Strive: verb. to contend in opposition, battle, or any conflict; to struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance.
My observation at age 19, was that life was hard. I was trying to get my life on the upswing however, turning life from upside down to right side up can be a lot of work...(especially if you're not even sure which way is up). From wisdom of people much smarter than me, I learned that humans are all moving at different energetic speeds...and that difference of pace, can pave way for a lot of misunderstandings. On my crash coarse towards self-discovery and uncovering the perplexities of the ups and downs that life can bring, I found my world going in for another loop around the roller coaster...and I did not know how to get off the ride.
I had "stolen" a large, canvas painting from my dads house, one that I had painted. Without permission, and without him knowing, I brought it to my moms after finding it buried in the one place I had asked him NOT to put it. The garage. Apparently his new wife at the time didn't want it anywhere inside the house, much less a wall to be hung on.
Two weeks later when my dad found it missing and demanded that I return it, I simply told him "no." This put him into a rage fairly quickly and a few minutes later, to my dismay, told me I was no longer his daughter. In my defiance, I said "fine" and we hung up the phone. I thought I might never speak to him again.
I knew that my "crime" didn't warrant the punishment I was receiving, but I certainly wasn't going to return my painting either. Not knowing how to repair the situation, I did what any normal human would do. Nothing. A year passed...and I never heard from him.
No calls, no emails.
Then finally, after almost two years of not speaking, I was done with this whole "pretend the other person doesn't exist" thing. I was simply the one who was going to have to make the move. More than that, I wanted to know that if he ever died, at least I had given it my all.
My heart pounded when I drove to his house that day. I thought it might burst right out of my chest. I had so many scenarios playing out in my head I was shaking with fear. What will he do? Will he slam the door in my face? Will he still be so angry with me that he will hurt me? Should I just not do this at all? I thought to myself at least 30 times that I should just turn around and not go through with it...but I kept driving until my car landed in his driveway.
With shaking and sweaty hands, I walked all the way up to his door and knocked...but when the door opened, we were both met with surprise. My dad in shock, just stared at me for what seemed like an eternity--but in reality was only a few seconds. Then, to my astonishment, a smile crept onto his face and he opened his arms and he hugged me.
We made amends that day...never truly conceding to the other person in our dispute, but simply letting it become water under the bridge. Little did I know that my reason for continuing a relationship with my dad, was well-founded. I wasn't going to be able to have much more time with him. And even though our relationship floated on the surface of substance, a lesson I learned that day was that in the end, we will only ever regret a few things, such as the chances we didn't take, the choices we did or did not take action with, and the decisions that took us too long to carry out.
And although good relationships take an equal amount of effort from both people, you can't expect a great result if you haven't made much of an effort yourself to begin with.
I had much still to learn about the magical healing power of perspective...but I had begun to learn about personal choice and effort. There was ample room for me to grow and strive towards becoming a better person. Truth is, I needed to be a better person, because I was over this whole "why does life hurt so much?" experience. The tears were simply becoming too painful. And if I had to struggle and fight the whole way, to fully release love and healing into my life....then....I was in....even if it killed me.
And what I would soon learn is that when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.