Thursday, February 5, 2015
Michael flipped though his family album on a daily basis; but avoided pictures of his father. There were many “happy” pictures that needed to be avoided: pictures of dad lifting him above the breaking ocean waves when he was a tot; pictures of dad making funny faces to illicit a smile from his new-born son’s face; pictures of father and son camping together; shoveling snow together; having barbecues together – but what Michael avoided more than anything else were pictures of his parents together.
Michael always knew that there was something different about his father’s “love.” He knew that most of his friends had relationships with their father’s that were warmer, more trusting and where they spent more time together. But like all children with love-crippled parents, Michael needed to deny his father’s impairment. These children know deep down that despite how pathetic their parents are, that they still need them to survive (at least for that time). It was far safer for Michael to repress what he knew about his father. This “compromise solution” worked better for Michael than open warfare with an opponent that he couldn’t defeat or running away before he could survive on his own.
Michael’s hatred of his father had been counterbalanced, throughout the years, by his mother. At times, mom called dad the most honest man that she ever met; a man of integrity; a man who was consummately loyal to her and to his family. There were others time, though, that mom fell into parentalizing her son by telling him that dad didn’t know how to love, and that he didn’t have the feelings of a normal person.
Michael identified more with his mother than his father. He didn’t want to be anything like his father because he didn’t respect him. A voice in his mind told him: “you can’t trust this man.” Little did he know, but that voice was preparing Michael for the day when the severity of his father’s coldness would be openly revealed.
After the passing of Michael’s beloved mother, G-d brought His plan for Michael into clearer focus. Dad remarried and started a “new life,” and turned his back on his first wife and her children. Michael and his siblings were cut off. There were changes to his father’s will and other changes enacted at the time which I can’t go into here - suffice it to say that G-d orphaned Michael – and as you’ll soon see, He did it for good reasons.
Michael stopped hoping that there was more to his pitiful father than there was and turned to G-d. By speaking with G-d, G-d helped Michael turn his life-long feelings of abandonment and betrayal by his father into their opposite – love and forgiveness of his father (something that Michael knew that his mother would want). Michael understood that G-d no longer wanted him to take anything from his father even if it was offered. So Michael started giving to his father selflessly with no strings attached. Michael showed his father what his father had never been able to do for his children - to love them unconditionally.
Who said you can’t “teach an old dog new tricks?” Even at the age of 90, G-d began working on Michael’s father to help him see the errors of his ways...continue here...
By Rabbi Lazer Brody - The Super-Motivated
Have a great Shabbos dear friends,
Dr. Zev Ballen
Dr. Zev Ballen