Monday, April 7, 2008

My Father's Wisdom

Right before my dad & mom left for New Mexico, my dad & I shared a conversation about dealing with life & letting go of your past. My dad has faced some pretty harsh challenges since losing his job last year & I have been amazed at his attitude & his ability to keep moving forward & to never talk about the things that happened as if they are roadblocks for him even now. I have been guilty of this until probably the last couple of years when I too came to the realization that my past does not define where I go in the future. Who I choose to be in the future & what I choose to do in the present is what defines me. Some may disagree, because some may feel that what has happened to them in the past is what made them who they are today & while I believe this to be true, I also believe we should not dwell on the negative things in our past & use them as crutches to explain who we are today. Because in most cases it only blames someone else for the path your life has taken. It only places blame on an incident or a person for shaping & molding you & how you make decisions & face life today. I try not to use the hardships I have endured in life, as crutches, only life lessons that I can keep to myself in time of need; when I need a reminder that I can conquer this hardship too.

For example, "I cannot commit to a relationship because 'such & such' happened to me once before," or "I don't want to get married or have children because 'such & such' happened to me when I was younger," or "I am this way because of what happened to me 'such & such' years ago." Who or what does it help to dwell on those things? Does it really help to overcome the challenges you face today, to say, I can't because of 'this'? Wouldn't it be so much more profound to say, I CAN because I overcame 'this'? Or not to even share it at all! This is what my dad was saying. A lot of people look at him & ask, "Why did you get into the trucking industry? You don't look the part," and he would reply, "I simply wanted to try something new or I needed a new way of life." He didn't go on for a while telling how he lost his job & his home & how he was downtrodden & burned by the manufacturing industry & just couldn't stand to go back because upper management felt he was no longer worth anything after 14 years of good hard work built on many, many more years of experience. How he was no longer wanted simply because he never got a college degree, so decided to try trucking."

He had always dreamed of going out on the road to see new things & travel to new areas, just to see what it's like & losing his job simply provided the outlet for him to do that, so why dwell on how he got there? He was using the events that unfolded over the past year as building blocks to a better life, a new life, not stumbling blocks to a life full of guilt, regret & blame.

I believe looking forward is the only way you'll get where you're going or even better, where you WANT to be.


Chandi said...

Very positive, and correct. This is the kind of thinking that will get us where we want to be in life. Thank you for sharing. I have to say, that you have always been somewhat of a mystery to me. Re-connecting over this past year and seeing where you are in life and how happy, confident, and successful you are makes me truly happy.

AmyBeth said...

I love that! Your so right, your dad is very wise. I just love fatherly wisdom. It is so great to me that a persons attitude about something can turn a bad situation into a good opportunity.

mom/caryn said...

I am what I am today because of my experiences in the pre-existance, and because of how I chose to respond to the experiences that this life set at my feet. Did I stumble over them? Did I step over them? Did I sweep the path, so that those following behind would find the way clear and easier to follow? I think what happened to us is a large part of
who we are only in accordance to how we handled the challenges. Some have lives that are so EASY that it could make them weak. But, it doesn't need too... It's all in how we respond.

You have great wisdom and insight little one. You're right... we should never spend too much time thinking about our past hurts... or our past sins... But, it is important for us to cling to the lessons that we learned from them and to use those lessons to build a strong bridge to our future. And to build strong foundations for teaching our children how to grow in character. They will make mistakes, they will disappoint themselves... and you... and they will have some hurtful things happen to them. You can teach them to leave the pain behind and tuck the lesson learned in their pocket to guide them through the thickets they may have to cross on some tomorrow. You know how.

I would be so very proud to call such a man, "dad". And to call such a fine young lady, "daughter".

I've had such a father... what a gift he was. And I have a girl of my own who is wise and sweet and full of hope and laughter. She's the very breath of my life.

I, like her, love to see what a wonderful woman you have grown to comfortable and joyous you are in your life. I always invisioned a life just like this for you.

So many of you young girls have brought... and seem to remember... so much of eternity that dwells within you. I guess that's what needed to raise your son's and daughter's to stand with the Lord in the latter days.

You guys give me great confidence in the future!

Sybil said...

We've talked about this before. I agree with you! Do you learn from the experiences you are dealt or do you dwell on them? I try my best to learn from them because I don't want to be dealt them again!

Anonymous said...

I remember you talking about your dad years ago and thinking how great he was. It's sad that we can't be near our parents very often.

Cassey said...

Wise words.