Good Morning Beloved!
Before we start today’s Lesson, let’s take a moment to send thoughts of Peace to the Universe. Peace in our hearts, peace in the minds of our fellow world citizens, peace in every thought, word and deed. It is only by our measure that peace will be found. Thank you.
One summer night during a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small son into bed. She was about to turn the light off when he asked in a trembling voice, ”Mommy, will you stay with me all night?”
Smiling, the mother gave him a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, ”I can’t dear. I have to sleep in Daddy’s room.”
A long silence followed. Finally, a shaky child’s voice muttered, ”The big sissy!”
Poor Fathers, they get no respect. They didn’t even have a national celebration until 1972! Would you believe, even though there was interest not long after Mother’s Day was started, Congress and former Presidents couldn’t take that political chance to declare Father’s Day. It took until Richard Nixon to finally honor our Fathers with a national observance. It’s amazing, sometimes, how our political process works.
If you were here on Mother’s Day, you heard a little about the relationship I have with my Mother. It’s one that has taken much work over many years.
Bear with me as I talk about my Dad a bit. It’s my hope that you will find a message here for yourself as I need to say these words.
The relationship with my Father is different from that with my Mother, in part because he transitioned over 20 years ago. So, all the time and effort I’ve had with my Mother, I haven’t had with my Father. No time to mend fences, so to speak, but plenty of time to wonder about that relationship, to delve into it, analyze it.
My Father was a quiet man, until he had too many beers. He was considered a fun guy by his pals. My Mother tells me I am like him; she thinks I can talk easily to others. I made sure that the other trait never had a chance with me.
I can recall trying to get his attention as I grew up, but I could never seem to break through. I wanted to be my brothers because they seemed to get what little attention any of us got from him when not drinking.
I was a tom-boy, I wanted to mow the grass, be outside, wasn’t allowed to mow-he said I had skippers, I was the athlete, even with four brothers, didn’t matter. Got myself a boyfriend, thought that would do it. No. Took myself to college and I think I may have cracked that ceiling a little. That is until I came home after graduation and acknowledged that I was gay.
They say you marry your parents…I have experienced both my parents in former partners! Quite a learning experience!
And maybe that is how we get to know our parents better so we can move through the forgiveness that has to come. And it HAS to come!
Our domestication tends to lead us in the direction of always trying to fill some kind of perfect vision.
There’s the perfect parent, the perfect child, the perfect me and the perfect you.
And we all will do anything to be loved, to be accepted. Until we learn that we need to love and accept ourselves first.
My Father was a big man, over 6 foot. Mom was barely 5 and that’s shrinking now.
I believe he was a frustrated man, intelligent but with a 10th grade education and a taste for beer, let’s say he had a varied work record for the first part of his life. So, my childhood was poor by any standard.
The lessons a child learns in a household like that are varied…. lack, insecurity, fear, they stay with you until you start ‘working on yourself’.
I don’t think my Dad got the “’working on yourself’ thing until late in his life, and I don’t think he resolved much. I don’t think he could face himself even though he did change some. He was a Father for my sister and youngest brother, his violent drinking ended by the time they were youngsters. I was jealous of them.
I use to be jealous of other people too, when they talk about their Fathers and the relationships they have with them. I’ve come to realize that what I have with my Father were some fond memories of family gatherings, of times when we were just like any other family going for a Sunday drive and getting ice cream on the way home.
I can see times when he tried to be better. Especially with my sister and youngest brother. Even with me, there were some special times.
My Dad loved Christmas and so do I. We went to Phillies games together and Eagles games too. That was the one thing that I had with my Dad. I think it was special for him too. I think that’s part of the reason I still follow those teams.
I think we all have things to learn from our relationships with others. We learn how we want to be and how we don’t want to be. We see traits we like and some we don’t like.
And as we grow we learn that our parents really did do the best they could with what they knew at the time. If we would look at them from the time they grew up and not by our standards of when we grew up, we would see completely different people. We would understand them a little better because we can see from where they came. We can forgive and accept them for who they were.
My Father’s Father died when Dad was a teenager. I’ve often wondered what affect that had on him. I’ll never know because he never talked about his life much except the fun times he had with his friends and brothers and sister.
And of course the “stories” of walking to school in 5 feet of snow uphill both ways…you get the picture.
So, looking at all that, I can see where some of my Dad is in me and there’s some good stuff. I thank him for doing his best.
I thank him for that handful of change and a golf tee that he gave me as he and Mom were dropping me off for my first year of college. I still have that golf tee.
And later that first year, I thank him for coming to pick me up at the drop of a hat when I found out my boyfriend, Fred was killed in a motorcycle accident.
I thank him for rescuing me and two others when the car died on the way home for Christmas break.
I thank him for being there when I had my first car accident.
I thank him when he finally came to see me coach.
I thank him for eventually accepting me as best he could.
He did the best he could—–and I love him for that.
I’m at peace and I know he is too.
This is from a poem written by James Dillet Freeman, our poet laureate at Unity a long time ago. Please receive this blessing as your own:
‘You are our Father’s child. Beneath, around, above, within you Is God’s Presence
And in your heart, God’s love. God’s life is in your body.
God’s thoughts are in your mind. In your world God’s blessings on every hand you find.’