“…But I’m the victim | In the bitter end | I know you need me to be strong | I just don’t know how much longer I can pretend || You always need me to be | A good man in a storm ||” ~ Level 42
Yeah, cheesiest song I’ve listened to in at least a decade, but the lyrics fit so I had to look it up. I know I talk about women a bunch, but I do think it is worthwhile to talk about men and why my father is my hero in many ways.
Close your eyes and picture the captain of a pirate ship taking a sailor under his wing and teaching him. He’s a pirate so he is a stoic and cold man, but he is “The Dread Pirate Roberts,” a man so fierce and vicious that people surrender at his mere mention. In many ways, that is my father. I can remember the few things he’s actually sat down and tried to teach me directly, but it has taken much longer to digest the other lessons. And though I treasure the great patience and effort it took a man of his character to sit down and intentionally teach anything, the other lessons are far more important.
My father is a good man in a storm. I am not much of a boatswain or even a sailor, most of this is artistic license and if you have facts that may make me wish to rephrase, please offer them up. Ships weather storms quite well out at sea, as long as you have a good man at the helm. Weathering a storm is not about standing your ground or falling back. Weathering a storm is about seeing what is coming. Weathering a storm is about knowing where you are. Weathering a storm is about taking what is being thrown at you and adapting.
More than all that, weathering a storm is about refusing to die in any way other than your own. I saw The Life of Pi.
My father will not lie down. He will not give up. He may change course and never make it to where he originally planned, but he will choose where he goes. He will not let anything that is thrown at him drag him down. He will not let the fact that he can’t see the end of the storm make him for a moment question that the storm will end. He has a heroic resilience that I have never seen the match of.
This is not something he could have set me down and taught me and it is far more valuable than anything he could have taught me through the best intentions.
There are more lessons he has yet to teach. Lessons I have seen the outline of but cannot yet grasp. I learn more from the man every day. The next lesson that I can describe but not yet integrate into my thinking is this. No matter how calm the sea is right now, he can see the next storm brewing. That much I get and I do it all the time. The lesson I need to learn and can’t help but marvel watching every day is the courage with which he ignores it.
I know that I too, am a good man in a storm. I cannot wait until I learn not to worry about tomorrow’s storm today. I can see right through the storm when it breaks and take everything in stride without a single thought as to the pain and losses. I can forge a steady course through crisis and seem cold and unwavering like a skyscraper bobbing up and down in a stormy ocean, yet never moving. I am trying to learn to be that fixture in still waters, ready to face the next catastrophe but basking in the sun in the interim.