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Escape in the Moment

Back by popular demand, here is another post by my brother, Romeo Barongan, in honor of Father’s Day.

ESCAPE IN THE MOMENT:
A Father’s Day Reflection

I have always dreaded change. Even as a child, my happiest moments were plagued by the knowledge that the more time I spent in the moment, the closer I had come to its end. Lately, the dread of watching my free time evaporate each night with the dawning of a new day, a new shift, & set of new obligations has returned. To offset the gloominess, I have been going to the beach every morning before preparing for the day for no more than 20 minutes. At first, I just did it because I was told that I needed more sunlight & I knew I at least had to go through the motions of feeling better; but truthfully, I didn’t expect any results. But then, after just a few minutes of staring at the peaceful water of the bay with the sun in my face & the sea breeze blanketing me from the summer heat, something happened. I felt peace. All the apprehensions that had kept me up the night before disappeared for just a moment in a place where sand met sea & sea met sky. When I left, it no longer bothered me that my moment of peace was so brief & that obligations still loomed before me; I had a sudden appreciation for the concept of balance.

My morning visits to the beach brought to mind one of my favorite myths from Greek mythology—the story of Icarus & Daedalus. Daedalus is a brilliant Greek inventor who, among other things, creates the Labyrinth that houses the Minotaur of Crete. Icarus is Daedalus’s young adult son. Somehow or another, Daedalus & his son manage to cross Crete’s King Minos. In order to escape punishment, Daedalus crafts wings made of bird feathers & held together with wax. His plan is to escape the island kingdom of King Minos through the air. He teaches his son to fly.


Daedalus, being older & more experienced, warns his son not to fly too close to the water for fear of the moisture loosening the wax that holds the wings together. It would be equally important not to fly too high for fear of the sun’s heat melting the wax that holds the wings in place. The father warns the son to strike a balance somewhere in the middle. Sadly, Icarus becomes too intoxicated with the majesty of flight & soars too close to the sun. Its powerful rays melt the wax, the wings crumble apart, & the young man plummets to the sea. The son fails to heed the father’s lesson of moderation & balance.


While this myth has a sad ending, I think it summarizes the dynamic of fatherhood well. Our fathers push us to reach our potential—they teach us to fly. We, as sons, benefit from their experience & advice. We are given opportunities that we would have been hard-pressed to come by on our own. And finally, we are given guidelines on how to best manage the opportunities we are given. We are taught to strike a balance.


Today, I invite my Father to enjoy his own perfect moment of peace & satisfaction. This day, while only a single day on the calendar, embodies innumerable days collected over the years wherein my Dad crafted two pairs of wings out of feathers & waxed & taught me to fly….Not too high as to touch the sun, & not too low as to dip into the waves, but in a place of balance & equilibrium. Hopefully, I can do a better job of heeding my own father’s advice than Icarus of the myth heeded the advice of his own. 


When I’m tempted to ignore my own responsibilities for a day, I’ll remember my Father’s clock-work commitment to his own profession. Before I mourn the end of a free moment, I’ll remember my father’s example of striving for a balanced life that accommodates both time for recreation & time for focused productivity. On this Father’s Day, I encourage my Dad to live in his own moment of serenity & satisfaction similar to the place I found the day I saw the sand meet the sea & the sea meet the sky. Happy Father’s Day.

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

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