Monday, January 21, 2008

Who Knew?


Heart. Head. We have both of them for a reason. It is easy for me to forget that the two are connected at their roots. I tend to use my head for calculations, logical conclusions, reading and writing. My brain goes all day long - consuming most of my energy and time. I engage my heart from time to time throughout the day, reacting to emotional prompts from friends, news items, my daughters, opening it slowly and gingerly as I sit in meditation.

Occasionally I am reminded that ideally, the two pieces of myself ought to work in concert. They are not mutually exclusive, my head and my heart. I am at my most genuine when they exchange energy and ideas freely. For most of my life I listened to stories about my father and believed every one. I was afraid to confront him with these tales that painted him as a selfish, narcissistic macho man for a multitude of reasons: loyalty to my mother, fear of his anger, confusion about where I fit into his life....

As I began building a relationship with my father over the last decade, adult to adult, secure in my independence, I resolved to put aside his past deeds and begin fresh. We respect each other's individuality, have discovered a way to talk frankly about our beliefs and support each other emotionally. I love him deeply and know that he feels the same way about me. Regardless of this newfound friendship, I still believed every story I was ever told about his despicable deeds during my childhood.

As we spoke over the phone yesterday he talked about something we had never discussed before. His perspective came as a shock. He never once got defensive or dismissive as I talked to him about my feelings. He was genuine in his sadness and regret as well as supportive of my need to obtain closure. I spent the evening mulling over the possibility that I had shortchanged myself for years. By not letting my heart communicate with my head I denied myself the potential to ask a different kind of question about the person I knew as my father. I took the words at face value and never asked my heart to weigh in. I don't know if it would have made a difference when I was a child. I do know that from now on my heart's perspective will be worth a lot more. As I assimilated the new information into my brain it felt right. The disconnect between what I had been told and the person I know my father to be became a little less like the Grand Canyon. I've gotta start putting these two entities in the same room together more often. Head. Heart. I've got them both for a reason.

7 comments:

Jerri said...

Neither your head nor your heart would have you dwell in regret. What was, was.

Concentrate on what will be. And congratulate yourself on getting to this point. Many people never do.

love you.

Suzy said...

Questions along with the answers come when they need to.

You are ready now and so is your dad.

All my love,
Suzy

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Ditto Suzy and Jerri. I doubt (heavily) that your dad would have been where he is now, any sooner than now. No accidents. No regrets. Take the gift you've been given, don't look back or forward, but find the grace in today.

Jess said...

This is really interesting and I'm so glad for you that you have been able to get to this point.

I can't help but be very curious about what the situation/story actually was. Sounds like that would make a good post, too. Maybe something you are not ready to share here. I'm just nosy!

MY OWN WOMAN... said...

Relationships, even the ones not based on "old luggage" are hard to combine with heart and mind; one usually always dominates. Thankfully, they each can have their own place and coexist.

Deb said...

Beautiful insight. Wonderful gift for you and your father. So glad for you. No accidents. Lots of love.

Eileen said...

Such a beautiful, loving and insightful post. I have been is very similar situations, especially with my father, who I too loved deeply. Yet, I did not have the courage to get to the stuff that would be uncomfortable. A few months before he died, we were sitting on a porch, overlooking the Bay, he initiated the conversation and so many things came up. So many questions answered, that I always wanted to know. In a gentle and kind way, he expressed regrets and apologized for so much. I'll never forget that conversation. I'll never understand why I did not have the courage to bring it up sooner. You are a very brave woman. I admire you on so many levels.
XOXOXO

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