Thank you Mom and Dad for giving me life, food, comfort and shelter. For teaching me to walk, read, write, color and even laugh. For making Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny real and magical for me. For reassuring me that there were no monsters in my closet or under the bed. For teaching me patience, diligence, and instilling self-confidence in me always. Those gentle words from my Mom, that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to, got me through many challenges in my life. And my Dads example of loving acceptance for all people, regardless of color, religion, social status, or any other factor, was a powerful influence in my development. And at the same time, Dad showed me the meaning of humor and laughing at ourselves. Giddy silliness that was never at the expense of another.
I would not have this life were it not for my mother and father. And although my earliest childhood memories are extremely faint, I have gained a new awareness of how much they both gave me. For I did not learn to walk by myself, or read by myself, or ride that bicycle by myself. In fact, I could not even feed or clothe myself when I was a baby. It was Mom and Dad who made sure I was cared for, nurtured, loved and protected. And while I could not fully understand or show my immense gratitude at that early time, I now have the ability to be so very grateful. To send my blessings and unconditional love to both of them. I would not be here were it not for both of them and their love, nor would I be the person I am today. How can I ever possibly thank them enough?
Although my Mom and Dad have been gone for a long time now, I find that I have a wonderful opportunity to show my gratitude and love for them. I have that today in this moment. By understanding clearly the love and sacrifices that they both made for me, so that I may be the most well, happy and peaceful man. I have the chance to honor them with my thoughts, words and actions. To carry on all that they gave, by offering it to myself and others in the kindest way. And like my parents, to do so without expectation or attachment.
And each morning in meditation, after first sending myself unconditional loving-friendliness and acceptance, I immediately turn my attention toward my parents. Sending them my deepest love and gratitude for this life. Understanding that I would not have this day if it were not for them.
Lest any of you think that I had the perfect parents, my childhood was anything but idyllic. My Mom and Dad got divorced when I was about 11 years old, and it was extremely traumatic for me. My Mom had to work three jobs at times just to keep a roof over our head. And to make things worse, my Father sank into severe alcoholism. At times, not even knowing who I was. And going years without seeing or hearing from him.
So while not all of us have parents who we view as ideal, they all gave each of us so very much that we can still be grateful for. And with a clearer and deeper understanding of this, perhaps each of us can open our hearts in a way that we have not done in the past. Just try offering yourself and your parents some peace.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.