For as long as I can remember my dad has never had someone that he could have considered a friend. He’s an introverted man, a man who likes to keep to himself, and who has always seemed content watching his Basketball games or perhaps reading a book. I believe my dad may have felt that others couldn’t satiate his intellectual pallet, and regrettably due to this closed many doors. But, like so many things in life, that was just one fading and worn facet of my dad. I was never able to see the social part of him, the part that likes to interact with others or enjoys a conversation about something other than music or sports. I never knew that part of John existed. And I was naïve to think that my dad was, for lack of a better word, a “loner”. “No man is an island unto himself.” And my dad is no different.
It wasn’t until I visited my dad in rehab recently, that I finally got to see that part of him that loves to have people around. It may sound cliché, but it brought tears to my eyes. My dad was so happy to talk and to interact with those men who are all fighting their own demons and fighting for their second chance. Those men carry the very same demons that my father possess’, and those men are my dad’s friends.
“My dad has friends.” I don’t think I can express how good it is to say that.
These are a group of extraordinary men who all have their own unique stories to tell, and whose paths in their lives have brought them all together. In a selfish way, I am so happy that their lives have led them here, because without them, I don’t know if I would have ever seen my dad as happy as he was. He’s now become part of a brotherhood, a brotherhood of recovery.
From this visit I believe my dad is starting to teach me life lessons once again. I take after my dad, in judging others too swiftly, and in alienating myself because I feel they may be inferior, or that maybe I might be inferior. My dad has genuine friends now, friends he wouldn’t have if he didn’t take down his fences and allow them into his life. Friends who when they knew my mom and I were visiting him, all came in to wish him luck, and even gave him shoes so he’d look nice. It really makes me wonder how many doors I’ve shut due to my own insecurities. I’m now vowing to take after my dad, let down my walls, and enter into the kinship of kindness.