Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reflections & Musings: Truly, people come to their own lessons in time — and that includes my father.

"Forgiveness does not change the past,
but it does enlarge the future."
~Paul Boese

There've been a lot of things that have shifted lately, some of them things I never thought would actually end up this way. One of these is my relationship with my youngest brother, who I've always felt the closest to though we grew apart as we got older, yet because of intimate relationships ending in both of our lives, we're growing up in a way, together. Now, he is helping to watch out for me as much I've always been aiming to do for him being that I'm nine years his senior.

The other familial relationship that's also transformed in a magnificent way is that with my father. I've always been "daddy's little girl," as I'm the eldest and closest to him in being kindred spirits in a way. I believe I'm the first child he ever told he loved, when I was in college, because the father of my boyfriend at the time unexpectedly died of a heart attack, and I then spent the next couple of weeks helping to take care of their entire enclave, until I had a bit of an emotional breakdown. My father, whether because he realized that this situation could very easily have happened to him, or because he did not want to hear me in pain in that way, told me that he loved me. Perhaps I abruptly stopped crying or furrowed my brows and took my phone away from my ear, I can't remember. I just knew that it was likely the first time he had ever said anything like that to any of his children, and to this day, I'm not sure if he's actually said it in those words to my three younger siblings.

I called him today to check on his health, since lately he's been having issues that are concerning for the heart (both his and mine). He gave me the results that the doctor told him, that he has more tests to undergo through December, and detailed the shifts he's been making and is planning to make to improve his overall health. I asked the Vedic astrologer about this when we spoke on the phone, and he reassured me that the worst is already behind my father and both of my parents will be all right for some time to come, as long as they continue to be mindful of their health.

I continued to listen to my dad's sharing while driving in the car on the way to meet a friend for a quick bite. He talked of his lifestyle changes in diet and exercise. And then, he started saying inwardly reflective things that so profoundly leapt the transmuting of my past forward, which I've been working on for over a decade, that I almost couldn't take it all in at first.

"I'm doing everything I can not to stress out anymore," he asserted. "You know how I used to fight with people a lot? My customers, my workers, your mom. Now, I don't do that anymore. I just let things go. I let them go. It's so much better this way."

"I never realized before how my anger was creating such an unhealthy environment at home for all of you kids, how I wasn't doing a good job as a father in that way, and now, I see it. I'm trying to do everything I can to make it better. I do whatever your mom wants me to do, even if it's an annoying request. I just want to make the other people around me, happy. That's the most important thing."

I got out of the car as he was still talking, and I started doing math in my head. My father is now 67 years old. It has taken him up until this point — regardless of the countless insights and requests and suggestions his family offered to him along the way — to accept responsibility and want to make amends. This moment, I never thought would happen. On some level, I knew he felt badly once we grew up and left the house, but to hear him say these exact words was unreal.

I realize that this isn't always something that happens a lot in life, where people grow to a point of consciousness that they can become aware of their own behavior, the impacts its had on others, and then aim to right any wrongs. Oftentimes, the behavior is so habitual and compacted over time, that it almost seems easier to continue being in these unhealthy and negative ways than to stop the momentum and move forward in a new direction. It takes courage and humility, and a big dose of wherewithal and will.  Plus, I believe that it involves detachment from results, because after such a long time of hurt and pain that's been inflicted, asking for forgiveness or wanting to make amends doesn't mean that the other party will participate. The way my father sounded, it didn't seem like he was asking for anything from us or from me. He was just sharing that he realized what he'd done for so long, and that it became abundantly clear what he wanted to do now.

I stepped into the restaurant where my friend was waiting, then backed out of the doorway and stood to the side of the entrance for awhile on the sidewalk. I could have listened for hours more, but I had to go and perhaps even wanted to have a bit of space to process what he'd already said, so I told him I'd call him back in a little bit. Then, I hung up and moved through the day. 

By the time I called him back a short while later, the tone had shifted a little. There wasn't as much of an outpouring of inner realizations on his part, but more of the caring father making sure that I've been okay throughout my break up.

This interchange between us affirmed even more that there's a perfect order to the Universe. When you stop searching, you often find what you're looking for. And for a man like my father to say what he did further emphasizes that everyone truly learns their lessons on their own timeline. If we can do our best to honor ourselves and heal and thrive in the ways that we need to, then the outside can begin to resemble what's happening within. 

I almost felt like this experience got me one step closer to writing my book. Like I had mentioned before, perhaps everything that I'm undergoing now is just part of a master training plan for what's to come. I've always felt slightly guilty to air out my family's laundry, especially when I see the work that my parents have put forth to improving themselves at this stage in their lives. But instead of feeling guilty about it, I can feel that it's inspiring for myself and for others who may be experiencing similar situations. 

Truly, we never know what's going to happen and more often than not, it could be our greatest hopes coming true right when we least expect it...

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