Underneath It All

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I drove my dad to school this morning. He is learning English in the senior center. He was dressed up as a good Russian student would and eager to socialize. When he was getting out of the car, our eyes met and I felt overflowing, all-encompassing, beyond-my-body love for my dad. I have had splashes of this feeling from time to time and it seems like new possibilities open up with each wave of love.
My dad and I haven’t had an easy history together. I grew up torn between my parents and confused, not knowing how to love them both at those times when they hated each other. If I loved them both, did that mean I was betraying the other? Did I need to choose sides?
Even when there are hard questions and deep sorrow in childhood, there is always a particular beauty. Certain freshness, genuine curiosity, and a sense of adventure are the greatest gifts childhood has to offer, and I appreciate that I still feel a strong connection to that part of me.
In our family dynamic I was often the savior and peacemaker, assessing situations with the precision of a laser micrometer and acting to smooth family tensions.
I remember two episodes that were particularly hard for me to forgive my dad for. One time my dad hit my mom and she fell on the bed like grass cut down in a field.   I was afraid she was dead, and sat on the bed, crying and shaking her, shouting “MOM!” over and over and over.  I don’t remember how long she was down (it seemed like an eternity) before she stood up, took her basket, and went to the garden to pick up berries and sing. Another time after a party at our home Dad got drunk and Mom and I went to spend the night at the neighbor’s place. My home became unsafe for me that day.
I was so angry with my mom that she continued to live with my dad and enable his behavior. I didn’t understand how they could get along for a while and then more drama would unfold again, and yet they still stayed together.
When my mom died at 63, I blamed my dad for quite some time, believing that if they had had a better relationship she would have chosen to live longer.
I have spent more time with my dad since my mom’s death, and I’ve heard more of his side of the story. And the more I revealed to my dad how I felt and the more I listened the messier our relationship got for a while until it resolved.
Somehow, somewhere underneath it all I discovered there is an eternal pool of love. When I with curiosity attempting to find the word to describe the love pool, I drop in between words and just sink deeper into the feeling of love. I sort of forget for a while what I was looking for, and instead just feel it deeply and become the love that flows out of me, through me and my lips smile, as this is all they can say.
The good news is I’m not the first or only person who has experienced this pool of love beneath a world of hurt.  And if individually we can get to this point of healing and embrace everything in love, can we do it collectively?
I imagine that underneath all of humanity’s major wounds, discrimination and wars there must be an even larger pool of love. Can we be brave enough to enter that pool? Can we be brave enough even to conceive that it is possible to step into love and create out of love– regardless of the pain that has been experienced?
I realize it takes time — and I believe as more people open up to the possibility it will become easier.
How easily can I create delightful change by loving What Is right now?
How easily can we create delightful change by loving What Is right now?

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