A few weeks ago some one left a disparaging comment on the blog, albeit it in a backhanded compliment way that kind of made me go, “uh, what?”
It’s not the first time someone has mocked me online or taken issue with my thoughts, words, or beliefs. And it won’t be the last time. While the internet has given me more than a few buddies with which to discuss cereal, football, Star Wars, and any number of my interests, it’s also left me with quite a few less-than-friendly encounters.
It’s kind of pathetic when I think that I allow some of these exchanges to effect me and my real life mood, but I’d be lying if I said I just shrug it all off. And as much as random commenters who spend every waking minute of their lives thinking about what goes on online may say, “don’t be so sensitive,” I’m willing to bet they, too, are bothered by fly-by insults. It’s like some one once said, “misery loves company,” and in my experience, the motivation behind such comments is often proportional to how comfortable (or should I say) uncomfortable some one is in their own position or beliefs. That, or how bored they are online at work.
Take those quick thoughts or leave them, because I’m not dwelling on them today. I use them to preface an exchange I had with my father a few weeks ago. Unsurprisingly, it comes just as Father’s Day approaches. And they say God has a horrible sense of timing…
Anyways, I’ve written about my father’s health quite a bit over the past few months. I’m happy to say it has improved, in no small part to the tremendous outpouring of support my he and my family have received. From commenters here on the blog to friends he hadn’t heard from in years, prayers and words of encouragement have been coming in like letters to Santa, and the show of good will was something I don’t think he even expected. Watching him during these past few months has sometimes been a struggle, but it’s also been a privilege. I’ve seen him embrace a new lease on life, and I’ve seen that good exists in every corner of our lives when we just allow ourselves to be open to it.
That hasn’t been all I’ve seen though.
I have to be honest. I don’t know if, before this entire experience of my dad’s spinal surgery and current rehabilitation, I ever truly admired him. I suppose I always respected the life he created our family and of course I loved him unconditionally, but I never really “looked up” to him. Just as I tend to see my own faults, I played the cynic and would see his faults and shortcomings, and magnified them to an unreasonable extent. The past few months haven’t been like that. In that time, I’ve seen him go from immobile and docile to always up and about and determined. I’ve seen him exercise – each and every day — in a way I never saw before. I’ve seen him laugh at dumb sitcoms. I’ve seen him smile at a Baltimore Orioles win. I’ve even seen him — felt him — hug me in pride. Through it all, he just refuses to accept the setbacks he has and continues to suffer, and knowing how hard he has worked to this point, I can’t imagine anything derailing him from his goal.
That goal is to be is the happiest and healthiest person he can possibly be.
It’s amazing, because he’s already a pretty happy guy. A damn happy guy, compared to me anyways. Nothing fazes my dad, and it has taken this entire experience to show me that. I’ve always wondered how he can stay so even keel while watching the news, or how he has been able to weather the financial crisis in the “don’t worry, it will be all right” mood he adopts. Heck, I’ve always wondered how the man has been able to keep his sanity as a lifelong Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Watching his beloved NFL team lose four Super Bowls could not have been easy. Watching them lose four straight? Well, good thing I was only a munchkin, because I would have thrown myself off a bridge if I knew how crappy that was.
In all seriousness, my dad has an iron will to be happy, and to let nothing stand in his way. When I get malicious comments on this blog and get down on myself in life, he’ll be the first to notice and ask me what’s wrong. I used to just ignore him, but as I started opening up more to him, I tried explaining. His answer was usually not what I wanted. “Stop blogging then,” he’d tell me.
Psh, like that was an option! Inevitably, we’ll argue, and inevitably, he’ll come back to the same advice. It may sound trite, but each and everyday, as I watch my dad, my hero, strive for happiness, I’m finding it more applicable.
“Do what makes you happy.”
I believe God gives us everything we need to achieve this and to put the puzzle of our happiness together. For too long I’ve been shoving pieces into the wrong slots, ignoring the advice of some one who has put this puzzle together before, only to see it taken a part. Yet as that man, my hero, puts it back together, he inspires me by showing that if I just slow down, and put the pieces of happiness together one at a time, I can complete the puzzle too.
I know what those pieces are. God. Family. Sports. Good food, a productive and challenging job, and some time spent jogging around the Naval Academy on a warm summer afternoon (followed, of course, by a bowl of Cocoa Puffs). Somewhere in there is blogging. Maybe. But I’ll never know if I don’t stop shoving it in somewhere it does not belong.
I don’t know what the future holds for this blog. But if there are stretches where I don’t post, or weeks where I give it up, know that there’s a reason. I’m doing what makes me happy, and finally following the advice of the man I’m proud to call my hero.
Happy Father’s Day Everyone.