In the Lines In The Sand Class that I teach I request that the participants find and live their truth. This means to show up fearless and be who you really are; your true essence. As we continue to dive into the relationship series I am inviting you to do the same thing. For now, let’s stick to our relationship with our parent(s). How happy and healthy is your connection with the folks? Are you being authentic in your bond with them or are you playing a part, tolerating the situation and neglecting your truest self? Look at your relationship with them as a garden. Does it need to be weeded, fertilized, dug up and replanted, thinned out, or completely torn down?
This is a process and may take some time. For example, for several years prior to George’s (that was my dad’s name) death I rarely, practically never, had any communication with him. The reason doesn’t matter as it is water under the bridge at this point. When he died, I was involved with my two brothers in making funeral and burial arrangements. Together we respectfully created a wonderful celebration in his honor. That was nine years ago. It wasn’t until Father’s Day last year that I had given much thought to George’s passing and I had seldom reflected back on my relationship with him over the years. However on the morning of Father’s Day 2015 as I was walking to my barn to feed my horses, George came to mind. And I thanked him. I thanked him for creating me, because without him there would be no me. I thought about all that he had taught me; a strong work ethic, a love of the land, attention to detail and to never give up. I truly believed that he did the best that he knew how as a dad. Trust me, he would not have been held in high acclaim for his parenting skills as he was rather rough around the edges and heavy handed on too many occasions. But I have come to understand that many times his actions were fear based. People behave badly when they are afraid and they simply don’t know how to help themselves. Don’t get me wrong on this, I certainly don’t condone bad behavior. And there is no excuse for it.
I have come to a place of peace with George. On that beautiful Father’s Day morning it was that “never give up” thing George taught me that came full circle. I didn’t give up on him, but I did forgive him and I thanked him and it was the forgiveness and the gratitude that set me free. And the really good news is, George knows this. He also is at peace. He too is now free.
I invite you to do whatever gardening is necessary to bring your relationship with your parents to a place of peace. Whether they are alive or not, near or far, known or not; thank them for giving you life, forgive them for what needs to be forgiven and bask in the freedom of your willingness to look for the very best in them.