A week ago from today was Father’s day, a day that each year I either ignored or just had ambiguous feelings toward. About 23 years ago, I lost the meaning of father’s day, my dad. Now, no matter how or when thoughts of my dad rush into my mind when I’m reminded of my father and what I’ve missed out on, I always end with the hopeful thoughts of how my family and community came together in support of my mother and I. Although, having been so young and no recollection of exact examples of what may have occurred after my father’s death, but I imagine kindness in many forms from those around us.
“We find our humanity — our will to live and our ability to love — in our connections to one another. Just as individuals can find post-traumatic growth and become stronger, so can communities. You never know when your community will need to call on that strength, but you can be sure that someday it will.” – Option B, pg 141.
Last Monday, the day after Father’s day, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Robinson, an old friend of my dad. Mr. Robinson had contacted me through Facebook over a year earlier, but it was till now that we had a chance to meet in Vancouver. He’s one of my dad’s closest friends in high school and he wanted to show me some photos of my dad from the early 70’s. We sat in a White Spot restaurant that morning; him, my mom, and I. Over the course of the meal he shared about my dad in his teenage years and about the summer of ’71, when they cycled over 1000km through the Canadian Rockies. Looking at the old 2 by 2 polaroid photos from 70’s, I could hardly make out details of my dad’s face except that my dad was the only asian figure amongst the group. Thus, I thought, “I really do not know my father.” The dad I know will forever be the skinny, round faced, large rimmed glasses wearing, starting to bald, caring, and goofy dad from my toddler days. My view of my dad became clouded, all of a sudden my vision of home became mysterious. I wanted to know more. Who was he and who would he be now? But, to imagine if he were to be alive today at the age of 63/64, how would that look like? More importantly, who would he be?
It was what Mr. Robinson had said about my dad that gave me comfort. He said that my dad was caring and most loyal, I don’t doubt that they had many moments where young teens find themselves in great trouble and near death because they had done many risky things back then. But, the word “Loyal” stuck with me. It comforted me to know that was who dad was, the lines of his character became a little clearer with that one word, “loyal.” Especially since, at that point in his life he had not fully committed his life to God. From the days that Mr. Robinson to the days that I can barely remember, I try to piece together the change that occurred in my dad’s heart and character. To become the man my mom married from the wilder risk-taking teen he was to being my dad. Piece by piece, not those of a puzzle that fit perfectly, but of broken china, coming together in my mind, somewhat imperfectly. I can see a form of what my dad was.
It is the short stories and snippets from those who knew my dad that allow me to see a little more of who he was. Slight restoration, but a shadow of the former.
As life it self is in an individual, like a the light emitted from a bulb. It shines in ways creating both with tangible warmth and intangible shadows. But the source of life and its meaning is from its connections, just as there is a current of electrons flowing through connections, which powers a bulb. For this I’m thankful and blessed to know that Mr. Robinson and I are connected, maybe not in the same way my dad and him once were, through their conversations on their camping trips in nature, but I am connected to him as a brother in Christ.
I found a bit of my humanity through our conversation that day. I’m sure that for Mr. Robinson, remembering a dear friend and talking with that friend’s son helped him feel a little more human too. From this we all draw strength to carry forward.
Happy Father’s Day.