Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Gift My Dad Gave Me When He Wasn't Looking

When I was a kid, I used to wonder what it would have been like if my dad had remained part of our family. He left when I was around 6, I believe. All I remember was coming home from school, and having my mom tell me that he was gone.
For years I thought I had been cheated from being all that I could be because I didn't have that male role-model to help mold me. Meanwhile, my dad was off doing everything for himself that he had ever wanted. He went to Australia to build boats, spent a fortune on model planes, trains and automobiles, and moved all around the country; all the while, my mother walked to multiple jobs because we had no car, and gave plasma two days a week, just to support four children.
For the longest time, mostly through my teen years, I hated my dad for going off and living, what I thought was the good life as a solo bachelor with no responsibilities. Yet, when we would talk to him occasionally, he would act as if we were one big happy family, telling us he loved us and all of such crap. I wanted nothing to do with him.
But then, when I was in my thirties, I reconnected with him, and was able to take him and his ideas in more fully. Watching him, I was slowly able to see just how he thought - how his life views really were, and I was suddenly clear on why it was Divine planning that made him exit our lives.
I could see that he never loved us as much as he loved himself; but I was beginning to be okay with that. I could see that if he had stayed with us, I would have grown up just like him; absorbing his one-sided, narcissistic, hateful, dishonest and sometimes racist views, since children often imitate the parents.
My dad was unemployed more than not, causing us to move a lot, and hide from the utility companies when they came to disconnect the power. This was in the 70's so he would just go back outside and easily re-hook it illegally.
He was very dishonest, but always excused his dishonesty by making it look like he had no choice in the matter. He was stingy and thoughtless. These are the things I couldn't see as a child. His actions seemed totally normal to me then because I had no basis for comparison.

(This is the same point I make about teaching children religious ideologies when they have no basis for comparison. They have no choice but to believe in the parents and their views. Children should be allowed and taught to find their own truth, not repeat the parent's truth.)

Do you see the problem brewing for me and my siblings?

By the time I had reconnected with him, I had two kids of my own, and I was suddenly not regretting that I had no father to show me the way. Because my dad left at a crucial time in my conscious development, I got to skip the destruction of my psyche that surely would have occurred. I realized that my mother played both the father and mother roles better than he ever could have, giving me a balanced view of things.

However, the reason I have told you some things about my life is this:
Things that happen in your life may seem out-of-whack, or devastating. You may feel like you've been cheated out of something somehow. You may feel like you were dealt a bad hand. But if you take a moment to step outside of your normal realm of thinking and re-analyze your life, like a film review, you may discover the many blessings that have befallen you without your conscious awareness of it.

Just like me - I thought I needed a father figure so I could become more than I thought I was. I blamed him for not being there for me when I needed him to be. But as it turns out, in reflection, he was there for me - by being absent. His being away from us was the greatest gift he could have given his kids. I know that must sound backwards, but had he stayed, life would have turned out a lot differently, but not for the better.
It was when I could see this about him that I was able to let him go, and not be angry anymore. I saw the gift that no one else could see, not even my dad. I call it, the gift my dad gave me when he wasn't looking. Each one of my dad's four kids took from him, the exact gift they needed for this journey, whether they can see it consciously or not. There is always a gift being given. Even in the midst of tragedy, there will be a gift. Being able to see, appreciate and utilize the gift will depend on your level of awareness, or your degree of consciousness.

-JB Lewis
(from Living In Consciousness)

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