Fear and intimidation formed the basis of his power. To this day I tremble, afraid I’ve misstepped – parked the car wrong, forgot to close the door properly, or spoken out of turn. My father was a hand grenade with the pin perpetually pulled.

He was also motivational, citing the works of Carnegie, Peale, Gibran, and even Rumi. His brilliance was a light for me to follow, although I never understand the paradox between this worldly man and the ticking time bomb.

He spoke of love with tears in his eyes, as if he recognized his own failing, as if love was something he didn’t deserve. In his final years, realizing the error of his ways, he cried often.

I didn’t know how to react. The man had broken me in so many ways – broken all around him. I could not just forgive and forget.

Love is paradoxical – its’ contours seldom defined by expectations.

Am I grateful that I had the father I did? Absolutely. I recognize that in his wake I am challenged, but also given the resources to overcome. Many times I wanted to walk away, and yet, I didn’t, sensing that there was more to be uncovered in this dance of love and hate.

Father has been gone for more than a decade. I still wrestle with the paradox.

( Reena’s Exploration this week is paradox. Images are from personal collection. Maple trees and snapdragons remind me of my father.)

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

20 thoughts on “Paradoxical

  1. I can relate to this, V.J. My mother and I saved each other from my father until my mother gave up on living. I was married when she passed, which saved me from my father.

    I didn’t realize you had this blog until now! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My father broke me too, and even after decades of therapy, there are still some vestiges and times when my brain goes into self-sabotaging thoughts. This last week or so happens to be one of them. During these times I make some mistakes and my brain tries to convince me that I am a terrible person. Fortunately, this no longer happens often, but when it does, it can be a real doozy. Thank you for posting this, V.J. It always helps to know others struggle with this as well. You post was perfectly timed for me. <3.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A gift to have the maturity to process the love vs hate … to let yourself open to possible lessons yet ahead. I lost my dad too young … it’s been 5 decades + … but I continually gain insight to his negative/positive impact through reflections and associations. Like this post. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

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