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If we forgive our fathers…

June 12, 2011

How do we forgive our fathers? Maybe in a dream?

Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us  too often,

Or forever when we were little?

Maybe scaring us with unexpected rage,

Or making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all?

Do we forgive our fathers for marrying,

Or not marrying our mothers?

For divorcing,

Or not divorcing our mothers?

And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?

Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning,

For shutting doors, for speaking through walls,

Or never speaking, or never being silent?

Do we forgive our fathers in our age or in theirs?

Or in their deaths, saying it to them or not saying it?

If we forgive our fathers,

What is left?

-Final Scene in Smoke Signals; screenplay by Sherman Alexie


As Father’s Day approches, I’m naturally reminded of my own father. I remember the good times. I remember growing up and how my dad knew all the answers- he knew everything. I remember running to his side as a little girl, hiding behind his leg- my daddy was the biggest and strongest of all the daddies. I remember him taking me camping, sharing his love for nature, for the wild. I remember hiking and fishing. I remember building a shed together one summer. I remember our long talks on the road, driving across the state- I remember  how everything he said was so important and I wanted to capture every word, never letting them slip from my mind. I remember football games and Christmas trees. I remember rocky beaches, searching for sea creatures. I remember working on cars and catching balls. I remember because these were good times, real times, important times.

I also remember the times that were not so good. I remember these times and I know they had impact. They impacted my choices, my mindset, my being; they still do. For, we are impacted by the good and the bad. That’s life.

I’ve been drawn to this final scene in Smoke Signals recently for the thought that my father may think he only remembers his wrongdoings. He may regret more than he feels he did right. This was never how I felt, nor ever will. As I grow older, I recognize my father’s faults- his humanity. More than something I hold against him, it brings me peace. I am allowed to make my own life separate from my father. I am allowed to make my own choices.

I wonder if fathers need to know that they are forgiven. I wonder if they don’t know. I wonder if my father doesn’t know how I feel.  I have always forgiven my father. It is not a moment- it is a continual forgiveness, it is an awareness, an understanding that love conquers pain. We have a special relationship; I am his little girl and will always be. I know, inside, the love he feels is stronger than some of the pain that was passed down.

To my father, I wish you the best Father’s Day. One that recognizes all of who you are, the good and the bad, and loves you just the same.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Debbie Brooks permalink
    June 12, 2011 17:36

    I love you both, and we all need that continual forgiveness.

  2. Peggy Fowler permalink
    June 12, 2011 18:18

    Oh, oh my. My wonderful special people.

  3. Lauren permalink
    June 13, 2011 10:20

    Thank you for sharing this, Lindsey. I love you guys, and you both are just precious.

  4. Terra Powell permalink
    June 13, 2011 11:26

    Absolutely amazing. You both inspire me and I love you SO much!

  5. June 13, 2011 21:13

    Lindsey, you are a beautiful young woman inside and out. I am so proud of you, your compassion, and genuine good heartedness. Tender blessings, mom

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