forgiveness-bridges-the-gap

In reviewing the week 7 lessons, it reminded me of a story I heard years ago.  It was at a time I was reading and listening to the teachings of Dr. Robert Schuller the Power of Positive Thinking.  It helped me in placing some family history and a decision that was made by my father in its proper place.  He had a difficult life.  It was years before we decided he probably suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It was not known at the time, but his decision to exclude himself from our family life when we were young as he did drink in access, and then the decision to end his life that affected us as children.  We were blessed with a strong mother that raised us and took care of us despite his failings.  For the longest time his decisions and the impact on our life did follow us into adulthood, and it did me as well as my siblings.  That was until I heard this story by Dr. Schuller.

There were two brothers.  They grew up in a family of dysfunction, a father that drank and was abusive.  The father was a single parent with these two boys.  It is a story we hear all to often in the society of today.  The two boys grew to adulthood.  One became a drug addict and live a life on the streets and getting the money he needed in whatever way he could.  He isolated himself from his brother who lived a life of hard work and success.  He had a loving family and did well in his business raising his family with his wife.  He tried to help his brother when he could but no effort to help made a difference.  It came to a time that he had to make the decision give up on his brother and focus on his family.  Without his brother’s efforts to help himself he had to accept that he could not help him.  It came to a point of crisis and the brothers were brought together again.  In the process of interview by social workeres there was a question asked as to why the brother that chose the path of self destruction took this path.  He answer was, ‘With a father such as I had and the childhood of neglect we grew up in what choice did I have.  I didn’t stand a chance in life and I am like my father.’  The same question was asked of the brother that tried to help and who lived a better life with love and family.  His answer was. ‘With a father such as I had and a childhood of neglect we were raised in, what choice did I have?  I did not want to be like my father.  I choose a better life.  I have my family and love them deeply.  I choose that over what we grew up in.’

At the point of hearing that story I no longer dwelled on the fact that my father took his life.  It was a situation of dispair for him and I do grieve for him as I saw this as his only option, but it was his choice, not mine.  It is not mine to carry into the future.  It is part of me as I never did get to know him but it is something that has made me make choices.  As we make these choices in life we decide if we want to be victims or victors.  I choose victory.

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