NOTE: Last week's and today's posts were originally posted in 2012.
Last week I posted Mostly by Our Love, encouraging readers to tell their stories. Today it is my turn. My story is about peace, the peace I encountered when I eliminated blame.
I recently wrote the letter below at the suggestion of a friend who helped me recognize I was holding blame for my father. My dad died in 1998. I was convinced he had not loved me. When I let go of this blame I was overcome with a physical, mental and emotional release that brought me to tears. And not just polite tears. These were soul searching tears. The kind that seeks, finds, destroys, and cleanses, leaving behind only peace. Perhaps, in my story you will see pieces of your own.
Tonight I discovered what I should have known all along. You did love me, and if you are capable of doing so from your current state, I want you to know I understand that now.
We are all given a set of tools from our lineage, our parentage, and our circumstances. These tools are supplemented with gifts from above. These are our tools and we use them because we know them. As we go through life we may find or develop other tools, which we will also use.
There is no guarantee that those with whom, for whom, and because of whom we use these tools will actually recognize our intent. You see, they have their own tools, too, different from the sets others carry. There are some similarities and some overlap, but by and large we use the tools we know in a fashion we know how to use them. This guarantees some will interpret our intentions incorrectly. Sometimes this will work to their favor and other times it will cause frustration or pain.
When I was growing up and much after I had grown up I mistook your tools and commensurate usage as being against me and not for me. I felt there was no wiggle room and I resented you for it. In reaction to your tools I made choices that were not healthy for me. I could have responded differently than I did. However, I accept my habits going into adulthood as mine alone and fully my responsibility.
I see now through the dual lens of time and experience that you loved me to the best of your ability and understanding, as I, too, love my own children.
We come into this world—depending on your view—as either perfect or broken. But this is a distinction without a difference. Soon enough we become broken. We see ourselves as something other than our true selves. We live our lives based on others' definition of love toward us and lose sight of the love God has for us.
God, in various names, is always there, but we are not always aware of his tools either. We don't recognize them and we respond to them according to our perspective and molding, not according to the riches of His love. Again, that is because we have experienced an imperfect love here on earth. We have the option to blame our father, others, or even God. Which we do. We also have the option to blame ourselves, which we ultimately do as well.
However, there is no blame. Not yours. Not God's. Not mine. Not anyone's.
We are all doing the best we can, and, as long as we try to live up to a shifting human standard we will not do well. We may look well, but there is not one who is without some brokenness.
So, at this point, I feel like I should 'forgive' you, but there is nothing to forgive. Being human is difficult. We do our best. We find a fit, even if that fit is 'not fitting in'. But until we find the soul of the Universe, we will continue to settle for our own fit, which will never be adequate. It is a much smaller box than is available within the expanses of the universe.
I thank you for your life and your love, for your example, whether understood or misunderstood. For from those examples I learned. I learned what can work and what should not work. I learned to think for myself and to realize that I am the hero of my story. I get to decide how it ends. For me, I have decided it ends well.
It ends well because, in spite of our respective inabilities to express it or recognize it, I know you loved me.
It ends well because I now know I am good enough.
I am good enough for you, though, for years I believed I was not, and now I find it unimportant.
I am good enough for my family and I am good enough for myself.
I am good enough, not because I am Dave Driver, but because I am me.
I am the me of my youth. I am the me who played and laughed and fell, without regard to the consequences, without regard to those looking on.
For in my youth I was not aware of anyone looking on.
I was aware only of the moment, the present time.
Of those immediately around me.
As I became aware of the world, I became aware of my role. I no longer will be bound by my role in the world. I will be bound by my role in God's universe. I will love him and walk with him. I do not expect my role to look very much different initially, nor do I look for my role to be the same over time. I look for my role to be breathed on me through the Spirit, which I will follow.
You loved me as you were able, some of which made sense to me, some of which did not. But ultimately all beneficial, all serving to shape me. It is my choice now. It has been for decades. I release you from my blame.
I love you.