Things fall down. People look up. And when it rains, it pours.
I find that when I get really down, I start to analyze myself and the things around me as being normal or out of sorts. Am I the one doing things wrong or is the world doing me wrong? It’s usually an equal chance of either way but I can account for what I do and the world does as it pleases. Since all I can change is myself, I try to focus on that. You can accept the world as being fair or unjust but you still have to find a way to fit in it.
I once read that when we express anger, we are expressing what we hate about ourselves. We all have regrets and have done things we wish we hadn’t. Those regrets and the guilt associated with them weigh on us and shape us into who we are. This is actually good for us to a point; our consciousness needs to be reminded of consequences but some of us out there, we’re junkies for it. We need to feel regret and pain or we feel nothing at all because being satisfied just isn’t all that satisfactory after some time.
In the past few months I have just begun to deal with all the raw emotions I have been carrying around with me since dad died last year. I’m still angry and I have no real means to reach full closure on that anger. You would think that with my repeated attempts at making things good between us and trying to fix our relationship would earn me a guilt free card in the finality of it all, but it doesn’t. In the end I gave up and I resorted to plan C.
In the movies, an estranged father and son get a final moment to see each other just before the end and despite whatever was between them, they get to say they love each other and have a last ditch effort for some closure on both sides. This was my final resort option; my plan C. It didn’t go that way because this wasn’t a movie and in reality, my father was dead by the time I got word of anything being wrong.
My anger with my dad is coupled with equal empathy. I understood his limitations, and his fears. I’m becoming more understanding still of them everyday. I wanted to push him into being better because I had to push myself all those years ago and it was all I knew on how to react, but in the end it didn’t take. My father had many faults but in his core, he loved, and he wished his children well. He simply made bad decisions with his life and if affected his ability on how he treated others.
So what can we live with? What can we forgive? In others? In ourselves? If we make poor decisions and later expect, even demand, to be forgiven because it’s now in the past, do we deserve that out-clause? Do people incapable of foresight get a free pass to forgiveness to those who know how exactly every action they make will effect those around them in the future? How much of our own drama are we allowed to release on others knowing we are just projecting our fears for selfish reasons?
I accept that life isn’t always fair, love finds a way to transcend, people are flawed, and pain heals with time. Really, I understand this and I am fine with how it all works, except in the meantime, I have to deal with some serious baggage that I am really tired of carrying and the trick is, to find a way to let it go without picking up any more.
I’m not saying any of this is new, these are mostly the realizations that came to me over a year ago when it occurred to me that dad was gone, our actions final, and the people I turned to for support, I had distanced myself quite far from. I find it more rare and strange to hold on to something from a life that made it acceptable to let go. Lifeguards are taught to just let go of a drowning victim that is too hysterical and a danger to themselves and others in the water. I learned to let go at a young age and for a time, it got me through. It’s a stark realization when you realize you need people again.
So now then, some time passes by and we all go back into our routines and our lives and our relationships and some would say “it’s all in the past” but something needs to be learned from all of this so that it can have some meaning. I see my father’s fear in myself and I work hard to overcome it. And, I understand the pain he felt. Being raised up on a survival instinct makes it hard to be an instinctively compassionate person. Not everyone learns how.
Use the regret, love life, keep good company, let go of the regret that serves no purpose.
And I’m trying.