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Thursday, October 20, 2011

An Examined Life is Worth Living...

Today is the birthday of one of my mentors in life, an example of the Stoic Sage in many facets of life, my Father.  William Arthur Lindley was a human being, and although he would say he had faults, I honestly don't remember many.  Some times he could have a bad temper but he would have to be extremely provoked and another person would never feel the brunt of it.  He controlled his temper and ruled it with an iron fist.  Someone who was not as closely connected would never have known that he had poked the fire of dad's ire and come very close to being burned.

Dad was a loyal husband, adored my mother and always referred to her as his best friend and the love of his life, a patient and loving father, and a cherished friend.  His memorial service, after a six month struggle with a brain tumour, was standing room only.  They were actually standing in the hallways of the funeral home in order to hear the service.  I am sure that Dad would have been surprised by the effect his brief life in Canada (26 years) had on so many people.

After being made "redundant" by his firm at the age of 45, Dad decided to sell everything and move half way across the world to Canada.  He had tried to find an equivalent position in England but the economy was in a slump and executive jobs were hard to come by.  When we came to Canada a job offer from Lennox was in the works but Dad, taking one look at the large metropolis of Toronto, came to the decision that it was not an environment that he wanted to raise his girls in.  Dad took the job that was available to him as a janitor on the maintenance staff of Sir Sandford Fleming in order to keep his family in a smaller city with some relatives around them.  Dad often said there was no shame in doing whatever job was necessary in order to pay the bills and put food on the table.  Dad proceeded to make a job for himself at the college working his way up to a position that used his air conditioning/heating engineer skills, becoming the Environmental Engineer for all of the campuses.

Dad treated everyone he met equally no matter their race, creed, or economic circumstances.  Whenever I was nervous about meeting someone important my Dad would say, "They get up in the morning and put their pants on one leg at a time, love.  The same as everyone else."  He taught me to focus on everyone's common humanity rather than status or lack of it.  I learned to always take a breath before reacting in anger and to not hold grudges, "It's all water under the bridge..."  I learned to think carefully before acting on something, "Measure twice, cut once."  I learned to resolve any differences with my loved ones, "Never go to bed angry."  I also learned that material goods, while nice, were not the most important thing in life, "There's no pockets in a shroud."

My Dad was a spiritual seeker who kept an open mind about most things and believed that true spirituality was found in kindness toward your fellow man and all living creatures.  Dad loved nothing more than watching a magnificent sunset, staring at a starry night on a summer evening, and marveling at a flock of geese in flight against a vibrant dawn sky.

My Dad taught me that I was unique, beautiful and most of all that I was loved unconditionally.  I miss my father every day but, with the memories and time that we were blessed to spend together, I have a rich store of experiences to replay on day's like today when I miss him more than usual.

I love you Dad!