This I Believe



I believe in forgiveness.

There are many individuals in this world that for lack of a better term fit under the character description of “toxic”. One does not generally assume that that individual may be one of the most significant influences in a child’s life; a parent, a father, and one of the most toxic influences on the life that I call my own.

I had never met my father under any means of sobriety because he fell victim to a heartless disease named “alcoholism” shortly after I was born. Some say it’s in part because my father’s heart was too big and his mind was too vast. Some say it’s because he’ll never live down missing his flight on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001: Did you know the individual who took his seat lost their life that day? He sure does. Some say it’s because he wanted to provide more than he could for the family that he created. I say that all of these events were circumstantial, but for a man whose brain never stops wandering, alcohol was ultimately the cure.

This disease rotted away the remains of the bright and young individual that my mother had fallen in love with, an individual that companies practically fought for in terms of hiring, an individual that brought three small children into a world in which they would grow and become successful. Whatever happened to the valedictorian of the class in which he graduated? Oh wait, that’s him.

I have felt all of the existing emotions for the man that I call my father because the road that him and I have traveled on throughout my lifetime has been nothing less than rocky. Him and I hit a boulder a few years back, and this ultimately lead me to an emotion far worse than any that his sober self could have asked for: nothing. Absolutely nothing. I felt nothing for the man that was supposed to be my role model. I felt nothing for the man that had caused me so much pain at such a young age. I felt nothing for my father.

That feeling of “nothing” shook me to my very core as he would end up on his deathbed every year or so or enter and exit rehabilitation centers. I tended to called him my “null model” or the individual that showed me who I did not want to be.

Though I found over the course of those several years that there was an emotion that I had been burying in the back of mind, too far out of my peripheral to acknowledge until one day I was hit from behind and out popped “forgiveness”.

I believe in forgiveness out of the sheer fact that he is a human being who was born with a disease that creates a shell of a man. He did not ask for it. Once separating the disease from the man behind it, I began to realize how truly loving this individual was; he had too big of a heart and too vast of a mind. The vastness had been filled with the darkness that controlled every aspect of my father’s life.

I believe in forgiveness because giving up on someone in one of their most desperate times of a need is not something that I as an individual stand for nor tolerate. My father, as hard as it may be to admit, only wants the best for his family and the individuals in his life, so it is my turn to want what is best for him.

A year of sobriety has never looked so good on someone.

I am meeting my father for the first time, sober, and I could not be more focused on any other feeling than that of forgiveness. I believe in second chances. I believe in the good. I believe in forgiveness.

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