I have not seen Terry in 2 years. He left Texas November 2010.
When I knew that I would be seeing them both at the Memorial for Dad, I had much apprehension. Not that I don't love my siblings, I do. A bunch. I simply wasn't sure how things would go with the 3 of us together. The 3 of us had not been together since 1997. Terry feels the need to be the go between between the two of us. Mindy tries very hard to persuade Terry and at times can pit him between us. All this on top of her attitude towards me the last 2+ years created anxious feelings in me. I don't want to intrude on her life. I want to give her space to be her. I likewise want the space given to me to be me. Additionally, I need respect just as much as she wants respect.
As you know though from my previous posts, things went really well at the Memorial. On Saturday, I texted Mindy to let her know that I was glad she was able to make it and that it was good to see her. She responded. I wrote back. She responded. Thus we spent nearly two hours texting. You probably are asking why I didn't just pick up the phone and call her. She said she doesn't talk on the phone. So, I took the opportunity I was given and used it. This I would not have imagined would have come out of the time. By me being kind to her and gentle in spite of her treatment to me, she was responding. She said she thought it would be nice if the 3 of us could do something while we were out in California. I let her know that I had plans on Sunday, but if she wanted to meet up on Monday, I could do so. We agreed to meet on Monday Morning for breakfast.
When Monday Morning rolled around, I texted them both when I was on my way as I had an hour drive from Crystal's place in Redlands. I got to the restaurant before they arrived [they ended up being 30 minutes late]. I had enough time to spend some time alone. Quiet time alone in prayer. Prayer that the time be one that would help heal hurts in these two peoples lives. Prayer that God would give me the words to say or not to say. Prayer that Mindy would not be angry with me. Prayer that I could show God's love. Prayer that they would know in the end that I love them both. Truly love them.
When they arrived, Mindy initially was cold and stilted. I had picked a booth by the door because I figured they wouldn't want to be sandwiched between everyone else as it was noisy. She detested being by the door and said so. I said that wasn't a problem, we can move somewhere else. She picked the spot and we moved. When we sat down, she was visibly nervous and anxious. She was wearing a long sleeve light weight t-shirt that was a V-Neck to the middle of her chest and she was not wearing underclothes. Her skin looked old. She had lots of wrinkles and other skin issues. She looked tired and sad. She asked where I had parked. I mentioned I had parked on the other side of the building as the parking out front was limited to a 2 hour window. She quickly and rudely said, we will not be here that long. I said, that's no problem, I just didn't want to have to move in the event we were and felt it was better to find another spot. I decided to let her talk and if she asked questions, I would answer. If she brought up something that I could inquire more about, I would. I let her direct conversation. We talked about numerous things. She got very irate again about the fact that nobody had called her about Granma Omi's death. I let her know that I was sorry, if I had had her number I would have called her. She got furious that Uncle Dana & Aunt Donna or Carrie or Trisha didn't call her. I told her that they had a lot on their plate and that this was a very tough time for them. She argued that Granma was like a Mom to her. She said nobody has too much that they can't make a quick call. [She obviously either is not been through experiences that have forced time limitations on her or she is simply being short sighted or selfish.] I tried as much as I could to calmly satisfy her that I am sure they would have if they could have. She went on and vented. I let her. I did not respond. She eventually moved onto other topics. I learned that she doesn't eat much at all. She lives on caffeine. Her hair is falling out and she is petrified as to what is wrong but doesn't have money to go to the doctor nor does she feel she can afford to let them take blood because she "needs every drop she has". She said "Terry said you were out here last weekend, why?". I informed her that I had come out to see Uncle Truman & Aunt Jessica and go on a Dune Buggy Trip to the Dumont Sand Dunes with them. She asked who was there. I listed the people. She cut me off and said, "Excuse me, why were all those people there? Not all of them come to meetings." I said, "No Mindy they don't." She replied, "I don't understand. For all the years I was in The Group that was not allowed or tolerated." I responded, "A lot of things have changed Mindy." She was very harsh and skeptical, "What do you mean lots of things have changed? Explain exactly what you mean by that." I drew a deep breath. I screamed a silent desperate prayer, God! Give me. Please. Please give me wisdom. "Mindy, there have been many changes. To explain them all to you would take a lot of time. Much of it would not make sense to you since you have been gone for 8 years. There are lots of details, situations, events and thoughts that though I would be glad to tell you, it simply would take a lot of time to explain things." She argued back, "But it wasn't like that when I was in the group." To which I simply said, "I know." She looked at me like I can't believe you are not going to answer my question. Then she accepted it and dropped it and moved on to other topics. I honestly thanked God. This was hard. To try to explain this to someone who no longer believes in God would be truly the unexplainable. There was no way I could. Not a chance.
This manner is the way I purposely answered and continued the conversation with her. It was not a time to resolve all problems. Problems in our childhood. Problems with the Christians we know and love and have met with our entire life. Problems with relatives. Problems with our parents. Problems with my brother. It was a time to spend getting reconnected and maybe closing a bit of a gap that has been there. This was my purpose. This was my aim. I was going to strive for it with all I had in me.
During one of the times Mindy was talking, her eyes caught something behind me and she abruptly stopped. Her eyes were fixed on this item, her facial expressions showed whatever it was she saw was creating a response emotionally in her. The reflections of her feelings could not be hid from her face. They showed a puzzlement. Then acknowledgement and understanding. Then a tears welded up in her eyes. Then just as quickly a clear I can't do this, I am not going there, I won't give in settled in. She then told Terry, "Terry, they changed the message on the board from what it said yesterday. I think I liked what it said yesterday better. But anyways"...and she went on with her topic of conversation.
I was curious what she had seen. I turned my head to read it and saw this:
|handwritten sign at the restaurant|
She had Terry go to the car to get a little photo album of Mom & Dad's Wedding that was at the Memorial that Aunt Donna had brought from Granma Omi's house and that Mom had given to her. She let me pick a few photos of Mom & Dad's Wedding to have. This was a miracle because normally Mindy would have been gleeful that she got something I didn't and wouldn't have cared if I got anything. She wanted me to take more photos, but I only took 4. I told her I didn't need or want a bunch, I simply wanted one or two to have of my parents and the wedding party.
I left with my heart soaring...God's message of LOVE was written out for her to see. It depicted feelings in her she could not hide. God accomplished a small seed. What will happen from here, only God knows, but I know this...He is God! My God, and He was apart of our time!!!
From there we went to Starbucks to get some caffeine, got gas in her vehicle and I filled up Crystal's, and then we went to Terry's place so I could see where he lived. I got a tour and then we took photos and then I needed to leave to get back to Crystal's to have enough time to head to Ontario Airport. In the end, we spent 3 hours together...more than the 2 she said we would.
|Terry, Mindy & I leaving the restaurant in San Jacinto, CA|