Last night I was doing some reading, and I came across a letter. When I read, I’m reading to learn, and in alot of cases to grow as a person.I really contemplate what I’m reading, and whether or not it applies in my life, and if I can learn anything from it. I have always thought myself to be very open and honest with my kids, but I learned last night, that perhaps I have not been so honest. We don’t lie to our children, but we do hide things from them that might cause them to see us as less than perfect. Perhaps in order to maintain our credibility,perhaps to keep from being wounded should they draw a negative opinion of us, who knows why.
As I was reading last night I came across a letter written by a father to his son, and I want to share it with you today this letter moved me in such a way that I will never forget it. This is a letter of courage, and it goes far beyond honesty
This was written for a Son and then the understanding that it was written also for the writer, for the neighbor and for anyone who has wondered. It was written for all of us who have experienced regret, loss or the pursuit of something not really known. It is for all of us that it is posted here. It is for all of us who believe that some things in our lives need to be discovered or found. It is for all of us who know loss, know suffering, know pain but also for those who have lived the opposite. It is for all of us who are sad and for all of us who are happy.and the letter says...
I wish that I was a better father. I wish that I could have been a better Dad to you and am so sorry that I was not. It is my hope that these words that I write to you now are taken inside your heart. Only through understanding will you give yourself a good life. Without delving into my past let's look at all people, all over the world but especially here in this country. Most of us learn too late the lessons of what is eventually a very short life. We look to other things to make us feel. We look to other things to make us believe in ourselves and then in a great moment of hindsight discover that these are the things that blinded us to begin with. It is the reason many of the elders in this country express regret for their lives, including your dad.People talk all the time about wanting to be happy. People have said that they want to find peace and happiness. This is the first of many deceptions. These are deceptions that I have engaged in as well. I have spent many years like so many others looking for that happiness and only recently found that happiness is not something that you can find . . . it is or it is not. It’s so very simple that the realization escapes so many of us until it is far too late and we find that what we had all along we wasted trying to find it.Many of us - - - all of us experience sadness and depression. Sometimes it is something genetic. Sometimes it is something that we live as a choice. We choose to blind ourselves to what we have and instead look at the outside world and our lives as the cause of this sadness. It's okay to be sad, it's okay to be depressed but not to be either without reason. When we are doing something that we enjoy, feeling the touch of a loved one or the joy of a first warm spring day after a cold and dark winter sadness and depression are last on the list. We've put those thoughts and feelings into a locker in our hearts. These feelings do not even enter reality when these and many other times like it happen. And then there are the other times when we allow those feelings to gain a foothold, sometimes that foothold will become a mountain that eventually we refuse to scale. We lose those thoughts of the touch of a loved one or of that warm spring day or jumping into the ocean to play in the waves. We feel as though life has no purpose and fall into a tradition of doing things by the numbers. We wake, eat, go to work. We come home driving as quickly as possible to eat dinner and then spend our evenings in front of a television or completing mundane everyday tasks till the time comes to once again set the alarm for another day exactly like the day before. And as sad as this sounds it is also necessary, it is necessary to eat, to sleep and to find some solice in the comforts that we are allowed. We need to be productive, to work so that we can eat, live and buy that alarm clock so that we can do it all over again. We are given time off of our jobs on weekends when we try to shove all kinds of happiness into one or two short days where many follow the same path as they do at their jobs and at home only they replace the "things" they do with "things" they do that they feel bring them happiness or make it easier not to be sad.Yet, this and all these "things" are nothing but illusions. If they were not then these moments of sadness and moments of happiness would never need a gauge. They would never need to be scaled among all the other things in our lives.You cannot, nor can anyone else find happiness. Happiness is not lost, it is not a goal, it is not a lost treasure. It is a state of being. It is unfortunately a choice that many do not choose. They would rather say for decades that they have to find it. That it's lost and we've not found the road map to get to the destination. Being happy is just that. It is being happy. We surround ourselves with things that we think at the time will enhance that feeling. But like a new car after that new car smell wears off it is just a car. This is how many of us view happiness, as some time controlled thing that appears and disappears at random depending on the things that we have.There are only two facts about human life. The first is that you and others like you and I were born. That in whatever way and form we exist. The second fact is that human life ends in death and that time between in not determined. There is no absolute guarantee that tomorrow will offer the same opportunities as today. Those of us that have witnessed death personally with a death in the family most times fail to see the grace in the time we get on the earth. Those of us who have witnessed death of a comrade in arms in war sometimes forget the grace of life that was granted when others around them have fallen. Some of us finally learn