my father, my hero
I copied this from my profile page to my journal page, therefore it is showing up again - so for those who have read it already.........sorry for the repetition!
Who is my hero? This is something that I never thought about. It forced me to think about all the people who have entered my life, and who I love and admire, for they have left imprints that even time can not erase. I treasure these special people, many of whom have taught me valuable lessons about life, love and the search for happiness and goodness. However, as I went through all them in my mind, drawing a mental image of each, the same face and name kept coming to me………..that of my father.
My father was born in Palestine in 1930, and lived through the turbulent years leading to Palestine becoming Israel. Discrimination made life difficult, and having received a scholarship, he left his homeland and headed for the USA to study for his BA, MA and PhD. A good job offer at a top American university, kept him in the States for a few years, followed by many years working in developing countries, trying to better the lives of others.
Although far from the Middle East and the Muslim world, my parents instilled in their four children an appreciation for our heritage, culture and land, always expecting us to keep our traditions in mind. They recognized the difficulties we faced being products of two societies, but still they stuck to their beliefs, gently guiding us along. Inner conflict and questions challenged me because I did not quite belonging to any society but as I get older, I understand and appreciate what they did for I believe that I have taken the best of both societies, and what does not suit me, I set aside.
My parents now live in their homeland most of the year, 5 minutes from me. My father is an admirably healthy 80 year old. His knowledge is vast for he has an undying curiosity, and the gift of absorbing and retaining information. He prefers to be busy with something instead of sitting around in idle conversation (though he does that too!). About 5 years ago he started painting, and granted he is not the next Van Gogh, but with my untrained eye, I think he is doing great! He dares to be different even staging a one man demonstration when his grandson was killed. He has the ability to get along with all ages, and his “tough when necessary, soft when necessary” quality draws adult and children to his side. People wanting advice, information, something fixed or built, or a shoulder to cry on, or just good interesting conversation often seek out my father. His optimism is contagious, and after talking with him, one feels that what they thought was impossible is actually possible. He has often shouldered other people’s problems, but this past year has been particularly difficult. He is strong but also is not afraid to cry, and though once in a while I see his spirit slipping, he quickly picks himself up, trying to find practical solutions to the problem.
He is my biggest supporter when it comes to my writing – his face was beaming when he saw that my first article for a top newspaper was a cover story! His approval and pride meant the world to me!
I doubt that I will ever reach the heights that my father has reached, but I have tried to take from him his sense of optimism in the face of darkness, and the love of learning and curiosity. He is an example of living life to its fullest, and staying strong in the face of obstacles.