“Things can be abused in one of two ways; by omission or by excess.” – Dad
Dad was an incredibly intelligent and wise man. Intelligence works best if you are able to have the discipline to make difficult or demanding choices, to be able to see potential disasters or shortcomings in a plan of action and take an alternate route or revise the plan of action accordingly. He was a chess player, a strategist, a well read Renaissance man who had lived a few incarnations of himself during his lifetime.
He read Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and learned from other Great Minds from other times in history because being human is the one ribbon that ties us all together, throughout time; no matter the space or the race, being human varies little when you consider the heart, the mind and the ego. We all struggle with self-doubt, some with too much confidence and not enough caution; we all love, in whatever way we are able and we try to live as best we can through whatever horrors mankind has brought about in this particular time period.
This is where Dad’s quote comes in.
When I was very young, I was trying to get a handle on this whole right/wrong thing. Morality was being explained at my Catholic school and I was curious to see how the Great Minds’ ideas on morality and the ever-clear, drawn in stone, pass or fail, right or wrong campaign. Dad rarely talked to me like a child of the age I was at the time; he talked to me as he would another adult. As a result, much of what he said took years to actually make sense, but when I got it, I really got it.
This discussion covered a great deal of ground, addressing gluttony and such things, but the part that sticks with me the most is that quote. At first, it was pretty clear to me that yeah, if you eat too much, you’ll make yourself sick. If you don’t eat enough, you’ll make yourself sick and weak. But it became so much more, encompassed so many other things such as forgiveness and love and second chances.
It didn’t apply to just those people in my life, it applied first and foremost to me!
Kindness and the desire to help can be abused when it turns down a dark street and accidentally stumbles into the shadow side, co-dependency.
Forgiveness for oneself can be abused when it is withheld until unreasonable, impossible demands are met, such as being perfect.
Love can be abused in both ways; how many sick babies thrive when given constant skin-to-skin contact, held and rocked by another soul? How many die from neglect, lack of love, of touch and embrace?
What we are told is love but requires us to change who we are in order to be “worthy” of another’s love is not love and is abusing the love that is given.
I could go on and on but I’m pretty sure you’re with me on this. I have been going through some trying times (as we all have, to be sure) and this is helping me to look at areas in my life that are off-balance, in need of change or alteration in order to better serve my needs at this time.
The belief in perfection and pursuit thereof is the superhighway to insanity, depression and delusion. There is no such thing as perfection when it comes to being human and no one can give 100% all the time and not be depleted, defeated and dead tired.
This year and every year after, I plan on checking in with myself more, looking at my list of goals and my bucket list in equal parts. I will take time to smell the roses, call those who pop into my head when I hear a song or see a bright scarf dancing in the breeze. I will do my very best to let go of those people, places and things that I carry like a heavy backpack, full of rocks of regret and remorse.
I will empty that backpack, one rock, one stone at a time. It may take a long time, but it will hopefully make the rest of the journey much more pleasant.
Thanks, Dad. For the donuts and the coffee, the conversation and the words of wisdom.
I heard you and I really was listening.