Words of Comfort

Cheri and I often struggled to understand Christopher at times, as I am sure that most parents with teenagers do. But in our darkest hours, a passage from a book I had read long ago helped me realize that we were not the first, nor would we be the last, family to struggle with helping a loved one.

From Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It:

“Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is that those we live with and should know, elude us. But we can still love them - we can love completely without complete understanding.”

These words helped me deal with my confusion and frustration by concentrating on love. And even though they are not truly words of comfort - the message is that no matter how hard we try, we often cannot help our loved ones - they comforted me. The passage got me to stop worrying about the why or the how and focus on love and support.

Robert Redford bought the film rights to A River Runs Through it and made it into a movie in the 1990's. And although it wasn't as good a the book (are they ever) it was powerful. They did a particulary good job portraying the scene from the passage above. I recommend that you watch the movie sometime. Chris is a lot like Paul in the movie: talented, unconventional, misunderstood, and  . . . . beautiful.

- Dad

Note: Spoliers below if you intend on watching the movie.  This is one of its last scenes.


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