Lessons from My Father

I worry sometimes that, busy chasing my own dreams, and working to make my ends meet, I have not delivered to my parents their well-earned rest and reward. After all, my siblings and I would be nothing without their sacrifice. And so it was that on my father’s birthday (he’s a January born like me, though a different sign), a milestone birthday, I asked my father what he would like, and he answered, nothing…whatever. Suspecting that he was worried I wouldn’t be able to treat him, I played a hypothetical, isn’t there anything you really, really want game by asking what he would do if he won the lottery…(after all, he and my mother were the example to me of working hard for what you want in life, and yet knowing that the hard work doesn’t guarantee anything, and in his retirement he lives humbly and contentedly for the most part…when radio chatter doesn’t have him in a state)…and after a pause, he said, if he won the lottery, he would help people poorer than himself, people who needed help. And I realized then that even as I was trying to give him things, he was still giving me so much more, lessons about the true value and purpose of life, a reminder that it is not about acquiring things, but about being at peace with yourself and being there for others in whatever way you can. That in the end it matters less what you have than who you have been and what you have done in service to those, like you, walking this earth. He doesn’t hold grudges with his parents for what they weren’t able to give him and wishes only that his children and grandchildren could go a little further down the road than he has. I stay learning.

2 thoughts on “Lessons from My Father

  1. This was beautiful. I know of people who do hold grudges against their parents for what they weren’t able to provide (materially or otherwise), while others continually make them pay for it. Blessings to your father during this year.

    • Thanks for reading. Families are complicated. I try not to judge people for the things they have difficulty shaking. S/He who feels it knows it, you know. But I do feel there’s a measure of peace to be achieved in finding a way to come to peace with what is/was. I’m not nearly as zen as my father is but, like I said, I stay learning. We are all works-in-progress. My dad doesn’t internet in any way but I’ll be sure to pass on your blessings.

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