He wasn’t a big fan of his birthday, but he sure enjoyed celebrating life. He was the first to turn on some music, call friends and family to join him, and cook something up to share with all his loved ones. I’ve never met someone who enjoyed having a house full of friends and family more than he did. Some people stress out about having guests. They worry about what to feed them, how to entertain them, having enough room for everyone, ensuring they have a good time. He wasn’t one of those people.
He was the epitome of the phrase, “the more the merrier” and never met someone he wouldn’t welcome into the fold. Friends of family members, friends of friends, family of friends, all were included from the moment he shook their hand. The truth is, I think he took great pleasure in making others happy. He would rather create music, than have it played for him. He would rather spend hours in the kitchen to provide a meal for others, than sit down and savor his own creation.
He was stubborn and opinionated when he didn’t see eye to eye with someone, but after a heated debate he would pour them a drink, pat them on the back and share a joke, which invited laughter and released the tension. His friends and family always knew where he stood on any given topic. There’s something comforting about that. I think it’s why they often sought advice from him. When I see such animosity among opposing political views, religious affiliations, the right way to parent, what sports to support, and what companies to boycott, I think about him. He was known to debate his stance until he was red in the face and his blood pressure went through the roof. However, he also listened to the other side and never shunned someone who didn’t agree with him. Actually, it seemed to be the opposite. At the end of the discussion, he would agree to disagree, then quickly made it a point to make everyone in the room comfortable once more.
I learned so much from him, and strive to be as good a person as he was, as open to others’ differences even when I don’t understand them. I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t notice someone’s clothes, the car they drive, the house they call home, the political button they’ve pinned on their clothing, the place they go to worship. I want to open my door, and share a pot of coffee at my kitchen table with those who have the same point of view as I do and those who have a much different history than mine. I want to learn from them, agree to disagree, and go back to laughing until our bellies hurt because we have the same sense of humor.
We all have our story. Our once upon a time may not look the same. Our chapters may consist of a very different cast of characters. Our endings will surely not be identical. However, we can endeavor to support each other from one chapter to the next. It’s not coincidence our stories have become one even if only for a single chapter. Our ending will come all too soon, whether we’re ready or not. And, once the final page is turned and the book closed, we don’t get to start from the beginning and rewrite our story the way we wish it had gone. Live each chapter with love. It will make for a much better ending.
Happy Birthday to my dad in heaven, the man who inspired this post, and continues to inspire my story.
“What do you want your family story to be?”
— littlemisswordy (@LittleMizWordy) September 10, 2018