Fear and faith cannot coexist. You are living in the moment with one of them or the other. Some of life’s greatest experiences come when we decide to face our fears and proceed forward.
When I was 20 years old, my father and I had our final confrontation. I was home from college for an evening having a brief conversation with my mother. Something (I have no idea what) made my father angry at me. My father became irrational when he was angry, and this was no exception. He walked into the room where my mother and I were sitting, walked over to the fireplace and picked up an iron poker. Holding the poker as a weapon, my dad said, “I oughta knock the hell out of you.” I stood up, looked him square in the eyes and said, “If you do, you better kill me because if you don’t, I will kill you.” My father held my gaze. In my mind, I was readying myself to dodge a fireplace poker and then who knew what would happen. I was fully prepared to follow through on what I said. All of the years of cruelty, stuffing my feelings, the rage and anger bubbled to the top. Yet, I had an eerie calm about me. Fortunately, my father threw the poker to the ground and stomped out of the room. He never confronted me again. The bully had been silenced.
As freeing as that moment was for me, it sealed the deal that my father and I would never have anything better than a broken relationship. I’m grateful the situation didn’t escalate. Yet the damage of twenty years of conflict wasn’t cured. That came years later. Only through actively practicing gratitude was I able to fully forgive my father years after his death.
In my travels, through my talks, and from feedback I have received from people who have read my book (“Killing My Father Then Finding Him”) I learned there are many people living with unresolved conflict. I encourage everyone to take the brave step forward to get healed. Seek out a good psychotherapist. Practice gratitude every day. Live fully again. Have faith you can live freely. Face your fears. Face them until you make it…