Yesterday my husband and I got little “family pictures” done. We went all over the place around where we live trying to find pretty places with lots of colors in the leaves. I found myself directing him to drive to spots that I always used to go to with my dad as a kid. It was strange…being back to these places that I associated with my father…yet my father is no longer involved in my life.
I have so many memories from those places…and I have to say most of them are good. It was refreshing and nice to have thoughts of my father that weren’t filled with uncertainty and hurt. He showed me places that were hidden treasures right next to where we lived. Places that you would have no idea existed…but were extraordinarily beautiful. There was an overlook up this windy and twisted road…that was filled with the changing leaves. An old house foundation…where the house had burnt down…but the stairs and courtyard pond made of stone were still intact. A waterfall in someone’s backyard…that looked like something out of a travel magazine. And finally…a beach off the beaten path. It was a beach that he always used to pull his boat up to…that was hidden from the elements by a break wall.
So many memories of hiking, swimming, boating, and being a kid were rushing through my head all day. Occasionally one that wasn’t so pleasant would pop into my head, but I was trying to push those out. I’m trying to see things from my father’s perspective these days. To this day he thinks my childhood was filled with butterflies and rainbows…when it was kind of anything but.
Now I don’t want to brainwash myself into forgetting the bad…because the bad makes me who I am. But at the same time…I don’t want to dwell on that. I want to dwell on the good memories…the times when he was sober…(or even if he wasn’t) the times when he was calm…and just wanted to spend time with his daughter.
It was calming in a way to go back to those places. I could remember silly things he did, and times he got me to push my limits. It was those places that I learned a lot about myself…and learned a lot about him too. Sober, my dad could have been such an amazing guy, and an amazing dad. It makes me sad to think about how lost he must have been to make the choices that he did.
But this post is supposed to be positive. Those memories are things I cling to while trying to get further in my recovery. Focusing on the negative is only going to throw me deeper into an area I’ve already spent entirely too much of my life in.
I guess I’m kind of like that house I mentioned. It burnt down to the ground and a lot of people probably wrote it off. So much garbage and dirt everywhere…it couldn’t be worth much and could just be ignored. But after time, and after all the dust cleared…there were still a few things left that could be salvaged and turned into something beautiful. The courtyard with the stone encased pond…with lily pads and little frogs. The edges of the house made of beautiful pieces of stone and brick rising up behind bushes and hidden between the trees. And the random stairs tossed randomly through the area. Doesn’t look like much…but it could be turned into something absolutely beautiful. It might never be, because it’s been ignored with so much focus being put on the negatives. But if you looked at the bright side, and the beauty that’s left in it, it could be built into another beautiful home. After all, they do say ash is a good fertilizer. Must be God’s natural hint to us that wonderful things can come from total disaster.
So I’m going back to my foundation. Something that doesn’t look like much at the time…but could be turned into something beautiful if I put in enough hard work.