Those who are not have a hard time understanding those of us who are, we introverts, who have an odd sort of need for time alone. The extroverts have interpretations of this requirement of anything from being unfriendly to Ted Kaczynski-like strange. But if you are one, you have an innate knowledge of what I am talking about. You may not be able to explain it, but just as effective as aspirin to a headache, so is solitude to your internal soul.
On Father’s Day this morning, I began a little hashtag on Twitter (#rememberingdad) of little sayings I recall hearing from my Dad over the years. Like the time I had a flat and was so flustered by it that he simply replied, “don’t cuss the one that went down; be glad the other four didn’t.”
“The other four? I asked. “What do you mean?”
“You’ve got a spare don’t you? Three plus one equals four.”
And thus was his simplicity of reason and his thoughtful approach to life that I saw over and over again. To this day, one of the most profound sayings he would share with me when something didn’t seem quite right, like finding a bargain too good to be true, or a sales pitch offering something for nothing.
“All that glitters is not gold; All that titters is not tit.”
Here again reminding me that not everything is as it seems.
But this can work in the converse, also. Some situations are much better than they appear to the naked eye. The old proverb states that there is a man who appears to be poor, yet has great wealth. Treasure is hidden, and many times left that way. It’s much easier to safeguard by keeping it quiet.
Now, nearly six years after my dad’s passing, I realize he was a man of great wealth, a keeper of a deep reservoir of thought, insight and knowledge, that very few people got access to. I remember him spending hours alone, on the tractor tending to our 26 acres of woods and pasture grass, or in his hand-built workshop, fixing, welding or maybe just simply enjoying the reward that the privacy proffered. I never really thought of it at the time. I was busy in my own mind to even notice or inquire. But if I had the opportunity today, I’d begin with my list of questions for him that grows longer with each continual year without him.
The more complicated my life becomes, the more I yearn for a tractor to ride, a pasture to mow, or a rose garden to tend. These were among Dad’s diversions in which he found great pleasure, and which gave his mind the space it needed to explore his thoughts, much like a spelunker moving into a passage only large enough for one person to pass. It’s not that you don’t like people; it’s just that there are some internal places too tiny for inclusion and need to be sussed out alone.
While I wish my Dad was still alive, to be able to call him today, hear his voice, and to feel his pride, I am still able to enjoy another bit of wisdom he left behind. “Don’t be sad for what you don’t have; be thankful for what you missed out on.” Dad isn’t with us any longer, but I missed out not having a father of which I was not proud.
Thank you, Dad. May I carry your legacy well.