My mother told me the other day that someone in the family had given her a bunch of old photographs, and that she was thinking about throwing the ones that had my father in them out. I asked her please not to do that, and told her that I would like them. She replied, “Okay” with the tone of, “I really don’t understand why you would want them.”
I got my mail yesterday, and there was a small packet from her with a note saying she had “picked out a nice little bunch” for me. I appreciated this so much. I know it wasn’t easy for her to do. She is, little by little, letting go of the idea that she was “wronged”, and the more she drops the thought that she had a miserable past, the happier she becomes.
I had never seen this picture of my father before, and it brought tears to my eyes. He looked so full of life and fun and hope and future. Life didn’t turn out the way he had hoped…I know that now. He is disappointed in his own life, and it seems there are a lot of people who are still disappointed in him too…I used to be one of them.
Coretta Scott King once said, “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” I can feel the truth of this for myself. Hate is a locked door. We are hoping to keep ourselves safe from further hurt, but we really end up imprisoned with the horrible memories (we are trying to flee from) locked inside too, as erratic painful companions, liable to be triggered by a question, a photograph or a random thought.
There was a time in my life when a photograph like this would have brought a feeling of disdain to me…like a painful barb….that wasn’t so long ago, yet I can’t even conjure up those feelings anymore…what a great relief. When I changed, everything around me changed too. My perceptions of the past, my family, my self.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi