My Husband was in a brutal car accident about 20 years ago. As a result, he now lives in constant pain and discomfort. He gave my son and I am impassioned plea recently, as he's done in the past. This time though, he was more adamant than usual as he warned us to stop taking advantage of our life before we lose it and wish we had it back. After that talk, I told myself that I would be more faithful in practicing yoga, because that's the physical activity I like most.
The next day, I had a chiropractor appointment and planned to go to yoga class. On the way to the chiropractor, I came across a webinar that discussed three areas to manifest your dreams. One of them was maintaining your health and gave yoga as an option. Ok Life, I hear you giving hints.
The next morning while waiting for yoga to start, I listened to yet another webinar that talked about getting a daily routine to ground yourself and start your day on a good note. What daily routine did the person do? Yep, you guessed it. Part of her ritual includes yoga.
Today was my third straight day of yoga. The teacher was more vocal than any I'd ever had in the past. She focused the class on opening the throat chakra, which controls the voice and one's truth. She gave many great quotes, one of which was by Eleanor Roosevelt: No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.
When I heard that quote, a thought came to my mind: I am the Truth. I didn't consider that Life has been preparing me for a specific test, although that's what Life always does for me.
The test appeared innocently enough with a voicemail from my father. I say "innocent" because a question can be harmless or dangerous depending on who's asking.
Because I know my father, I was admittedly leaning toward defensive mode when I heard the question and returned his call. After answering the question, I asked his motive for the question, since as stated before, I know him.
He didn't appreciate my not believing that he was without motive and the conversation quickly went downhill. My father is a preacher in rural Arkansas. His sermons and conversations follow typical Christian teachings, one of which sets him as a father on high grounds. He believes, based on our conversations, that God sets apart people for specific tasks, and of course he is one of the chosen few. I was even one of the chosen...until today's conversation, maybe.
Typically, when different points of view arise during our talks (as they often do), I respectfully refrain from standing too firmly by my stance. I sit back and let the conversation play itself out. But today, after Life having affirmed and validated me for the last several days, I couldn't sit back and be content.
This is a fake reenactment of how the ending played out:
Me: Pizza didn't start out the way we know it. It began...
Dad: But I'm talking about the pizza I know.
Me: Just because it's the pizza you are familiar with doesn't mean that's how it started. (Begin excerpts of real ending) You can't just make facts what you want them to be.
Dad: Well people fit facts to their beliefs and understanding.
Me: That's not how facts work. A fact...
Dad: Well that's not why I called so how's the family?
Me: You're not just going to cut me off. If we are going to have an adult conversation then you need to treat me like an adult. But, the family is well and I need to go because we have things to prepare for.
This conversation was an important Life lesson because sometimes as parents, especially of adult children, we forget that the functions of our roles alter as the child ages. The parent-child relationship does not usurp the human-human relationship.
As humans, we owe it to ourselves to FIRST respect ourselves and then respect others. It would have been an offense upon myself to let someone take my power and belittle me with my permission.
If I put myself in my dad's shoes, as a pastor, I would picture myself going to the pulpit and preaching from Exodus 20:12 KJV: Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
However if I were to enter a pulpit after this conversation and preach from the same text, I'd point out that honoring someone does not entail me allowing myself to be disrespected. Because if honoring you means dishonoring myself, you'll lose, whether parent, friend or foe. And as a married woman, in regard to parental relationships, I'd throw in a bonus
verse Genesis 2:24: That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Thank you, Life, for ways directing my course and setting my path with your constant affirmation and validation, even when I do not notice or acknowledge. Without you, I would have once again chosen to honor someone else and disrespect myself in the process.