Thursday, January 04, 2007

Details

My dad is a good, nay, a great person. Over the years, he has been a community organizer, a welfare rights advocate, a social agency director and a non-profit housing developer. He has refocused his career many times, but throughout he has remained a United Church minister. A minister without a church or a congregation. Early on, he sermonized about human rights, and was deemed too 'radical' by the church board. He left the church where he presided, and chose to see his work in non-profit housing as his own form of Christian ministry. He has been described as "a visionary", a man with "lots of ideas, very innovative, very go ahead, always struggling on behalf of people who are disadvantaged". No one who has met him could deny his charm. He is loved.

He is also a phenomenal dad. He would do anything for his children, and has. He has gone the distance and walked several miles beyond. Little did he know that this particular contract would require him to be a baby sleep aid, a homework project manager, a bank, a chauffeur, a chef, an audience, and a 4am insomniac movie-watching partner. He added this to an already crushing workload, and still managed to answer each question or whine with a smile and a hug.

Like many heros, my dad has an Achilles' Heel. He is not very good with details. In fact, he's pretty lousy at them. He's got big dreams, but doesn't realize that the big picture is made up of small details This fact has dogged him his entire professional life, and has affected his personal one as well. He has been criticized, slandered and dismissed due to inattention to the details of business. He is considered "morally beyond reproach" by his colleagues, but lacks the organization to make his dreams a stable reality. I couldn't love him more for it. I have become the details-oriented person that I am today because of it. As a child, I sensed the gap, and quietly worked towards a mutual symbiosis.

Throughout life, he has been plagued by health problems, exacerbated by overwork and sleepless nights. On New Year's day, my mom told me that he would be starting radiation for prostate cancer. He can't have the surgery that would fix it faster, due to a heart condition. My dad doesn't want anyone to know, because he wants people to see the person, and not the cancer. My mom wanted to keep me "in the loop", so that I would understand why he didn't seem his usual energetic and boisterous self. My dad did not tell me. I'm not even sure if he knows that I know. Apparently, it's "minor cancer" and has a 95% success rate. Strangely, I'm more worried that he can survive the cure, than the cancer. He is not a well man, and I fear that the radiation may take too great a toll.

Dear God, I know that it's your job to see the big picture, and make decisions for the good of the whole, but strength is found in the "details". Please don't overlook this one...

9 comments:

Beck said...

Your dad will be in my prayers. He sounds like a wonderful father and a wonderful person.

kittenpie said...

I have my fingers crossed for you and your dad. And you're right, often the cure is almost as bad as the disease. I hope this balance is in his favour.

Suzanne said...

He sounds amazing -- I hope that the treatment works and that it isn't too debilitating. Let us know how it goes.

Mad Hatter said...

Oh No-Mo, I will be thinking of you. How hard to have to feel all these feelings and then not be able to share them with your Dad.

Best.

Kyla said...

Oh no. ((((o)))) I'm sorry, No-Mo. Your daddy sounds amazing.

jen said...

wow. your dad sounds amazing. i'd love to hear more about the non profit housing development work...

that aside, yes, god..let's pay attention to the details. he certainly deserves it.

cinnamon gurl said...

Oh, Nomo! Cancer is too big a word to go alongside minor. I'll be thinking of you and your dad, who sounds wonderful.

ewe are here said...

This post made me cry. Your dad sounds like a lovely, amazing man. The 'cure' took mine from me a couple of years ago and I miss him terribly.

Your dad is in my prayers.

Her Bad Mother said...

BIG. HUG. For you, and your lovely father.

I've just been through - going through - something similar with my mom. I'm here if you ever want to talk.