I was able to accept him as wise yet still human. I found myself releasing him from my expectations of perfection. I started to see the value of choices I had not understood and I was able to start appreciating the real gifts he had given me as a child.
More than anyone else in my life I believe my father taught me to value an open and questioning mind. I learned from him never to take the word of another as ultimate fact. I learned what a truly scientific mind works like. It asks questions and even when given an answer it continues to query that answer. Within every fact imposed by science and society there is a hidden doorway into greater possibilities. But in order to find that door and open it we must be prepared to leave behind the restrictions imposed by the fact.
I learned by observation and contrast that most people shun the hidden doorways; they marvel at the potential imposed in those anomalies but refuse to get too close. They like their limited perspectives.
My father introduced me to the paranormal, not as something to be shunned, as the world at large seemed to in those years, but rather as something to be embraced, to be understood, to be looked into for greater understanding. He never hesitated to bring home controversial information whether it was scientific, social or spiritual. He was always fascinated by those hidden doorways, and in time he imbued me with that same curiosity.
And always, the places most important to look at were the places our leaders wanted to deny. You see one of the things an open mind discovers is the very small number of rules existing with no exceptions. When I was young this open minded approach was difficult, particularly in light of the fact that I was difficult. Often my teachers reported that I seemed to follow a different rhythm; I marched to a different drum.
Again I was able to turn to the example of my father. He was able to walk a different path while fitting in to the rules. My father also gave me the example of capability. I don’t ever recall him saying he couldn’t do a thing while I often saw him doing things he had never done before. When I was still quite young my father got together with several of his colleagues to build a fleet of sailboats that I then grew up racing and playing on through my summers. This was a couple years after having built the family a camper that our family traveled extensively in.
All of this taught me to be willing to take risks for what I believed in then, and believe in today. I learned from him to stay the course when challenges came up and I learned from him not to judge people. Our house was always open to the most diverse of people from Asian exchange students to local fortune tellers; there was always some one who could show us a different way of looking at the world.
My father taught me to appreciate the people like him in my life. And today I get to say Happy Birthday Dad.
As I say this I recognize just how much of this litany holds value for every person out there. We all have had people in our lives who were capable of teaching us so much if we would only let them. Do we recognize them, give them credit, honour them? We do our best, yet in order to do justice we must be able to see the gifts with the faults. The faults must be there for us to see our own abilities; for us to develop and follow a vision for ourselves. If these wonderful people in our lives were perfect we would be unable to see the way to our own perfection. Because of their imperfections they light our way always to a greater experience.
We often see people from a limiting perspective of the flesh and bones standing before us. Yet people are so much more. Every person is a depth and breadth of passion that makes the physical shell truly insignificant. And often it is that flaw in the shell, ‘that thing’ about them we really dislike which is the doorway to the wonderful relationship they can be in our lives. Even more often the thing we don’t like in them, when we get down to letting it go, turns out to be our own hurt and intolerance, our own judgments and expectations. When we let go of our opinions for the sake of love and friendship we are always the greatest beneficiaries.
So if you are seeing the flaws in someone close to you maybe its time to change your focus. Maybe just allow those flaws and start noticing more all the things you really appreciate. I am sure you will ultimately find yourself to be the greatest beneficiary of your broadened perspectives.