I just completed a book, In the Long-Run: A father, a Son, and Unintentional Lessons in Happiness.
I originally purchased the book because of the “running” title. It wasn’t what I expected…it was much more. In the book, Jim Axelrod discusses his relationship with his father which was at times distant. Jim discussed his desire through most of his adult life to compete with his father for his affection as well as to achieve the level of success which his father had achieved before his untimely death. This was the thought which resonated so thoroughly throughout me. It has only been recently since I have been able to let go of those thoughts and learn to be my own man, my own person.
I read quite a bit and while I will read fiction, I prefer a non-fiction title with a message. This was that book. I did a lot of introspective reflection since I completed the book. Interestingly enough I completed the book on Father’s Day.
We spent the afternoon at my parent’s home and had dinner with them. I told my wife to meet me at their home as I had planned on running the 5-mile distance to their home. These runs of 5-miles or more are the runs in which I find myself.
During the run I thought about my dad and the lessons I have learned from him. Those lessons painfully visible as I watched my dad stand, his body bent at awkward angles making it difficult to stand let alone walk. For the first time I saw my dad grimace. He looked at me and our eyes met. He saw me see his pain. He refuses to be a burden to those around him and he said, “Go ahead. I’ll be in in a minute.” I could not let him go so I waited. My dad’s made contact with my own. His eyes then shifted toward the ground. He said, “I’m learning to accept this is as good as it’s going to get.” This was accompanied by another of his favorite sayings, “It is what it is.”
I never heard my dad complain about anything. I’m sure he has, he’s only human. Perseverance is probably his most famous trait. It is this trait which sticks out in my mind. It occasionally causes me a moderate amount of difficulty as I struggle to hear words which I never heard from him. I never heard my dad say, “I can’t.”
The years to date have been good to me. I have been blessed with an excellent career as a social worker and with the ability to start my own wedding photography business. My family and I share good health. I have persevered through difficult times and never does the word “can’t” leave my lips.
I have achieved what I have because of my willingness and desire to say, “I can!”