05 Oct Getting close to my dad before it is too late
Happy father on his way to Fågelskär!
My dad and I have a fairly straightforward relationship. He has basically let me handle my life and treated me as an adult since I was 18 years old. Sure, he has tried to influence me to safely stay at home in Stockholm instead of discovering the world, sure, he can be self-centered and sure he can get on my nerves sometimes. It also happens that I show a lack of patience, appreciation and respect for my father. But on the whole I think Dad is open, emotionally and especially to logical reasoning. We don’t have a hard time to get along, we reach one another.
Since I left the promising career and normal life, all my relationships are being reshaped. Some go deeper – others disappear. Daddy has, like many parents whose children test some for the parents unfamiliar area, been worried and skeptical about my spiritual journey that now is my life. But recently he has become more curious and that was the reason I now planned a whole day with him on the West Coast. An opportunity to rediscover parts of our relationship that have been forgotten since childhood and maybe go deeper into other dimensions.
We took the boat out to Fågelskär, dad’s favorite island outside Käringön. There is a cliff facing south overlooking Måseskär with its 1800-century lighthouse and a glittering sea where fish and birds are playing in the waves. We sat there in the sun for hours and talked about my father’s childhood, his friends, our family, my new direction in life and our relationship. I had decided not to interrupt, not pointing out that I already had heard what he said or somehow disrupt the flow between us. It was a very nice day and we really listened to each other. We agreed that we were brothers in life. I noted that I regained the feeling of that positive and trustworthy father figure. The image of a father being experienced, confident and well meaning. In some ways I feel more insightful than my dad, but he still sees my shortcomings and I realized that this is an asset. If I listen more to him, I can grow as a man. As I sat there and looked at him in the sun on that cliff by the sea, I got a beautiful, intuitive glimpse of an ancient tradition. Through the millennia father and son have had similar intimate conversation about life. It was a father who symbolized the timeless masculine wisdom and shared to the younger son. The moment that felt holy in a way.
Humor is a key ingredient in most relationships and during this day, I began to rediscover how funny my father can be. I have not fully appreciated it for some time. For instance we were about to share a banana for dessert and he started gobbling up. When I glanced at him in the corner of my eye, I noticed that there probably was only one tiny bite left. “I would love to have a little banana,” I said half-ironic. “You can get it all”, he replied instantly and gave me the banana with a fiendish smile – or the little bite that was left. Bang, just like that! You can not do other than laugh about it, it was instant stand up comedy. He was also very fond of me appreciating his advice and humor more than usual. It was great to be able to give dad this day and he also listened attentively to what is happening in my life. We got a deeper understanding of each other and because my father is getting older, it feels good to be able to get closer. The day became a memory that I will carry for the rest of my life.