Falling from Grace…

Sometimes as much as we try not to, we hate our parents.  When we are growing up we put them up on this pedestal; a pedestal so high that a fall from grace is entirely unavoidable.  Some, most – don’t know this about me but I used to hate my dad.  It wasn’t the kind of hate that consumed you and made you never want to see someone again; it was the kind of hate that comes from a childhood of pain and the desire for someone to be accountable.  Before my dad was my dad, he was a man.  A man with imperfections that were beyond the grasp of an eleven year old.  As much as he loved me, that could not fill the gaping holes inside of him.  My father teetered on the edge of something so dark that even the brightest eyes of a child who loved him could not bring him back to safety.  He became the man I loved so desperately that I made saving him my life’s mission and when I closed my eyes at night and the pain of him walking away from me was all that I had left, I hated him.  Have you ever hated someone who you loved more than life?  It’s like eating so much of your favorite food until it makes you puke and then it ruins your taste for it for life.  My dad was my weakness and no matter how many times I threw up from the taste it left in my mouth, I couldn’t let go of him. 

So I got taller and so did the pain until it was so high upon the shelf that I could barely reach it any  longer; that’s what I wanted wasn’t it?  It’s true what they say, “be careful what you wish for.”  Not feeling something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and one day when you least expect it the seams will burst on your perfectly made straight jacket and it will be free but you will not.  There’s something about freedom that even the bravest of us are scared of.  It not only means free to choose, it means the burden of decisions.  There came a point when I had to decide if holding on to the heartaches of my past made me who I was or if who I was, was in spite of them.  Self definition has never been my strong point since I fear being stuffed into a box and shoved to the back of the closet.  People forget about things they shove to the back of their closets and I had been forgotten enough in my  life.  And so as the decision lay before me like a shiny penny in a puddle of mud, I chose to let go.  As the heart pains slipped through my fingertips I clenched my fists as a reflex to hold on to what  I had known for so long; I wasn’t quick enough and the wind carried them away.  As I turned to face a path that was littered with uncertainty I noticed my father’s shadow walking a pace or two behind mine and at that moment, I forgave him.

Sometimes I feel so guilty that I wasted so much time being angry at man who’s only fault was being human.  After all it was I who put him upon that pedestal and forgot to secure it with strong enough rope.  I am thankful my dad loved me through my hating him and that I loved him through his own self-hatred.  God  I love my dad and I miss him with every fiber of my being.  I want to remember it all, the good the bad the painful the hopeful….it built this house I live in and regardless of how unsteady I feel right now – I know my foundation is solid.

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