Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

It’s No Wonder, I Don’t Even Know Myself

“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good, oh lord, don’t let me be misunderstood.”  The Animals

It is hard to hear a criticism of yourself.  Instead of recognizing an opportunity to realize that it may be time to do a reality check of your personal inventory, it is all to easy to receive negative comments as an attack, judgement, someone has turned on you.

But what if, instead it was a wake up call to you, that you have been ignoring certain areas in your life?  After all, no one knows better what you have been up to, than you.  But someone else is missing out.  Someone else could be feeling left out, disconnected, ignored.  And when the time spent with you is increasingly during difficult times, then that becomes the focus of “you”.  And then it begins.

I had a difficult upbringing.  My early adulthood has been affected by some very poor choices.  And as a middle-aged adult, well, as grown ups, of course we end up having to deal with all kinds of serious issues.  And I have definitely seen my share of that from cancer, to heart surgery, to a life threatening infection.

Going against how I was raised, I am going to do what I have been told never to do, brag.  You know what, there has been so much good that I have experienced and done.  I have been responsible for bringing a lot of joy, comfort, and hope to so many.  I have shared lots of laughter and had lots of fun.  But depending on where your fall in my social divisions, you may not be aware of either facet of my life.  And that has a wierd and potentially bad effect.  Because I react to that.  At 46 I am still building onto my life, though today more so through my daughters.  But there is still an impact.

It seems that today, I am learning many of my adult lessons through my two young daughters.  Their questions can be amusing, humorous, hurtful, but are always sincere.  The provocation for this post, “Do you have any friends?”  To an eight year old, the definition of friend is quite easy.  Friends hang out with each other on the playground during recess.  Who will let Madison sit next to on the bus?  Friends help friends do homework.

But as an adult, all those friends we made as a child, we begin the process of saying goodbye to many of those friends in adulthood.  Hopes grow as we meet new adults who may one day be counted as friends.  Young adults will hang out after work shifts, perhaps going to clubs or bars.  Middle aged adults cannot hang with the younger friends because of childrens’ schedules.  And then there are the cliques.  Facebook has alloted me 146 friends so far, and these are people I actually know!  Clearly as adults, as the bible quotes, we put away our childish things meaning that we have to deal with more serious events in our lives.  But we also have so much to enjoy and be proud of.

So, as I visit people or they come to see me, I get asked, “How are you doing?”  Which undoubtedly, instead of just saying “good” and maybe listing something good going on, I have an awful habit instead, of telling the truth.  Job is stressful.  Certain co-workers are pissing me off.  I had yet another health scare.  Thought we were going to lose the dog this weekend.  Believe it or not, there are not really many more, but chances are pretty good, you could hear all of them.  I could not blame you if you did not want to hang out with me, or include me.  In general, I do have a lot to deal with at one time.

But I am asking you to go past that.  Do you know what I really enjoy doing?  Riding bicycles with my daughters.  Reunions.  Playing cards.  Counseling someone struggling with a difficult diagnosis.  Listening to music.  Playing Wii.  Visiting friends.  Travelling.  Having a beer with a neighbor.  Sharing a laugh.  Writing.  Watching Superhero movies.  Attending Flyer hockey games.  Swinging on my hammock.  Staring at my golden retriever.  Listening to my daughters laugh.  Remembering old times.  Being told thank you.  Helping someone in need.  Running as a candidate in a school board election (another story).  Amusement parks.  Grilling.  Hanging with friends.  Buying lunch for a friend.  Consoling someone who has suffered a loss.  There is plenty more.

There are times when I feel overwhelmed when certain situations arise.  It is easy to forget all the good things.  It is real easy to forget who I really am.  It is not the hard and struggling times that should define a person, but rather the good and pleasant.  It is no wonder and no fault of anyone that so many do not know me better.  I barely give myself the chance.

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