(photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/nuttakit)
A friend of mine is saying her final good byes to her father today. My father is 95 and still going strong and I can say I have been blessed to have had my dad for all these years.
Many of you have never been given the gift of knowing your father, having a loving father or experiencing a father’s love. Tyler Perry, American actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, producer, author, and songwriter, wrote the letter below, to a friend of his, regarding his feelings about his absentee father. I hope these words speak to someone out there and will help you re-frame your feelings and your definition of your father whether he is alive or not.
Your dad is getting older and facing his mortality. He’s going to become a different man soon. In life, we all become different people. At 20, you’re not the same person you are at 50, and if you are, something is wrong. We are built to evolve. Life is an oven that will incubate us into change. Most times it’s for the better, although there are some people that are so resistant to it that sometimes they won’t change. But if he remains the same that’s ok too.
My challenge to you my friend is to start looking at your father like a person. Not the man you see but the boy he was, how he grew up, what he went through. Realize that just like you have had, he has had his own life, pain, heartbreak, struggles, secrets, disappointments and sadness. In other words, he had a life and a story long before you were born and in that life he wasn’t given the tools to be what you needed him to be.
As a parent your job is to help your child pack a suitcase for this journey called life. Just like when you go on a trip you pack everything you need. This is the same thing. You must help that child pack love, faith, confidence, patience, joy, hope, how to give love, how to accept it, faith and God. All these things and so much more should be in that suitcase and if they aren’t, that child is going to have a tough life. Find out what’s in your father’s suitcase. It will help you understand. What’s in his suitcase is not an excuse for the way he treats you, but it is a part of your understanding of him.
I know he’s a closed door and I know you don’t know much about him, but if he won’t tell you then maybe there is a family member on his side of the family that can tell you his story. His past is important in understanding your present. Do you understand? At any rate, I don’t care who or what he is. I’m just glad he was used to bring such a great and awesome soul to this world, whether he will ever know it or not. I thank him for that. I thank him for you. I love you my friend.
Reframing bad experiences is essential and important in moving forward in life. Also, this letter from Perry helped me to open my eyes about the things I am packing in other people’s suitcases.
“We are built to evolve”