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Making peace with father and purpose of life

Making peace with father and purpose of life

Posted by: admin - March 13, 2007
Question: Dear David, My father died last year, and after being alienated from each other for several years, I missed any chance I had to express regret. Our relationship was extremely toxic, and from my early teen years on, we were always saying hurtful things to each other. When I got word that he died, I was surprised at my reaction; sadness and guilt. I find now months later that it continues to tear at me. How do I cope with the guilt? Guilty and Sad Answer: Dear GAS, Death deeply reminds and teaches us that we the living are all, in some ways, trapped by our perceptions and perspectives. What you are dealing with is unfinished family business and the guilt is actually a “friendly” reminder that you still need to attend to this issue. The great news for you is that death does not stop you from coming to some peace with your father. Much of the material that I’ve been taught and read about forgiveness indicates that we forgive for ourselves, so I would encourage you to make a decision to forgive your father and yourself. Maybe a good place to start would be making some effort to understand why and how your father’s past behavior toward you made sense from his perspective, and why your reaction and behavior made sense from your perspective. If possible, you might talk to other family members who were observers to your family drama to gather information about him and how they viewed your relationship with him. Once you have some understanding, write your father a letter telling him everything you know now that you wish you had known then. If your father is buried close enough, you could even go and deliver the letter to his grave, read it to him, and perhaps have some ritual such as burning the letter to mark a sense of closure. Of course none of this will bring your father back, but it will provide a reminder to you through the remainder of your life of the importance of staying current in each and every relationship that is important to you. I often end my radio program with “if today were the last day of your life, and you could only make one call, who would you call and what would you say…..and why are you waiting?” Question: Dear David, If your life's purpose is not evident to you already, how do you find out what it is? Where does a sense of purpose come from? Searching Answer: Dear S, Dr. Bernie Siegel, a cancer specialist, was frustrated about the lack of success against the disease and challenged the medical establishment by looking at patients who had experienced "miracle cures" and "spontaneous remissions." Although he was ridiculed by his peers, he persevered, and developed a new way of using the patient’s own healing capability, outlined in his book, Love, Medicine and Miracles. After her thirteen-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Candy Lightner used the power of her grief and rage to found Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), to combat the problem and prevent the senseless deaths of other children. A life purpose gives you the resources to control your destiny, no matter what the force of the hardships you have incurred. Most of the world’s spiritual thinkers have said that the wisdom guiding each of us is available if we listen to our insides and trust what we hear. You may already be having some ideas but not trusting them. Perhaps when you get an idea what your "job on earth" is, you are too distrustful of yourself (“I can’t do that”) or too hopeless to believe or act on it. Your purpose may make itself clear to you in an instant flash, or gradually, as if you are following clues. However it comes, it’ll still take effort, perseverance, and experience to bring it about.
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