I'll try to keep this brief and without excessive personal details. On Father's Day, at 9:18 AM, Dad called me. He said he had 4 tickets to the US Open in WI on Father's Day but didn't ask me to go with him because he didn't think I liked golf. I am not a die-hard golf fanatic - I haven't played in 2017 - but I have played golf each summer since around 1994 or 1995, either with the Mount Mercy College group or with Louie, my father-in-law. I can only recall playing golf with my dad once and the reason I remember that is because it was July 1998. I was working at Jordan Systems in Cedar Rapids as a technical writer. It had been a dream job from the day I started in February 1998 but now, the company was having financial issues. Karen was pregnant with our second child and I felt like I needed to make a change. I remember talking to Dad about this on the golf course and wanting his advice. I've played a lot of golf over the last 21 years - I remember that round. And yet, it came to be that on Father's Day 2017, Dad told me he had the 4 tickets but had asked my brother (a given in my head), a family friend that I've known all my life (another given in my head), and a guy from Dad's golf group (I guess he would be the 'short straw' but I know he and Dad are friends so I know it made sense to Dad to ask him). He said, "You didn't want to go, did you?" and I said, "I would've liked the option to choose." I could hear in Dad's voice that it dawned on him, at that moment, that he had made a mistake and hurt my feelings. He asked if anything was new, I said no, and that was the end of the conversation - I haven't spoken to him since, which is par (hee hee!) for our relationship. One other interesting tidbit is we talked for 6:35 minutes, which is likely a record length. When I hung up, I cried because Dad didn't choose me. I went upstairs and hugged Karen and told her I loved her. She was upset and insisted that I call Dad back and to tell him I was hurt, but I refused to do so. In hindsight, I know doing so would have hurt his feelings and I really really try to not hurt other people's feelings, though I know I have not always done so.
There are three principles that can help me in dealing with this and other family issues I have not mentioned in detail on this blog:
- Realize you're not alone. Sibling difficulty was an issue in the very first family—something between Cain and Abel, as I recall—and it continues to stain most families today as they age and expand. What you're dealing with is unfortunately more normal than abnormal.
- Stop trying to change them. If you have a tendency to be the 9-1-1 rescue responder, resign from that role. Put your trust in a big God, and turn the job over to Him. He's good at it.
- Forgive them. Resist resentment. Stop punishing them. Give them the grace and mercy you have received from the Lord, and choose to love them, even if it must be from a safe distance.
Editor's Note: This seems relevant to the above: https://www.thoughtfortoday.org.uk/anger-2/