Sunday, September 4, 2011
The Father's Day visit.
While my kids played in the huge child friendly backyard my dad and I were able to have an extended and relatively uninterrupted talk. Things often wandered into religious territory and I think we covered a lot of ground. Ever since I broke the news to him that I had left the church (nearly 2 years ago now) I have been free to say whatever is on my mind. He does not get offended. He doesn't get mad or cry or tell me to stop talking. He listens. He argues his points. I listen. I argue my points.
Then life goes on. The kids and I pack up and head home. He farewells us and goes back to his life. No harm, no foul. It is more than that though. It is actually enjoyable and cathartic to be able to talk freely and openly about things that other people are not brave enough to tackle.
The conversation is necessary in order to understand one another. It is necessary if you want to be able to live authentically. It allows each person speak their truth and to discover that no one self implodes from the attempt nor does the world come to an end. The two of you are still left standing there with lives to go and live, decisions to be made and thoughts to be had.
I am lucky that he is this way. Many ex-Mo's don't have it so lucky. I have read many accounts of ex-Mo friends being shunned, silenced, even disowned by their family and friends. I have experienced those types of responses to some extent but on the whole I think I have had it pretty easy.
We ought to all be able to speak our minds, especially with our family and friends. We all have thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams and they need to be heard.
Debate, converse, share, disagree, agree, have dialogue!
All that anyone ever really wants from another person is to be heard, really heard. Then the differences in opinion don't seem to be separated by giant chasms but instead you see the many overlaps and intersecting ideas and how often you really are arguing from the same side of a problem but just misunderstanding where the other really stands on the point.
Whatever my childhood was, whatever differences in opinion my father and I have I am very grateful that he will always talk about things and does not shut down the lines of communication.