A child of divorce

QUESTION: Masters, I was very close with my father until he left my mother and the family when I was 20. I was angry that he valued our family so poorly and I am still struggling with the idea that the man I grew up knowing all those years was a lie. I know that there is a lesson there, but I still don’t know what it is! Is the goal to accept what happened? Forgive him? Initiate contact with him? Is it ego keeping me from moving on? Now that my mother is dying, the pressure to understand seems unbearable. ~Lee, US

ANSWER: You are missing the trees for seeing the density of the forest. When a husband and wife split up it has nothing to do with the children and everything to do with what they mean to each other. A couple who are inseparable when they first meet may grow apart as they mature and have absolutely nothing in common 20 years later. In this case they did share the parentage of you but that was insufficient to keep them together. They were not in the marriage for you.

The way you related to your father was not a lie. The connection between the two of you was a bond of love. His relationship with you was independent of his relationship with your mother, his wife. Severing the marriage did not void the fact that he is your father. You feel abandoned by him, which is a lesson you wished to explore. Examine that sense and see that it brings up emotions of worthlessness and self-doubt. That is what you are rebelling against: your own feelings of inadequacy.

Ego makes a human being judge everything in an arena of right and wrong. The spiritual world sees things only in the light of what you can learn from the experience: is this something you want to repeat, or do you know now it is not part of the reality you wish for?

The person you need to forgive is yourself. You need to accept that your whole life is a spiritual journey of dynamic events designed to stimulate introspection and, thus, learning. Your father is following his own lessons. You don’t have to like or agree with what he has chosen, but do accept his right to have chosen them.

The next step for you is a matter of exercising your freedom of choice. You can remain in the same powerful negative place you have fallen into, or you can take the initiative to explore the person you know as your father. He is hurting from the responses he has generated in you. But nothing is right or wrong, so proceed with what your heart tells you to do. It is important that you let go of the negativity that is poisoning your life. Learn again to live in love.