh well' i sigh. now that i'm alone i can reorganize myself, tell myself, 'this is a damn good article whether or not he thinks so. prepare yourself never to hear anything more about it and be okay with that.' i rally myself and move on, but that little 8 year old girl inside is saying 'please notice me, please validate me, please accept me for what and who i am.' she is silenced by the busyness of the day.
today is fresh, new and i hardly even remember the emotions from yesterday. i help him schedule some doctor's appointments and pay some bills online for him. then it starts to creep in, 'say something please, anything, even hate it, at least then i'll know.' nothing... i batten down the hatches again, 'you don't need his approval, stop being such a baby, you wrote that article for yourself, not for him. shake it off.'
just as i start to get into the day i hear him ascending the stairs, see the article in hand and he says:
'good article, yah, good article' (he hands it to me and starts to walk away... stops at the stairs and says) 'you got a way with words, like mum, you got a way with words'.
it's not 'i'm so proud of you', but it'll do. why is his approval the only approval i seem to care about? why does my psyche cling to this desperate need for him to speak love to me in a language that my soul understands?
well, i guess his approval isn't the only one i'm looking for. to be totally honest i would love a nod from our senior pastor too. it would speak deep into my soul. i have talked with liam about this a lot, how someone could have the power to bless another and chooses to withhold it, i just can't fathom that kind of choice. i know if anyone else in the church was published in a national magazine he would send them a card, or an email, at least read the damn thing. and yet nothing. not even a hand shake and a nod during the 'meet and greet' when i'm one row behind him in the audience.
and this does two things in my soul - reaffirms that i'm not good enough, and causes me to despise those in power because i'm the one who gave it to them. the fact that it matters to me makes me angry. why? who cares? 'free yourself from them and their power' i think - but i can't (i hate that word and usually avoid it at all costs) i've tried. their approval means something to me. i hate that. no, i loathe that. it's so weak.
so just for today i am going to revel in the biggest compliment my father could pay me 'you're like your mum' - he loves her still, her memory lives with him every day. she looks at him in his room from the picture on his television. today, that will be enough. he noticed me. this is a good thing. it can be enough for today.