When my dad started dipping his hand into the toilet, I finally lost it. “Dad! We don’t put our hands in the toilet!” I threw the towel on the sink in disgust, ran into the other room, and cried. The sobs rose up from deep inside me. I couldn’t bear to see what had become of my dad, the person I had admired most in my life, reduced to a demented old man who thought nothing of having poop on his hands and clothes.
When I came back in the room, my dad sat naked on the toilet and tried to console me. “You seem really upset, Honey. You’re simply too picky. I love you, but your problem is that you criticize and criticize.”
A wave of love for him washed over me. He’s so sweet, and has no clue that it’s his craziness that’s sending me over the edge. His inability to discern poligrip from toothpaste. His willingness to wear clothes with poop smears on them. How he sits on the toilet to urinate, while still wearing his pants.
I ran out of the room to cry again. I tried to use words from A Course in Miracles to pull me back to center. “My only function is forgiveness. This world is not real. I accept Atonement for myself.” But they weren’t working. I couldn’t stop crying; I couldn’t stop making it real. I could see that I was totally in ego, but could not get out.
The rest of the day, I just distracted myself, because trying to get anything productive done was worthless. When I got home, I found blood and cat claw holes on my couch, which flipped me over the edge again. I threw something against the wall, knowing it was soft enough to not do any damage, but still feeling guilty for losing control. I prayed for help again, and got the idea to watch a comedy show. That finally did the trick, and the ego’s grip loosened.
I feel so guilty when I get irritated with my dad, especially when I know he can’t help himself. I also feel terribly guilty about my rage, which resurfaces occasionally. Part of me knows that I’m the One Self, not the personality Lorri, but when I identify with her nasty traits, it’s not pretty.
As I calmed down, the truth of A Course in Miracles started seeping in. The Course teaches us that our one function is to let go of the illusory world, stop making it real. These thoughts came to me: “It’s not my job to be a good daughter, it’s my job to forgive the image of the father with dementia and the daughter who’s frustrated. It’s not my job to be patient with wiping poop off my dad, it’s my job to forgive the poop. My only job is to choose to see a forgiven world, something I cannot do from my ego thoughts, but can do with my Right Mind. Focus on the love between my dad and me, not the appearance of sickness.
Peace was restored as I remembered my only job. The Course is simple: problems appear in myriad forms, but there’s only one problem—the belief that we’re in this painful world, separated from God. There’s only one solution: forgiveness. This tool reminds us of our Right Mind that is still connected to God. It’s the only thing that brings permanent peace, because trying to fix the world eventually brings more poop in some form or other.
Do you have poopy stuff that’s stressing you out? Ask your Right Mind to help you see your function differently. Your peace is right there waiting for you to ask.
Blessings, Lorri Coburn