“Beautiful things don’t ask for attention” – Unknown
For approximately the last 3 years I have gathered myself to write on a weekly basis. Most topics have come from my personal life experiences along with my desire to encourage and build up my readers. Some weeks are harder than others on what I should write or how I should articulate a specific thought or idea. One thing I can say for sure is my ability to be more transparent has gotten easier and feels more normal than ever. Often I have no idea what I’m going to write about until I sit down at my laptop, but every once in awhile a life event will occur that speaks volumes to my heart and soul. This week of writing falls into that category.
I promise you that I can’t make this stuff up nor am I seeking special circumstances in my personal life so I can share them with you for likes or applauds. It is just my life and I have made the decision to share it, because I feel it has become my responsibility and equally my privilege with this platform.
Many of posts have spoken of broken relationships regarding my multiple divorces and what I have learned because of them. Today is no different in respect to writing about a relationship, but this one happens to be about the relationship I have with my father. I haven’t spoken much about him except that he provided me with a great example of a working man along with showing me how to fix things and provide for my family. I am and will remain forever grateful to him for his sacrifice. However this weekend proved to exemplify the brokenness that still exist between us and inability to move pass the past.
We were at a funeral for a family member and since we haven’t spoken much nor seen one another for awhile, I decide to lay back and greet people (including him) as they came into my space, versus going out of my way to extend my regards. We saw one another in a hallway and shook hands. It was a cordial gesture and that’s pretty much all there was.
Once my family and I left, I received a text form him that said, “You are really a big disappointment as a son.” Now mind you, I am pretty successful in other areas of my life. I own a home, I have a decent career, and have three children that I raise with my ex wife. My relationship with my father hasn’t been the best, but it also was not necessarily terrible. We just can’t seem to move forward for many reasons. The primary reason is, I have grown up and refuse to sit in my corner and allow him to dominate me, as I did when I was a child.
So every once in a while, the journey we claim to be on gets tested. Are we who say we are, and will the actions that we convey align with who we claim to be? Sometimes they do and others times our actions indicate there is still much work to do. Either way, it’s not about judgement or being a good or bad person as much as it is about recognizing the growth or lack thereof.
Like any other human being with emotions, I initially felt a need to attack. My heart raced and my mind begin to fill with words to defend myself and hurt him back as his words were designed to hurt me. And quite honestly, in times past these words and words like them would have sent me into a downward spiral. I would try my best to keep it together until I found a quiet place where I could release the pain with tears.
Well today was different and it was a moment that I needed to experience to really see where I was. I mean like at my core, with regards to how I respond to hurt, disappointment and pain regarding him. It was a moment that I could not plan or prepare for, except for the work that I chose to do in silent and in my secret place.
The “work” is not loud or out-spoken. It needs no pedestal or platform. Maybe a carpet for our knees as we pray or sit in silence meditating and listening to the inner voice that guides us into truth, love and spiritual freedom.
Once I read his text, I immediately fixed myself on a response, then I deleted it and calmed down. This allowed me to reply with careful thought, empathy and honesty. It was no longer my intent for him to feel bad or ashamed for what he said to me, but more importantly to share my truth in love and respond with strength, courage and compassion.
Strength, because I needed to be clear and address the issue directly, courage because I could not mix my words or excuse his choice to be disrespectful towards me and compassion because I could not afford to miss the opportunity to address his hurt masked in anger.
So my response to him was, “Perhaps to you and that’s okay. It’s unfortunate that all you can do is sow words of discord – right after a funeral! I’ve learned to accept that from you. We all have! It’s nothing new, but I’m blessed and happy with my life regardless of how you may feel about me.”
There is much more I could have said, but I chose not to. I know that hurt people hurt others, but at some point we all must stand up for ourselves. We cannot allow ourselves to continuously become the punching bag for others, even our own parents.
It has taken a lifetime for me to acquire this type of courage and wisdom, and all that it took to obtain, I would not change for the world. It was often painful and I was misunderstood on a regular basis, but I continued to press. Today I am step closer to who I desire to be. The test was given and I chose to take a route I could not have taken in the past, even if I wanted to. I am different. Doing the work is working and I am grateful.