Waiting for the Blessing of My Father
By Gonzalo Salinas
In October it will be ten years since I’ve seen my father.
I remember clearly the last time I saw him. We were at the National Airport in Lima.
Let me back-track. The flight to Miami was at 8 pm. For international flights, you are supposed to check in three hours in advance or risk missing the flight.
I was at home, waiting for my father to say goodbye at 6 pm. Still a fifteen minute drive away from the airport. I was late and pissed off. It was the same story. Waiting for my father. Putting all my expectations as a kid on that man. The architect. The eloquent speaker. The storyteller. Great talk but limited results. And yet I still never lost hope of seeing him awaken.
Twenty three years of my life waiting. Waiting for him to stand up and take action; for my brothers Victor and Fernando, for my Sister Mariola and my mother Soledad. And there I was; about to leave Peru, and I was still waiting.
Peter Putnam, a writer and ManKind Project supporter, in his extraordinary book: “The Song of Father-Son: Men in Search of The Blessing,” writes that a man craves the blessing of the Father more than anything else in the world.
“We crave the blessing of our father. Our father whoever he is. Wherever he’s been, hugging us close and saying these simple magical words: Son, I’m proud of you . You have all you need to be a strong, loving man.”
Later, Putnam emphasizes that his entire book, and his entire life, are about that hug and those words.
And there it is. My whole life I was always craving the blessing of my father. And to give the blessing, he needed to show up.
In October 2003 I didn’t know that what I wanted was my father’s blessing. I was feeling the same familiar feelings of disappointment, anger, and frustration that I felt many times towards him. My life in Peru was about to come to an end. I was about to start a new life in a new country where I couldn’t speak a word of the language. I was longing for something from him … waiting for him to come and save me.
He arrived at 6:30 pm. I was furious. I wanted to scream at him and blame him for whatever unpleasant things were happening in my life.
He came pretending like nothing was wrong … and I screamed,
“Dad, I had to be at the airport at 5!!!”
He reacted like he usually did; serene, almost as if he wasn’t involved.
He said, “I’m sorry.”
I’ve heard that I’m sorry so many times.
We went to the airport. As soon as we arrived, my brother, who was waiting there, told me that the flight was delayed two hours …
Four other friends were at the airport to say goodbye. A friend of mine brought me chocolates made by his mom, another friend asked me if I had some soles (the Peruvian currency) “You won’t need it in the U.S.” he said. Despite my anger, I gave him like thirty bucks in Peruvian soles.
Everyone was pretending that this was another get together, the usual frivolous conversation; girls, soccer, cars.
I was begging deep inside for my father to call me aside … to say something meaningful.
Boarding begins. I start saying goodbye to my friends and family. At the time I thought I was leaving for only two or three years. It’s now ten years without seeing my father. I saved the last goodbye for Him, (Him with capital H). It was very simple goodbye. A brief hug and a kiss on my forehead.
“Behave,” he said.
Throughout the years I have carried a lot of resentment towards my father. I blamed him for many things. I’ve always thought about how he could do better on this or that area. It’s been ten years. Now, after my New Warrior Training Adventure, and ongoing work in my men’s I-group, I notice that I didn’t have to look at my father, but at myself.
Looking back, I see that he did the best he could with what he had, from where he was. If he didn’t do better, it was simply because he didn’t know any better. Maybe he was also craving the blessing of his father. Men’s work, for me, has included learning to forgive. Forgiveness for my father. Forgiveness for myself. I didn’t know what I needed, and I didn’t know how to ask for it. He didn’t know how to give what I could never ask for, the blessing of a Father.
Only after I forgave, I accomplished something that I thought it was impossible: I have learned to love my father. Just saying it give me a sense of freedom: I love my Father. Yes, I love Him and I can’t wait to see him again. To look into his eyes and hug him. Not only as the man who gave me life, but as my brother warrior that he is, doing the best he can with what he is given.
Gonzalo Salinas is the MKP Journal assistant Editor for the ManKind Project USA, a nonprofit mentoring and training organization that offers powerful opportunities for men’s personal growth at any stage of life. Salinas studied Literature in Lima, Peru at San Marcos University, and has been living in the United States since 2003. He lives in Miami, FL, and is committed to his development with the organization and the dissemination of the message of the Mankind Project.
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