Friday, January 6, 2012

*BEST OF DTB #125* Dad

It's no secret to anyone that you and I had a troubled past. It's also no secret that neither of us, despite all our desperate yearnings, can change that fact. However, I am here to tell you now that I am a better man because you loved me enough to fight for me. I know it wasn't easy for you because I know it wasn't easy for me.

A Father and a Son can yearn to love each other but they must first come to know each other and I didn't know you Dad and you didn't know me. We hurt each other because we couldn't reach each other and we couldn't reach each other because we didn't know each other. You only saw me as someone who was needlessly obstinate and I only saw you as someone who was needlessly cruel. That could have remained forever our story, but it didn't. It didn't because you tried. You tried and you tried and you tried and I tried and I tried and I tried. Too many times our efforts were frustrated and the cost was far too much anguish and far too many tears.

You taught me some things, Dad, this you need to know. You taught me, first, that love can build bridges and love can bash down barriers. Second, you taught me to never, ever give up, now matter how badly life beats you down.

You didn't teach me these things by saying them because I am quite certain I would not have listened. Talk is cheap and anyone can make a good speech. You taught me because you never ceased trying to help me, even when I reviled you. You did as much for my brothers. You taught me not to give up because you never gave up even as I watched you endure enough hardship to destroy any other man ten-fold.

In my life I have gone through things more horrible than I could ever have envisioned but I fought on. I fought on when I felt like dying. I fought forward when I could not see three feet in front of me. I fought forward when I did not even comprehend the strength that drove me forward. I know now that that power came from the hand of God and the example you showed me. Only now can I understand the hell you walked through from having to walk through it myself.

I am not whitewashing what we went through, Dad. We both treated each other in an unspeakable manner, at different times in our past. Yet, the gravity of our past transgressions only magnifies the depth and significance of our sorrow and forgiveness. Now, at last, through the many failures and disappointments, trials and regrets of my life can I understand the crushing effects of constant stress, the grinding oppression that is never-ending anxiety.

But know this, Dad, despite our many clashes and disagreements, you and Mom succeeded, at last, in teaching me the only things I believe you ever sought to teach. I mentioned two before. Let me add a few. You taught me that truth and honor and integrity are more precious than Gold and that the value of a man has nothing to do with how much money he has. You taught me that when the chips are down, though every one runs away, family is there. Despite all the grudges and all the squabbles, family is there.

Dad, I don't have time to go through all of the regrets of my life. They are as numberless as the stars in the sky. You do not need them listed here. However, you do need to know that near the top is that wicked pride, that damnable unforgiveness that burned away so many years and kept us from reaching each other. Nonetheless, love won, after-all and nothing else matters.

At different times in my life, I have been drawn to rhetorical excess and wide swings of emotional outburst but know this Dad, it with a sincere heart and a sober mind that I just have to tell you that I love you and I always will.

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