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.)