Loving, but not caring

My Dad had his kidney surgically removed this week because the doctor’s had found a tumor in it. They removed it and found that the tumor was malignant. My Dad underwent an invasive and painful surgery and will have a long time to recover. The week leading up to the surgery, I received cards, prayers, and good wishes from a number of people at church. I was grateful for these. However, in all this I found it very strange that I was not worried about my Dad. I knew that just a risky surgery could end in his death or that we could learn that cancer had spread. But I didn’t really care. I didn’t stay awake at night thinking about him. Until the day of the surgery, I never really thought about him except when I forced myself to pray (as I felt I should do).

The whole experience is confounding to me. How can I love my Dad, but not be emotionally affected by such a dire situation? My lack of worry was not because I “believed God would take care of him therefore, there was no need to worry”. Faith had no part of it. Rather my lack of worry stemmed from a seeming lack of caring. I really don’t get it. I know I care about my Dad, but I sure didn’t seem to act like I did. To add complexity to it, I think I would have reacted much more strongly if it was Tara needing the surgery. I know that my love for her is stronger than my love for Dad, but the degree of how much more causes me shame. I feel that I should have had a stronger emotional reaction to my father predicament.

If I was talking to a therapist, we’d probably be talking about emotional compartmentalization. I know that I have a history of compartmentalizing my emotions, but I really don’t think I was doing that in this case. It really seems that in ths case, I just didn’t care enough. That’s what bothers me because it seem wrong.

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