that our lives are entirely up to us. We fail to see that this is the way it is from the very moment we are able to choose. Some of us never learn till that moment when we know we are taking that last breath. I believe in that moment the feeling that we have most is regret. I believe in that moment that we truly understand the concepts of could have, should have and would have. I believe that at this moment people wish for a second chance.You know from living with me since you were little that I have lived most of my life unhappy. You know from living with me that I have had far too many moments of sadness. Languishing as I did in my little world and finding fault in so many things that I felt slighted on.All I can say now is shame on me, shame on me for believing that it was the plan of others to make me sad, shame on me for believing that others owed me happiness. It is not a permanent shame however son. It is a choice I no longer make. I can certainly be unhappy if I choose to believe the illusions of life. But I choose now to look at what I do have. I have many things that more people than not, don't have. I can walk on my own legs and have all my capacities of sight, hearing, speech and smell. I have all my extremities and have the use of them. I can eat and eat well. I can go to the bathroom and have a fantastic ability to turn a switch to get light and heat. I can see the sunshine and know by the smell in the air that winter is now long gone for another year. I can express my thoughts. I have a computer and you would be very surprised to find out how many do not. I can make myself a cup of tea and relax in front of the television and watch a movie that I choose. I have these and so many other things. Others have far more this is true and many, many more have far less. I do know that this is not the best situation that I could have right now but am happy that I could have far less. I am somewhat sad that I want to move forward but not sad in knowing that I have made a choice to be here for the now. If I awake tomorrow the choice may change and my options along with it.You, I and everyone else are granted these choices as all on this planet we given life through birth. Today many that were alive yesterday are not today. Their choice has been removed by the only other fact about life, death.We own nothing in this life not even life itself. We borrow and use it for a short time. Houses that we own will eventually be owned by someone else doing what we were doing. Material possession eventually breaks, rots and disappears. These are the illusions we surround ourselves with. Remember happiness is not an illusion, it is not tangible, it is something that you either want to be or do not want to be. It is not a road that you have to travel nor is it a goal that you strive for. It simply is.I will hope that you can take this to heart and mind. I will hope that you will understand that you will be rather than not. I will hope that you can truly understand that it's okay sometimes to be sad but being sad for the right reason, not for the act of sadness.I will hope that this letter finds you smiling if only knowing that here today the wind is blowing and even though spring is a short moment away it feels like winter does not want to let go. I will hope that you can understand how much time I have wasted looking for happiness and truly learned to understand it's not something that's lost, hence it is not to be found. It simply is a state of mind, a state of being.I have squandered many given gifts, I have taken advantage of time, been selfish about spending time with those I care for. I have done some really crappy things. But I also can smile for the legacy that I leave when it is my turn for that 2nd fact. I can smile because of you, your brothers and sisters. I can smile that despite that crappy past in certain ways I was still offered enormous gifts and one of the most special gifts was the day you became fact number one! I am honored to be able to say you are my son. I am humbled by the man you are becoming and the strength of will and intellect you possess. As time passes I have thought what could have been if I had chosen a different path but then none of you in this current form would be a part of life, of that first fact. If someone told me today I could go back in time and become Bill Gates' partner in forming Windows and Microsoft and that in my future I would be a multi-billionaire. That anything that is now would not be remembered. That I would never know you, as you would not exist I would refuse. I do know you! There is not a value of money or material things that would persuade me to choose this alternate path.Be happy, embrace the ability to read and write. Engage in life in all forms. Enjoy that moment when you first open your eyes to know that for that moment the second fact of this life has been eluded. Give to others of yourself because you can. Do what is, "just" knowing that it is the right thing to do, despite what others may feel or believe. Smile because you can, because you are healthy. When you live in this way many will not understand and will avoid you. They will not avoid you because there is something wrong with you! They do so because they live in that illusion. What you will find if you embrace this kind of spirit that there are others like you. They will see that you are healthy, not just physically but in all ways. When you enter into relationships with friends or significant others they will be long lasting rather than fleeting. You will leave an imprint with everyone you touch. For any soul this is an imprint that is the longest lasting and one that will offer others the opportunity to understand joy and a "just" life.I know I have probably rambled more than I should, more words that may have been needed but then you are my blood and I do know how much of a mallet it takes to knock an ideal into your skull.Know that I love you in more ways then a simple word can describe.DadAuthor's Bio I am just a person, hopefully a human being who can offer a "soap opera" of life experience to give others an option for change. Remember, anyone can show you other doorways. You would want to say "thank-you" for that when no thanks