Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


My Dad Is Brave

Filed under: Personal History,Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I’ve been brooding about this since March. I know this because I wrote the phrase, “My dad is brave” in my Moleskine on March 8th, 2004. Each time I scan through my little black notebook, I see the phrase and think about writing an entry about it. I have been brooding about it a little bit here and there for over four months. Yesterday in the shower, I decided that I needed to write about it.

What prompted the phrase written hastily in my notebook was a conversation in my meditation class. I haven’t attended meditation for months and I don’t really miss it, but I do miss the intellectual stimulation I got from it. One of the members of the class talked about a book she had read. There was a man whose life was used as an example in the book. I don’t know if he really existed or not, but she presented it as fact.

The man found out he had cancer. He had always been a health nut and spurned medical science. Rather than change his views, he refused the chemotherapy and surgery that would have saved his life. Her point was that some people are more scared of being wrong than dying. Death is less fearful than being wrong to some people.

After she told us this story was when I pulled out my Moleskine and wrote, “My dad is brave.” My dad isn’t fighting against cancer. The demons he fights are far larger than malignant cells, even if they are also invisible to the naked eye. I have only seen glimpses of his demons and there are times when I worry that I am fighting similar ones.

One of the weapons that my dad has used to fight his demons is religion. We joined the Jehovah Witness religion right before my fourth birthday. I remember this vividly, even though I was so young. He vehemently followed the letter of the law for over twenty years to the detriment of my childhood and the emotions of many others. It was only a year or so ago that he realized that the religion wasn’t helping him and in many cases, it harmed him.

So, he gave it up. He had temporarily disowned me as a daughter because of the religion and he gave it up. He had irrevocably damaged his relationship with his mother because of the religion and he gave it up. He had sacrificed his time and money to this religion and he just gave it up. He stopped going. He stood up to the elders. After all he put me through, he abandoned it.

This made me angry. He had clung to the Jehovah Witnesses and rejected me, my grandmother, and even Stacey because of them and now he was quitting it. He wouldn’t quit it for me, but he was willing to quit because of some Ayn Rand book he read twenty years ago that finally sunk into his thick skull. I was pissed.

Then I sat in my meditation class, listening to a member talking about healing yourself with the power of your mind and I realized that my dad is brave. After over twenty years of clinging to something, he was able to say that he was wrong. Rather than hanging on to something that had damaged his life so substantially, he was able to say, I quit. Unlike that guy with cancer, he was able to say, yes, give me the chemicals, cut into my body, whatever it takes to get me healthy again. And for that, I think my dad’s brave. I’m still untrusting, but I believe you can forgive without trusting the person again.

Good luck, Dad. I hope you heal quickly.


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