I just had to share this story with everyone I can as soon as I saw it. I’m 1000 miles away but I can still pass on the light that my talented and bright siblings bring to the world.
There are two parts to my post about this Fathers’ Day. They are hardly related by anything other than fatherhood, but they are both catalytic for positive change.
Although I do wish every dad a happy Padres’ Day today, in lieu of gifts I genuinely want to receive (and give) prayers for dads. I think most of us are aware of the consequences of fatherless households, and the burdens that too many mothers bear alone, but we don’t grasp the magnitude.
Fathers: please step up and claim the love we have for you. Like building a wall in a strange and dangerous land, keep building with one hand and holding a weapon in the other to protect your families. I’m not talking about physical weapons (per se, of course), but mental and emotional ones. Love your wife and kids with reckless abandon, and defend your hope for them and in them until the end.
If you haven’t seen the movie Smoke Signals, I highly recommend it. This poem comes from that film. It is dour but purposely driven towards healing.
How Do We Forgive Our Fathers?
by Dick Lourie
How do we forgive our Fathers?
Maybe in a dream
Do we forgive our Fathers for leaving us too often or forever
when we were little?
Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage
or making us nervous
because there never seemed to be any rage there at all.
Do we forgive our Fathers for marrying or not marrying our Mothers?
For Divorcing or not divorcing our Mothers?
And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning
for shutting doors
for speaking through walls
or never speaking
or never being silent?
Do we forgive our Fathers in our age or in theirs
or their deaths
saying it to them or not saying it?
If we forgive our Fathers what is left?
Given that I have exactly 5 minutes at this moment I will be parsimonious.
“The light has gone out of my life.”
When Teddy Roosevelt wrote this in his diary, on the day his mother and wife died in the same house, what was it that prompted him–compelled him–to trudge on in the darkness?
Was it faith? Fear of falling? Hope? Vision for the future? Whatever it was, I think it’s somewhere in everyone’s soul. I want to find it in mine.
Sometimes when I think I’ve found it I lose track of it again. Like a tiny stone dropped in the carpet.
“You always do what you want to do.” (W.C. Stone)
Perhaps if I approached my negative, pessimistic tendencies as I would a substance addiction, I would have more success recognizing and beating them.
What does an alcoholic do to beat their condition? There are different step schemes, but they follow a general progression. First admit the problem, second get the help you need, third you need to know that it is a disease in which the only hope you have to beat it is to abstain from it completely, fourth quit and don’t look back. This last step is probably where I fall short and end up back at one. Why is that? That’s the worst place to stop.
Matthew Kelly said when you get to a critical choice and it is difficult to decide what action to take, decide based on this question: “Which one will make a better me?” At a crossroads, this makes it much easier to decide which way is right. From there it takes courage to follow that way. I think acting on this is key to recovering from pessimism—I will be forced to see that I have more control, more time, more choice, and more willpower than I thought possible.
Even depression can be turned into energy to make the situation better. W.C. Stone said that the Depression era in America did not hinder his productivity but rather increased it, and expanded his business because his team was inspired to action out of necessity rather than just willpower or other rewards. I have a fear that if I really was in the greatest state of necessity, I would fold. Got to shake that off! I also have a competing hunch that in that state of necessity, I’d be there in the clutch.
Maybe Patton’s treatment for shell-shock and courage under fire is applicable to many situations like this: “When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment ago was your best friend’s face, you’ll know what to do.” The right passion meets the right fear and ignites action.
I suppose I won’t have war stories if I don’t push my way to the front lines.