Sidewalk Ghosts / An Epilogue To A Failed Reach Out… Or Was It A Fatherly Success?

It is on this Father’s Day epilogue that I find myself inspired by rejection. For in reflecting on both the positive and negative lessons of my father, as well as wondering about those of the fathers of the many, I see a vision…

photoSadly, our “Tell The World About Your Dad” reach out fell flat on its face: No submissions. But saddened we are not. It was a last minute idea, and asking you to write a little essay in less than one day might have been a little unfair, especially smack dab in the middle of Father’s Day weekend.

Even writing my own story was impossible, and I’m the one who has committed to an entry a day. So I’ll shift gears this morning in sharing an updating perspective of why we are doing this 365 thing, and being on the eve of a day dedicated to fatherhood, I take the liberty of relating a few thoughts that might relate to us all as parents, as friends, as citizens of the community of Operation-365.

I think back to my formative years. The times when I was living under parents roof and the days of my early independence as I relate them to the place where I find myself now as a husband, father and friend. I reflect on the influence of my father, many a good example, as well as the faults he brought to the table of life. He was a good man, yet for all his positives, he was equally flawed, just as all of us are.

We all have histories and as living, breathing humans, we are all exposed to experiences ranging from the greatest of joys to the deepest of pains. No one is exempt, not ourselves, not our parents, nor their parents and on and on. For whatever reasons some of us had it easy, and others, not so much. Why some are dealt the unfair cards? I wish I had a reasonable answer. It’s easy to analyze the how’s; but, to fully explain thy why’s is a daunting consideration; a mind drain that I have been chasing for years, and one that every time I think I’m even getting close to understanding, I find myself hit squarely in the forehead with a new experience that rocks the very center of my reasoning.

I self explore, sometimes needing to heal from an attack on my history, beliefs of perspective. I justify, “Richard, you have not lived in their shoes, you are of a different culture, faith and history, let go and move on.” Not always so easy to do.

The list of life segregators is grand and trying to find this meaning of life thing can quickly become mentally boggling. Vast and impossible to visualize, questing it can become strenuous and debilitating. Further separating us from a much nobler causes, empathy and forgiveness.

Absolutely, I have not lived in their shoes, or culture, or faith and my history is unique to myself. Why is it then, that it is so hard to let go of the pains, the offences, the unfairness of things not close to me? Why is it that instead it is so much easier to enter the game of the unattached, with the winner always being the one with the strongest argument of blame?

Back to my father, to your father, and your father’s father, even broadened to the fathers, and the father’s fathers of those we don’t even know. A world full of blessed and a world full of injured. A diverse people who bleed the same blood; a people who are all coming from somewhere; a people with a personal and infinite set of ups and downs of life; a people who have potential to ground us as cohabitants in this beautiful and unfair world.

Sure Radstone, easy for you to say! You are wearing those rose-colored glasses again. Remember you just got ignored. No one cares about your Father’s Day reach out. Take that! Plus, your life has been an easy one. You had a good father. Me, I was beaten up, suppressed, called names or my family was persecuted for what we believed. Who are you to be Mr. optimistic? Get real my friend!

I admit, there is a lot I have not experienced, but there is much that I have. Both you and I have won and lost in battles of life, and yes there are many who bear scars that are impossible for most of us to truly understand, but here is the point. Are we engaged with a real desire to listen, with a real want to do what we can to better our communities, do we have the courage to not only look directly in the eyes of those in our camp, but to see the lives of those living in the other tents.

We are all wonderfully diverse. From the smiling to the quite ones, the givers to the takers, the functional to the dysfunctional, it is of no consequence. The common denominator is not our sameness, but more resoundingly, our variety. The literal backgrounds and current circumstances we individually live by. That “for better of for worse” stuff that is thrust upon our very existence on a day-to-day basis. From our own means to the acts placed upon us our wells fill and dry. The pains, the joys, the failures, the successes and yes, even the injustices. The stuff that makes us who we are, and the stuff that has hold on how we treat the world around us, for better or for worse.

It is on this Father’s Day epilogue that I find myself inspired by rejection. For in reflecting on both the positive and negative lessons of my father, as well as wondering about those of the fathers of the many, I see a vision. A view towards the possibilities that lie within the hearts of us all; and, as I look into the faces of all I see in the streams of life, I propose a universal question, “How many of us are being a “Good Father;” or for that matter, Mother, or Friend, or Stranger?

Talk tomorrow my good friends,



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