today is a new day, if we see it that way

My father holding Tommy 34 years ago
My father holding Tommy (34 years ago)

My parents divorced when I was in my 20’s, but even while growing up in the same house as my father, I never felt like I knew him very well. For years I assumed that this was his “fault”. I accepted what I heard from others around me and their version of him: uncaring, aloof, undependable (and worse) were the terms used to describe him and his approach to us.

Only after getting some distance on these opinions (and refusing to take part in the discussions aimed at criticising him) was I able to see how backward this all was. Don’t get me wrong, my father has plenty of faults. But for all of the hundreds of critical conversations (centered on him) that we so haughtily engaged in, it hit me one day that he did not criticize even one of us. He was very hurt by things that were said, but he didn’t strike back, he just retreated.

Only recently have I’ve come to see my father in a new light; as a very gentle and forgiving man.

Sometimes we can be so blinded by old beliefs (of both ourselves and others) that we rigidly hold ideas in place that are no longer true…or maybe never were. Today is a new day. If I want a different world, I have to be willing to see everything and everyone around me with new eyes.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not a truth.” Marcus Aurelius


40 thoughts on “today is a new day, if we see it that way”

  1. Oh Mary this rings so true with me also…it wasn’t till after my dad passed and I took care of my mother that i saw that it was him that was keeping things together and he was the voice of reason….so many negative things were said about him….i miss him dearly…thank you for this post this morning 🙂 J

  2. Nice post Mary. Thank you! I’m sure it strikes a chord with many ~ my own father was a difficult man and often misunderstood.

  3. I realized after I posted this that I’ve said several times your posts apply to many. I think you touch a common chord Mary ~ your experiences are also those of your readers. It’s comforting to know we aren’t out of the ordinary with some of the things that happen in our lives ~ others experience these as well. It’s sometimes easy to feel we are the only one going through something and to feel very alone. Not true as your beautiful blog often shows!! 🙂

  4. I am remembering your post about taking a day trip with your father and seeing the area through his eyes…and your comment not too long ago sharing the story your mom told you about your father rescuing your stuffed kitty in the rain from the park when you were just a little girl…what a gift to each of you that you are seeing your father in a new light…and another of your posts reminding us that ‘it’s not too late, now is just right’…such a beautiful heartwarming sharing and lesson. Thank you for prompting me to think about what old beliefs I am still holding as true and seeing them with new eyes…I love this!

  5. Dear Mary….this is a beautiful message about acceptance and trust in the deeper meaning behind all things. Thank you for such a gentle and loving post!

  6. Mary, as say, this is a mindful postand one that I can relate to as others here are doing. What struck me was how fortunate for you that your dad is still alive for you to work issues out with yourself and see things through a different lens, which he benefits from as well. (“Only after getting some distance on these opinions and refusing to take part in the discussions aimed at criticising..”). I don’t know what it is about divorce but it seems to set in motion ‘blame’; talking behind other’s backs, basically in the long run, it is character assassination, self-serving and something that while I’ve been on the receiving end of it, I’m not proud to say that in trying to justify my own thought processes, it is often at the cost of someone else’s. I don’t know how you keep coming up with such inspiration for your site….it’s nothing short of a gift for those here on the forum.
    Sandy P in snowflakey Ontario, Canada

  7. Looking back, my mom and dad seemed happy and I knew they loved each other. But dad was not real involved with our lives. Not like I was with my children. I couldn’t understand this for a long time. Then one day I was enlightend. He was in the Korean War and World War 2. He saw many dreadful things that he didn’t talk about. But he was fighting his demons…and doing the best he could to raise three girls in the wake. I now realize that our parents did the best they could with the knowledge they had at the time. I’m guessing most parents fall into this catagory, including myself!

  8. Mary – This is such a beautiful post. To be able to appreciate new facets of our parents’ personalities as we (and they) age is truly a blessing. I was struck by your statement that we may “rigidly hold ideas in place that are no longer true…or maybe never were”. My sister was labeled “clumsy” as a child and even called herself that into adulthood. At some point, I realized I had never seen her do anything warranting that label and asked my parents why they called her clumsy. When she was a toddler, she knocked over a glass that was sitting on the floor and spilled water. This only happened a couple of times but my father developed a habit of always reaching for his glass when she walked past him. That was all it took. Even as 54 and 55 year olds, I’m still reminding my sister that she’s not clumsy!

  9. A lovely story and a moving photo, Mary. Thanks.

    And, good news: my fiance, Brad, has been discharged from the hospital and is resting comfortably at home. ***Thank you so much*** to all of my Flock friends for your prayers and good energy sent his way! I know you helped us a great deal. 🙂

  10. I love the idea that seeing happenings and situations in new ways is an option that is always available to us, no matter how much time has elapsed. These comments resonated with me. My father, who had five daughters, was often at odds with my mother. We seemed to always take her side, blindly at times. I now see my dad as a WWII vet who kept everything deep inside and who suffered alone. We girls really weren’t there for him. I wish I could have one last conversation with him. Since that cannot be, I am looking with new eyes at what happened when I was growing up.

  11. Have you ever noticed how frequently you hear someone begin their sentences with “The reality is” . . and go on to express THEIR opinion or perspective? Whereas another person’s ‘reality’ could be polar opposite. We see the world through the lenses of our own experiences, upbringing, so many factors – my parents have both passed on, but sometimes I feel like I understand them better as time goes by, as I get older too. Just like we go for a yearly eye exam to correct the lenses through which we see the world, we could as surely benefit from a yearly self exam of the true inner lens from which we see into each other’s hearts. And gently wipe away the film and residue that does not serve us to see clearly. That is a precious photo of your Dad and Tommy, Mary. Sweet baby boy!

