By Chelsea Prentice
A friend of mine recently posted something along the lines of “Nothing makes for a Happy Father’s Day like a barbeque in a cemetery!” She was commenting on a sign she’d seen on the side of the road advertising a Father’s Day barbeque taking place in a cemetery, and she’d included a picture along with it. Initially, like most I’m sure, I was as confused as she was and thought it a bit odd to host such an event in such a morbid place.
But then it dawned on me that the sign wasn’t meant for me. It wasn’t meant for my friend either.
That sign was meant for someone who has no one left to turn to when that very special day rolls around. That sign was meant for the person that no longer has the support and comfort of a father figure. It was meant for the person who cannot imagine a more important place to be than the cemetery on that day.
For those of us that are fortunate enough to still have our fathers in our lives or have a support system which we can turn to instead of a gravestone, or even still those of us that have reached some sort of closure that allows us not to feel obligated to spend those Sundays among the dead, we don’t think about how nice it would be for an event to be held for the lonely few. This tragic, important, and inexplicable action that some among us feel the need to take part in should not be laughed at or brushed aside.
We are so quick to point out the joke or the flaw in others and awkward or confusing situations. We can’t help it, it’s human nature to turn a blind eye to tragedy. It’s easier for us to avoid the confrontation or the awkward moments where we don’t know what to say or how to feel. It is our nature, but that does not mean we are incapable of reversing it.
If there are a few pieces of advice that I could give, to anyone, it would be:
1. Think three times before speaking. The first time you think about a person, place, or thing you’re presented with, you will react according to your human nature. The second thought will be one of guilt, a realization that your first thought may not be right, and it may also not be kind. But the third is where that realization turns into a new idea. A new form of judgment. Your mind has, at that point, expanded and encompassed the different possibilities that could explain this new phenomenon you’re encountering.
2. Try walking backwards in someone else’s shoes. It’s one thing to try to change your perception about something, but it is another entirely to try to understand how someone or something got to that point. If you have a friend who has a completely obnoxious personality, you not only need to try to accept them for who they are (after all, you are friends for some reason, aren’t you?) but you should also try to understand how they came to be that way. What in their past led them to develop this type of behavior? Who influenced them when they were younger or most vulnerable?
3. Lastly, develop a knack for positivity. Just trying to think positive won’t do it. Convincing yourself that a rainy day will eventually bring sunshine won’t be enough either. You need to convey that you genuinely believe a positive attitude and outlook will change your life, and everyone around you, for the better. Learn to actually find the positive in things. Sure, there’s a silver lining to everything if you look for it. But don’t do that, turn the whole thing over and find the entire silver platter that was on the flipside of your copper plate you hadn’t noticed for so long. Seek the gold furnishings you’ve had locked away in your basement collecting dust, the ones you didn’t even know you’d inherited or built for yourself.
Human nature is beautiful in many aspects, but at times it can be a beast. There are certain opportunities we need to realize we should overcome, not get stuck in or tough out, but really fight to turn upside-down. It’s true that nothing worth fighting for will come easy, but what’s more important is realizing what is actually worth the fight; and opening our minds to a healthier understanding of our world is always top priority on the list.
Image: Franca Giminez