Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pain of Love Reveals Noble Character

Sometimes you encounter a moment in which time seems to stop.


You realize you're witnessing something special.


       We muddle through our humdrum workaday existence where  special moments occur only rarely.


       When they happen, it's good to pause and savor their meaning, observing the unique event  displayed before you.


       I came across  such a moment the other day.


During a hearing in Domestic Relations Court, a typical custody fight seemed to be going the way they always go.


Mom and dad, divorced, fighting over custody of their two boys, one a freshman in high school and the other a sophomore.


Mom had moved to a southern state, leaving dad to raise the boys on his own here in Ohio.


Initially, the father fought hard  to block the mother's attempt to relocate the kids  to her Carolina home.


It was shaping up as a battle of hateful egos, the parents more interested in inflicting emotional injury on their ex-spouse than in anything else.


I've seen it  a thousand times.


The anger and hurt of divorce manifests itself in the form of a take-no-prisoners attitude toward every post-marriage issue, especially the issue of custody.


       This fight to the death approach ruins families, handing the winner a hollow victory.


       Children are the collateral damage.


       They carry the memory of their parents' unquenchable hate with them for a long time.


       Some get over it.


       Others let it poison their  lives, destined to let the dark shadow of resentment and selfishness overcome their love for their spouse in their own marriages.


       History, sadly, repeating itself.


Which brings me to the moment.


The dad is a contractor, working 60 hours a week.


Very hard construction labor.


Not particularly sophisticated, a little rough around the edges.


Prepared to do battle.


But on this day,  love prevailed.


The dad had some sincere one-on-one conversations with his sophomore son, before the hearing.


He was convinced in his own heart: this boy really wanted to  live with his mom.


Incredulous, he murmured to the judge, between tears.


He said he loved his son and if relocating meant his happiness, he would abandon his opposition to the mothers request.


The room went silent.


Giving up the fight in order to ensure his son's happiness.


So it seems  this lad will be changing addresses.


Because a man loved his son more than he hated his ex-wife.


That was the moment.


Paternal love and self-sacrifice.


I could see the pain in his face.


The suffering in his heart.


And most poignantly, the nobility in this blue-collar hero.


How much do you love your kids?


As much as this dad?


I went back to the office after that hearing, a changed man.


Thinking about that moment.


Is there nobility in you?


Can you produce such a moment yourself?


Maybe history doesn't have to repeat itself.


Make your own moment.


Discover your own nobility.


I've seen it in person.


It wore steel-toed work boots and had calloused hands.


And a tender loving heart.




  1. Dave,
    I'm sure because of this father's love for his child being stronger than a vindictive hate for his ex, his son will admire his dad and want to continue a good relationship. It's so horrible to see how one parent's hate overtakes any amount of reason and love for their child(ren). You're right - it's a hollow victory when a child is forced to live where they don't want to in that the child will most likely grow to resent the parent keeping them from the other. I'm sure this will be a case you remember and reflect on. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. David I want to truly thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing my stories that was not a hard decision when it came down to it I remember the first day brandon came to me and said dad I don't wanna go through high school and college not know when my mom the only memories I have been 15 years is of you and I so there is nothing that will ever overcome the the love a father has for his sons

  3. David,Howard and I shared custody of our children for 10 years,We split the week and both raised our kids. When I moved here in March 2010 to care for my mother...I had full custody of the boys. I didnt force them to move because I too love my children and wanted them happy. I appreciate How hard my ex works and glad we can now communicate better for the sake of our kids and not our bitterness towards eachother. I have been to Ohio 9 times in 2 years and my boys were here in the summer... The blog is somewhat dramatic and makes it appear as if I left years ago and abandon my children, which is absolutly not the case. Again, Howard and I both raised our boys and both love them dearly. I appreciate my ex-husband and glad we our in a better place for the boys.