    1. I once left a message that spoke of a combination of words. Today the combination of words was in your comment Susan. Thank you.

    2. Love your analogy of the eye exam. Important not only to see others and situations from a different lens – but also to see ourselves through a new lens and drop those old labels. Good visualization for me as I have an upcoming eye doctor appointment.

    3. I love your analogies and metaphors…they really help to illustrate your compelling and powerful thoughts. Thank you, Susan!

  12. Thank you for this post. I am committed to the notion of reality being subjective and truth being personal . Perspective and context are so important.

  13. Beautiful , Mary! I’m amazed at how little I really know about the people I love, loved. Now, I just try harder to accept and not need to “know” why they do what they do, and WHY I think I know how anyone should BE except, myself.

  14. Thank you, Mary – TODAY IS A NEW WORLD – Thanks for helping us see that.
    It’s funny – until you listen to other folks’ family stories you don’t realize that every family is dysfunctional to a degree. Happy days! Peace, out!

  15. Ah Mary…..hit the bull’s eye again. My dad passed on over six years ago, and it wasn’t until just before he died that I started to see the man he really was and how honorably he lived his life. I consider myself blessed to have been given the opportunity to have one final conversation with him where the barriers were gone and we both met on true common ground. And in the present time, if I have a new revelation about him, I tell him how much I appreciate him, even if I did perceive him differently when I was a child.

    We do all see through our own eyes. Realizing this will, I think, make us more likely to be sure that we think things through before judging anyone else.

    Thanks, Mary, for another valuable lesson. Don’t know how you keep managing to supply these every day!

  16. I love this post, Mary. It speaks to me and points up the importance of thinking for ourselves, and looking through loving eyes. A good lesson, and a challenge, both. Thanks.

  17. Wonderful reminder about perspectives being unique to each of us and how we change as well as our perspectives. Your wisdom and sharing are so valuable. Thank you, Mary and all of the others with comments

  18. I read this post just as if I had written the words myself. Mary, you have a knack for putting into words what is in the minds of this group! I am so glad that after my parents divorced (I was 14) that I reconnected with my dad several years later and got to have a relationship with him that was independant of my mother, brother and sister. Very little of this relationshiip did I share with my mother who, 44 year later, still finds ways to be critical of him. At least when I had my step-mother I had someone I could talk to who loved him and accepted him for the sweet, funny, good-natured guy that he was. He too was a WWII vet and it changed him. Now that she is gone too, I am missing them both. I am trying to find the right words to tell my mother that while he was your husband, he was my dad and I don’t want to hear what you have to say…perhaps this group can help me to find those words and be kind at the same time.

    1. Dear Marion, I’m wondering if allowing your mother to be who she is with the experience she had and felt she had with your father by acknowledging that this was her experience but that as a child of them both, your experience was different to hers. Support her in her feelings. You don’t have to accept them. They are real to her. Ask if she might be able to allow you your own feelings and your own experiences. Hopefully, then, she may relax into a more comfortable space when you talk about your father. She did love him once. Things happen. We can’t tell what we would do until we walk in another’s shoes. Her experience wasn’t yours. I hope she’s able to allow you that.
      SandyP in Canada

    2. One day, I just said to my mother, “Enough! I love my father and I will not listen to anyone saying these critical things about him, just like I wouldn’t listen to anyone talk about you this way.” She didn’t like this and got angry for a while, but I needed to say it and it changed our relationship for the better.

  19. Oh my Goodness! I’m as nervous as a wet hen! Irritated,confused and unfocused! But I’m strong and have lots of support and prayers. Mary Soloman, you remembered. You devil you!! And thank-you all sweet ladies for the prayers. I should be home on Sat.! Love, Cindy

  20. This quote is magical. If only everyone could wake each day and remember those true words and hold them in their forebrain all day long we could live in paradise. But how interesting would that be? Ha ha.

    So glad to have a day off and get to savior my Mary and her community! Thank you, Sweetie Pie!

    And PS that was always my nickname for my deceased soulmate: Marcus Aurelius but I never knew why………….just something I picked up along the way and never investigated, I guess. But he would certainly appreciate this quote. As people die it seems like we just remember all the good and maybe they become better than they really were in live, but I like to think that my memory is not tainted because he was a person that acted everyday like this quote was in his forebrain. Thanks for bringing some great memories to my forebrain today!

  21. Sandy P and Mary…thank you for your kind words and support. I will try to have a different attitute with her and see how it goes. Perhaps a reminder that her experience with him was different than mine will help. While he was an absent Dad, he was a great grandfather to my children and when I once told her this she seemed confused, perplexed, ??? Maybe she has trouble seeing him in any other light…
    hugs, Marian

  22. ILOVED this blog Mary and grew up kinda the same way only my parent divorced when I was about 8 years old and theneighbor kids told me I no longer had a daddy….my mom never did tell me…he was just gone! I only told remember my dad telling me once in life he loved me….but that was enough for me….and when I saw him on his last days after he had a stroke and couldnt talk i told him i loved him and knew he loved me….tears ran down his face and I only wished he could talk at that moment but he couldnt….though I felt I knew what he was thinking…..Julie Vogen

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