Today I’m happy to welcome guest blogger Carol Muse Evans, publisher/editor of Birmingham Parent magazine. I love what she wrote about her relationship with her dad, and I think it’s a great read as we each start thinking about Father’s Day — and our relationship with our own father. Thanks, Carol.
I’m halfway through an interesting book someone in our office building recently recommended. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller is described as a writer “editing his life.” It’s a cool idea – if only we could learn to do it as we go. If only we would do it.
Ironically, as I’m thinking about Father’s Day, and I’m deep in my book, my thoughts keep going back to my dad’s life. My relationship with my late dad was certainly less than ideal. He was a tough man to love, as a child and an adult. While many times I thought he didn’t love me as I was growing up, now that he’s gone, and I think back on that part of my life, I realize who he really didn’t love was himself. He loved me as best he knew how, but he really didn’t love himself, which made everything else in his life so much harder.
In the book I’m reading, Miller talks about how, as you live your life, you are writing your own “story.” When I read, “People who say life is meaningless usually mean their life is meaningless,” I thought of Daddy. I think that might be how he felt. I think he thought he wasn’t writing his story, but that it was writing itself, and he had no control. Ultimately, I don’t think Daddy ever could be happy. I don’t think he chose to be happy or to search out happiness in the life he had. He never edited his life into a story he wanted to read.
And it makes me sad for him now. Thought he never earned millions or wrote anything profound, nor played in the NFL or had fame, he had a family that still loved him, warts and all, and a child that always sought his approval, though it could never be attained. He could have written a very different story. It was all in his hands, despite what life dealt him. He was still the writer.
This Father’s Day, dads, reflect on the story you are “writing,” and if it’s the story you want to live. It’s not too late to do some editing, if you need to, and being a great dad will be one of the best story lines you can choose. Showing your child you love him and showing him how to live a great life will be some of the greatest gifts you can ever give on Father’s Day, and every day. You don’t have to be a celebrity — just his dad.