To my son Tommy,
I got anxious and nervous and agitated about work this morning. There was a screw up that could have cost the company some money and I had to fix it. Maybe I screwed up in the first place, maybe I didn't, but at the minimum I should have caught it. I like to think of myself as an attention to detail, "nothing can get by me" kind of guy. It unfortunately gives me a "world on my shoulders" outlook of life.
While I was ruing on this mistake and pondering on the steps to correct the mistake, all while driving into work a bit flustered and much more aggressively than I should have on a rainy day, I had an epiphany. All is fleeting. I was about to ruin my day, and maybe some other people's day, by letting this get to me.This is not going to ruin my day. In the grand scheme of things this is just another day with another challenge.
I get like that from time to time. I get all bothered and worked up about life, and money, and jobs, and mistakes, and such. I get like that to the point of missing what is truly important. It doesn't take a scholar of the meditations of Marcus Aurelius to realize that concern for such things is wasted concern. He wrote, "Time is like a river made up of the events which happen, and a violent stream; for as soon as a thing has been seen, it is carried away, and another comes in its place, and this will be carried away too." In other words, this too shall pass.
My biggest fear, and this one may be justified and worth my concern, is that you will watch me and inherit this trait. I don't want that for you. I want you to focus in on the more important things in life, such as love and compassion and faith and hope. I don't want you, as they say, "sweating the small stuff" because all of it truly is small stuff.
I can give you that attitude, and abate my fear. I just have to change myself. For it is my example, for it is my way of living, for it is my worries, that will filter to you. You will adopt and adapt from us, your parents, first and foremost. Only by being mindful of myself, of my worries, and changing my response to the challenges of life, can I gift you the peace of life you deserve. Funny, of all the things you can give to someone, giving of yourself is greater than all the rest.
"Today I have got out of all trouble, or rather I have cast out all trouble, for it was not outside, but within and in my opinions." Marcus Aurelius
Sincerely with love from your dad,