Questions From the Past

prayerI’ve recently had the opportunity to go through some of my dad’s things recently. It was a bitter-sweet journey for me; remembering all that I had with him and realizing all that I lost when he died.

For many years he was my everything. He knew me like nobody else could. He knew what made me laugh as well as cry. He knew what I drew confidence from as well as what made me shake in my shoes from fear. I thought I knew him, too, because that’s what good friends do: share with one another.

But I realized on one defining afternoon in the Fall of 1979, that I didn’t know him as well as I thought. That was the day he committed suicide.

Could I have been a better daughter? What did I miss?

I’ve spent lots of hours and tears over the past 30+ years revisiting those questions. Those thoughts controlled lots of my thinking, and my preoccupation with trying to understand his choice haunted me. It wasn’t until I entered a 12-step meeting and started working on what made me me, that I began to understand who we both were.

I came to understand my compulsive personality. I began to understand my choices and why I made them. And I came to love and respect myself the way God wanted me to all along.

I tell you all of this because while going through some of Dad’s pictures and prized possessions, I found a copy of The Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Did Dad deal with compulsions, too? Did he try to distinguish what he could control from what he couldn’t? In my own quest for serenity, this is one answer I need to accept that I will never know on this side of Heaven. And I’m fine with that being okay.

5 thoughts on “Questions From the Past

  1. Those elusive answers in life often peck through the foundations of life, keeping us teetering and tottering on our toes, stretching to reach a higher understanding. We want to connect those pock marks so badly; if only we can apply logic, then everything would make sense and then there would be closure and peace. And sometimes the more we know, the less contentment we have, as did Eve in Eden. There will alsoways be loss and darkness in life; I m sorry you have experienced it in these ways. There will always be the One who is Peace, waiting with outstretched arms.

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  2. Thanks Debbie, for your words of encouragement. I loved my dad very much. Some life lessons are more difficult than others. Having a Heavenly Father to scoop me up and attend to my wounds–just as my earthly father did–helps the grieving process along.

    Thanks, too, for taking the time to comment. 🙂

    Hugs, R

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