Something amazing happens when you can discover what moves the heart.
Oh, how I wish I could resurrect my dad and tell him how much I love him. I would hug his neck like a little boy and hold on to him for dear life trying to make up for all the years that I missed out on with him. I was too caught up in… whatever it was, everything else.
Now all I can do is hope that I get to see his face again one day in another world and sit down to catch up on everything over coffee; or some scotch, which is something he enjoyed. But, I could never authentically wrap my taste buds around it. But I did it because it was a man-to-man moment when I could sit down and have some scotch with my dad!
He was one of the most generous, warm-hearted of men you could meet, but at the same time, a brick wall when he meant business and very stern. I loved sharing good times with him, but he had this stare that could make every bone in my body break if I were ever in trouble.
He was a retired lieutenant commander of the U.S. Navy, played the bagpipes, very well rounded, and sharp as an arrow. Seriously, he would win on the game show Jeopardy. He was incredibly brilliant!
The last memory of him and I together were of us installing a light fixture in the den of his home, and just before that we were having a couple beers watching a Jamaican band at a restaurant, and people were dancing.
He has taught me so much about life and love. Though we never actually said “I love you” for some reason. It was said in many other ways. The love of a father for his child is something you can’t put into words.
The best way to describe it is to watch it in action. I found out what this meant when I had my children realizing that just watching them sleep, my eyes would well up with this immense love. When that happened, I knew right then what my dad felt when he looked at me.
I can remember as a kid opening Christmas presents with the family. My siblings and I would open ours, as would my mom and dad.
Mom and dad didn’t open many presents, and it didn’t hit me until later in life why that was so; why they never received as many Christmas presents as we did.
I remember when I was young asking my dad what he wanted for Christmas, and he was always very humble about that response. Basically, what it all boiled down to was that he got his joy just watching us open our presents.
That was his greatest gift; the gift that he gave us. I’m tearing up as I write this, but watching us open our gifts brought him all the joy he needed.
I can put this analogy on so many levels but at the end of the day, this simple notion in life helps me realize one thing. I find my purpose and ultimate gift in life when the dreams of those I love are realized. Everything I do is so that can happen.
That is my dream, and it’s where I will always find my joy by sharing in other’s joy.
Evidently that was my dad’s dream as well. A person could be mute for their entire life, but that one act screams “I love you” in the most powerful way.
It’s a lesson for all of us. Our actions speak louder than words. What we do is so loud that people can’t hear what we’re saying. I can tell you all day to be humble of heart, but if I’m not that way, I think you’ll respond more to me not being that way because it’s my action.
This lesson bleeds into everything I do, including my business. I get more joy out of seeing one of my clients succeed than I do for myself. It’s a beautiful thing, and I contribute that valuable lesson to my dad.
I love you, dad. Thank you for everything.
Photo: Flickr/ Jed Sullivan
Would you like to help us shatter stereotypes about men? Receive stories from The Good Men Project, delivered to your inbox daily or weekly.