It may sound like a harsh question: what is in it for you? Yet, it is a totally legitimate one– in just about everything. We work for compensation; we derive pleasure from the relationships we choose to maintain; we volunteer for causes we care about. It is a perfectly normal part of human nature to ask ourselves this question before we take on a task or decide to alter our status quo.
Lately, so many have asked me this question in the context of trying to understand why after 38 years I would risk opening Pandora’s box by seeking out my father. As my dad himself stated so bluntly, “someone had to break the ice after all these years. I never would have done it, but I’m glad you did.” Well, it actually felt more like I’d broken through a glacier with bear hands, yet I am glad I did it too, especially given how it has all turned out, however, I did not do it entirely for me. Yes, after all these years I wanted to understand what happened between my parents, and I wanted to know basic information about my family, but really I did it for my son’s sake, so he would not have to carry on a life sentence wondering so many things the way I did all these years.
We all have our reasons for doing things, and we all have different motivations. In my life, I have found the greatest inspiration is my son. For him, I found the strength to open up the deepest wound I silently carried all these years, and now to him I owe the greatest thanks for helping me find my family and internal peace. Not only do I feel it, but everyone around me has noticed a difference– there is a tranquility within that I never had before; it is like I ran the marathon of my life, and I can finally allow myself to take a break.
There is a beautiful truth in life (which I was reminded of today while watching a cartoon with my son): when in your darkest hour, you can find hope from within, that is true inner strength. Six years ago as my marraige unraveled, I felt like I was living a modern-day version of the Story of Job. But now I realize that perhaps I had to lose it all in order to want to find my own family, and in the process I also found inner peace for myself.