Thursday, July 14, 2011

Letter to Dad

Dear Dad,

I wanted to write this about you but not necessarily to you. Please know that if you ever read this letter, I was trying to better understand you and that is why I wrote this. I do not require a response as I'm sure how I see you will continue to evolve. It is my desire to understand you better, both the good and bad in you. So this is my attempt.

The evidence first. You were the youngest in a family that was inactive. That family became active through, I would be willing to bet, much of your effort. You had a hand in getting your parents sealed in the temple. You went on a mission and came back to marry two years later. You had kids and stayed married to that woman for many years, and still are married to her. You have held countless jobs and have gone back to school to improve your education and job opportunities. I have watched you build businesses one after another. In my eyes, your resume is impressive. But I realize that I do not know the full story of this aspect of your life. I only know that day after day and year after year you would come home frustrated and tired at everything in your life. In church you have held many callings from Nursery teacher to High Councilman.

Each of your children has disappointed you in some way or another. Your oldest divorced his first wife, remarried a woman with no interest in religion, and has long since lost interest in organized religion. Your only daughter has had a history of trouble that has left your wife crying late into the night and deepened your own frustrations. Your youngest never achieved his full athletic talent in your eyes and declined to serve a mission. Then there is me: an atheistic, openly gay, voting Democrat, and liberally-minded son. I may be the biggest "failure" in your eyes but I think that is only because I'm the latest one to show that I do not agree 100% with everything you wanted me to do in life.

I have reached a conclusion about you. I have listened to you talk about groups, political movements, and businesses opportunities and collaborations that would make you something more than you are. As I have listened I have watched you talk with a zeal and longing to belong to these movements. To be apart of something bigger than yourself. In all that I have heard, seen, and learned about you it seems like you feel lost. Do you see your life as a long series of failures stretching from your career to your family? I know you regret never having served in Vietnam and that you wish you had been born earlier enough to have fought during World War Two. So I would guess (and perhaps I'm wrong) that you are frustrated with where you are at. Everything you have accomplished and sought seems to have been in one long journey to find something to give your everything to.

Am I wrong? I cannot help but think that I am very near correct in this latest view of you: a man that has accomplished much but feels he should be apart of something bigger than he is. I do not know the full depth of your life as you have chosen to keep much of it from me and I respect that. Just know that I would love and accept you for all that you are: strengths and supposed faults. After all, you are my father. You are someone that I still look up to and admire despite the pain of these past few weeks.

There are things that I am considering, Dad. Things that may tear us apart ultimately. I feel, though, that in order to help heal myself and improve me, I must make some very difficult choices over the course of this next year. So, with this new view of you in my head, I will try to be sensitive to your needs but at the same time I can't wait anymore for you to reach where I'm at.

Your Son

P.S. A video you would enjoy