February 28, 2010
Focusing on Peace – A Matter of Perspective
When my father died unexpectedly this past Christmas, I looked at his life from that wide perspective that death often gives us. My dad was not what you’d easily describe as a good man—he went out into the world too young and under-parented, went to war and killed heroically and killed tragically, and fell into cruelty and unsociable tendencies over his marriage and parenting years. And he died unattended, much too young to be so frail and addled. I could be angry at him if I stitched together a certain story of our relationship. But when he died, it didn’t seem worth the energy to sit in judgment of him. Instead, I cried for the fact of his life, and my life, and everyone’s life—that precious thing we all bear differently.
As a divorce mediator-attorney it’s my job to bring out into the open the painful vice of hurt feelings and the betrayal of dreams that can grip us in the midst of focusing on dollars and cents and timing of moments with children. Why? Because sorting through the confusion and judgment that pain often provokes can remind us of our best selves; can remind us of that wide perspective which asks us: who do we want to be? We have a choice as to how we stitch together our stories, and hence define our lives. If we choose to focus on what angers us, and give in to our petty urges, we’re defining our life based on the small events—in contrast, if we choose to focus on what inspires us, and show our best face and widest perspective, we’re defining our lives based on the virtues of the big events, like life and death.
My father made Mediation Offices possible, with many an encouraging chat those first few years, and lots of financial backing (as did my mother). My father told me a few years ago, when I reminded him that there wouldn’t be a Mediation Offices without his support, “I’m glad to know that I’m leaving something good behind.” May Mediation Offices be a support to people going through the divorce transition in a way that the good of my Dad will continue to live on.