When I first began this blog, I wasn’t really sure where I wanted it to go. I began the first post with a message about what my Grandfather taught me. I began it that way, because I want my life to be like I envisioned his life. I learned a lot from him. In an odd sort of way I wanted to write it down so that somebody else might share in the experiences I had modeled for me. I can’t lie and say the thought of one of my kids some day reading this bothered me in the slightest.
As it’s gone on, the purpose has kind of morphed into a history of my experiences as a dad. It’s weird because I hope that some day a kid of mine, a friend, or even a random acquaintance will think of me in the same light I think of my grandfather.
With all of that said, it’s been almost a year since I wrote my first post. I, as the writer, am still not sure to whom or to what I refer to as “the life well lived.” I think of my grandfather as having had a good life, but I suspect it’s because I remember only the good. I remember the conversations, the walks through the toy stores, and the little things he would try to do to make my grandmother happy. I remember the satisfied snore he would have in his recliner once we had all finished a family dinner knowing his loved one surrounded him. His was my model for the life well lived.
Most of the time I think of my own life as “well lived” despite swaths of time I would just assume forget. I think with the exception of beginning to be a parent this past year, I would just assume hit the fast forward button on my memory for most of this past year. As I said in my first post though, the life well lived is probably not all roses and sunshine. The rain and clouds are welcome too…in the long run and not at the time of the storms. Overall though, I’m incredibly lucky. Most of the big things in my life go better than OK. Maybe writing some of the good things down in this blog is just a way I can remember them looking back if only to remind myself the run thus far has been fairly well run.
Most of the time when I think of this blog, it’s in relation to my kids and what I hope for them. I think most of us wish for our kids to do as well or better than we have done. Who knows what I’ll remember or have a chance to say to them? Heck, there are things I think to say to my wife, but the time rarely seems right and the sentiments are lost to time. In writing, the words are there to be remembered whenever they may apply.
The night after my grandfather’s funeral, I had a dream. I was walking along side him down a corridor, and he was holding a torch by which it seemed we could see a long way. After talking for a while (about what I never remembered), he turned to me and handed me the torch saying to carry it onward and hold it high for others to see. Light any other torches you see. I woke thinking the torch was a metaphor for doing the right thing and helping others where I could. To this day, I sometimes wonder if the dream was just the result of the high fever I had at the time, the stress of burying my grandfather whom I adored, or him trying to have one last talk. Over time though, I came to realize that it doesn’t matter. It could be any or all of those things. It doesn’t change that I’ve been happiest doing those things that feel “right.” I hope doing those things would make or is making my grandfather proud.
I’ve had people say things like “I could never do that” or “you will be so blessed” for fostering sick kids. All I can say is it makes me happy now. It gets me up out of bed when all I want is to do is pretend the world will go away if I just put the pillow over my head and roll over. A sense of purpose is an amazing thing. I hope some day my kids will realize what a gift they’ve given me.
I guess my real definition for the life well lived is the one where my family keeps the torch and takes it to light their own way so as to better see where the corridor leads. The really good life will be if I’m there to see it with them. Heck, maybe they’ll drop the torch less often than I have.