Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Build a fence, but don't forget where you placed the gate

Life is so strange. Life is fleeting. I turn 30 in less than a month. Where has all that time gone? Why is it that we seem to be programmed to harbor bad memories and it takes so much more to remember the happy ones? I'd give almost anything to find a way to train my brain to dig up sunsets, laughing with my mother, having a moment with my brother, sand in between my toes, hiking to waterfalls, acing a difficult test, baking with my grandmother or making waffles with my grandfather. I suppose it's a defense mechanism. We get hurt and walls are constructed. My fight or flight responses are so screwed up, I have to be on medication. I get anxiety over the simplest of things. I get the sensations of drowning when trying to escape these feelings, desperate to grasp solid ground.
The prompting for me to write this evening is that I got a text from my brother earlier letting me know that my dad went to the ER today. He has congestive heart failure. I haven't talked to my dad in over a year now. Everytime I let my guard down with him, he gives me reason to build it back up. I've never been able to trust him. I've never known what others know as a stable, caring father. He was always physically there, but never there emotionally; not always there financially. Yet, there is this unconditional love we are supposed to hold for our parents. They gave us life, right? Without them, we wouldnt be here. But to what degree do we NEED to place conditions on this love? And how do we do this? How are we able to have them in our life, accept them for who they are as they are a part of us, and preserve the self?
I hate the drama and fighting my mom, brother, and I went through almost 2 years ago. Yet, I wonder how much of an impact that made on the importance of family and our connections to each other. Poisonous people are all around us. You can be as guarded as you want, but if you want people in your life, you have to accept them for who they are or cut ties. Family members are under the subject line of unconditional love. We aren't always going to agree, but we will always have ties to each other. Why not make the very best of it while we are here?
I cannot begin to accuaretly express my admiration and level of pride I have for my brother. He is an amazing person. I wish I could be as strong as him. He has grown so much and is such a wonderful father, boyfriend to the awesome Kate, brother, and son. I was afraid he and I would never see eye to eye and become close. This fear has become null and void as of today. He text me about my father and I was unsure how to deal. Taylor has been working in nursing homes for years and is now an assistant funeral director. He has seen the depths of human emotion. Today he gave me the greatest advice I've ever received. I want to share it with you:

It's hard. And don't let your guard down. Building fences are fine. You just always need to keep in mind where u put the gate. Making an amends doesn't mean opening every facet of your life up to him. Take baby steps. Even if that first step is just a text saying I want you to know I'm thinking of you and I'm here if u need me. Sometimes we over analyze. We stay in the shoulda, coulda and the woulda. We pick up every piece and see how they fit together. We compromise within our selves "how am I going to fix this. How am I going to put it back together?" its natural. It's why we're human. We want to fix and mend and never forget... But lately i find it's a lot easier to look at the pieces on the floor and leave them right there. Step over them, and never turn around. Always remember where you left the pieces and why theyre there. But leave them in the moment they happen. Life is a blink of an eye in this universe. Who knows, this may be the only shot we have. You dont have to forgive him. Only understand who he is and just be there in what may be his last moments on this earth.

So I took the plunge. I text my dad. He said he was crying, loves me so, and is there for me too. I know I would regret not at least being back in contact with him as this condition will surely be the death of him.
Life goes by so damn fast. We can't overanalyze every little thing. That's no way to live. We can't live in fear, either. We have to do the best we can do treating people the ways in which we want to be treated. That's the number one thing my mother has taught me. Two wrongs don't make a right. None of us are perfect. It's okay to admit fault and it's okay to build fences. There's nothing wrong with being concious and protective of our hearts. However, we have to be concious of others' hearts too. My mother has always been there for my dad even when he treated her the lowest he could possibly treat anyone. She remained true to her character, her morals, her values. She always does.
I have to let go of resentment and anger; fear and assumptions. I have to trust and love. I have to do unto others as I would have them do unto me regardless of anything else. THAT is the main accomplishment of being a good person. If you stay true to this, you have accomplished the meaning of life.

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