Today is my dad's birthday. That is always a challenge. Finding a card that doesn't sound fake, not too much sentiment, stuff I don't mean or, more likely, am afraid to say. It's hard with my dad, even at 50 years old, my inner child is still afraid to step out there for fear of getting hurt.
It's been a long road and, I'm grateful to say that we have a good relationship these past 20 years or so. We each know that we only have each other, I am his only child by birth, the only living link to my mother, his wife, who passed away in 1973.
He is a troubled man with hurts reaching back to his childhood still haunting him. I asked him once if he thought he could ever be at peace with his past and he told me no, it was too big. I think that's true sometimes. Our history seems just too big, too hard to tackle and so we go on, carrying our past with us as if long-ago pain happened just yesterday.
Making peace with the past is not easy and not a task to be undertaken lightly but let me tell you from experience that the hard work is worth the effort. Going through that dark forest and finally stepping out into the sunny meadow is worth all the work. The lightening of the spirit brings about deep peace and joy.
As you journey into the past, don't forget your supplies: a compass so you always know you are going in the right direction, a box of tissues to dry your eyes and a soft place to fall when you are too weary to walk any further.