I will be back soon with funny, somewhat shallow things, but alas…

I don’t believe that love means never having to say you’re sorry. Being all Italian-tempered, I have to tell my loved ones I’m sorry a LOT.

I am grateful, though, that being a friend means you don’t have to be ashamed to ask.

Today I had to ask – albeit via Facebook status – for some uplifting.

It’s been a really draining few days since we got back from our 10 day ministry trip. There is always the chaos of trying to put the house and its people back together, which means less sleep when we kind of need more! This week we are also having problems with the bus batteries, which mean Rod has spent two nights and most of today working on getting it started so we can move it from the Super K parking lot to the lot where we are actually allowed to park it! Miranda got sick early Tuesday morning, threw up all day, and ended up getting a shot; she recovered via diarhea and a fever (think the worst is over now…)

AFTER that, the actual drama started…

Then, via Facebook, via an cousin whom I haven’t seen in almost 3 years but who randomly ‘friends’ me on social networking sites to apparently passive-aggressively pass on family news, I found out my Papa died.

…(And for the record, I am officially sick of finding out ANYONE has died via Facebook, in case you were wondering).

Papa. He emigrated here from Ireland ahead of his wife and young son, on a ship, passed through Ellis Island. Fought in WWII. Built a life for his wife and four children, from Chicago then out to the suburbs. He retired from Ford Motor Company and was a genius with cars and lots of other stuff until things got more computerized. He was a go-to guy, a generous guy, a neighborly, welcoming guy. He liked Irish beer, conservative talk, the Cubs, a good party, being a patriotic American, playing the organ and the accordion, hot tea, Bing Crosby, Archie Bunker, JR Ewing, John Wayne, JFK, Ronald Regan, Christmas, his tool shed, his family. He did not like the Cubs half of the time, any food but meat and potatoes, discussing religion, strife.

Perhaps because of that last dislike, maybe the last two, I lost him awhile back. There was family strife, and sides had to be taken. I don’t think he ever took one; he just stayed where it was safe to stay. He told those of us on the ‘out’ side – my parents, my brother, me, that we were loved, welcomed, wished happiness. But he couldn’t reach out, couldn’t reach past the strife. I have been mad at him at times for that, but anger was useless then and is pointless now.

I hope he is resting in peace. And I hope those who are left on the ‘inside’ find peace, too. I guess they won whatever battle they were fighting, though I can’t imagine what in the world it is/was they were trying to gain or what victory they might be relishing.

The only results I see are that my mother could not be with either of her parents when they died, was not even afforded a phone call letting her know what was happening. My children, and my brother’s, missed out on the chance to enjoy – and be enjoyed by – a rare commodity, a great grandfather. Papa never even met my babies, and he would have adored them.

I have emotions all over the placed about this. I feel sadness and sorrow. He was the only grandpa I ever had (my other died when I was 7 months old), and I truly adored him. I can still feel his hug, his whiskers, his silky white hair. I still remember his red cheeks after he’d had a few drinks, how attached he was to his pet parakeets (first Petey, then Dukey), how proud we were when he quit smoking after 60-some years. He taught me how to ride my bike in his backyard. He was so patient and gentle. He was a champion curser & critic, but would give just about anyone the shirt off his back.

I miss that man.

I am also mad, disgusted, confused. I don’t understand who gains anything by family estrangement. Even in disagreements, even in fundamental disagreements, what is gained? God puts families together for a reason. Who are we to take them apart?

I honestly have been taking the high road for most of this 6.5 year conflict. I have mostly turned the other cheek. And in the long run, I will continue to do so, but it’s hard at some moments. It’s hard for an Italian-Irish girl with her dad’s temper who has a problem with being misunderstood, misquoted, and mistreated. At some moments I want to say some un-edifying things. I want to egg some houses. I want to claim what belongs to me (and I don’t mean money; I mean heritage). I want to defend my family. I want apologies. I want vindication.

But… deep breath… I mostly want this behind us for good. I want Jerry & Betty Halpin to rest in peace in a beautiful place after their near-70 years walking this world together, hopefully with their grandson/my cousin Danny, who died 20 years ago yesterday at the age of 19. They were good people. They had good hearts. And they loved all of us. No strife, trumped up or otherwise, can change that.

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Going to the library to work is tricky. I use this time for so much… Branson stuff, household business, writing. And today, to sit and have a coffee and a good cry. I wonder what people think about the crazy lady in her mom jeans (ugh, but necessary) and mascara tracks.

I had some wonderful, touching, encouraging words given to me today… because I asked. I had some others given to me through song and scripture. I am reminded of the promises of the Word… if God is for us, who can be against us… He offers peace that passes understanding… He is the Author and Finisher of our faith… I am His daughter, and He is my Heavenly Father, (and Grandfather, and anything else I need Him to be).

I prayed for those who persecuted me. I called out their names. And now, I hope they find their peace and those promises.

I am tired of looking over my shoulder, waiting for people from my past to sneak up and air their grievences against me. I have made many mistakes, I have inflicted hurts, and I have asked for forgiveness on every count. God has extended His grace to me in spite of my unworthiness, and I keep squandering it in my worry over who thinks what about me. Dear Jesus, may that stop with all this. It’s time for a new chapter, to build the rest of my life on no, no, no regrets.

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