About Harry J. Smith
Introduction by Diane Fish
These were written in response to a take home suggestion from the second Intensive for Called By Love. In deep understanding of the many ways in which Spirit manifests through our human form, participants were asked to recognize their individual gifts of genius and talent – not from the place of the ego, but from the recognition of the involution of Spirit and how Spirit works through us in all phases of our lives. These gifts show up in relationships, in the workplace, in artistic expression, in the presence we hold for others in our lives. In addition to our own personal inventory, participants were to ask others in their lives (spouses, partners, family members, co-workers) what they saw as their gifts. Frequently this kind of feedback surprises us and we learn things about ourselves that we never knew. These letters are beautiful examples of the ways in which we impact those closest to us and how the love we hold in our hearts is transmitted even when it’s coming through the masks of personality.–Diane
Harry J. Smith
Although he is not my biological father, Harry has always been “Dad” to me. My biological father abandoned us when we were quite young and, after a period of time, Harry took his place. He took his place not only as a husband to my mother and head of the household, but as father to my sisters and me. He has been entrenched in that position for so long that I am only occasionally reminded that he is not my biological father. In my heart and for all intents and purposes he is my father, my dad.
That is perhaps the first observation about Harry that comes to mind. He stepped into a very challenging role as husband and father to three (soon to be four) young girls. That takes a person with a deep sense of honor and commitment. It shows a man with not only a committed love for my mother but a willingness to take on the responsibility of raising a family that wasn’t technically his. But commitment takes time to prove itself and for more than five decades Harry has been proving it. Harry is a man with a deep sense of love, commitment and loyalty to his family.
While his commitment and loyalty to his family is obvious and unquestioned, he was not always the easiest man to live with growing up. He was very strict and tended to present himself as an authoritarian figure rather than a compassionate father. Did he love us and want the best for us? Absolutely. Was he easy to get along with and approachable? Not always. We tended to have a sense of fear of not pleasing our father. This is a fear that to some measure continues to this day. Although not always obvious and pronounced, there is that deep desire in the back of my mind that I don’t want to disappoint my father. Perhaps that isn’t so much a component of Harry’s personality as it is a part of my deep desire to have approval and acceptance and feeling that I always somehow fall short of that mark.
Harry has an attitude and view of the world around him that leads him to see the best in everyone. He might be temporarily dismayed or upset with a person or situation but he will quickly reassess the situation and sets it right according to his worldview. I’m not sure that I would agree that everyone is deserving of this view but Dad’s desire to see the best in people and situations seems to know no bounds. This can be a plus and a minus at the same time. While he always tries to see the positive in everyone, he often does that by ignoring the negative in people. He often describes friends and relations as “the best” but I think that sometimes that pronouncement is unwarranted. It’s good to see the best in people but that vision needs to be tempered by reality, too.
While it’s true that Dad sees the best in people, he doesn’t always respond to them that way. It’s a curious habit of his to respond to people in the negative even while agreeing with their point. If you make a statement to him in conversation, often the first words out of his mouth in response will be negative. I’ll give a recent example: On Thanksgiving Dad shared with us some thoughts and feelings about family that he and mom had shared with each other. It was a very warm and heartfelt expression of his love for his family and how they touched his life in very special and specific ways. It was very moving. When we got in the car to go home, I wanted to let him know that. So I said something like “Dad, your speech tonight was very beautiful and touching.” Dad’s response? “No, it really wasn’t a speech…” and then he went on to explain why it wasn’t a speech so much as a collection of thoughts and conversations that he and mom had had, etc. I think he eventually said thank you but his first response was a negative and a negative directed at me: it was not a speech. I had fallen short of pleasing my father.
It can be said and I don’t think you’ll find anyone to disagree: Harry is a generous man. Materially he has never hesitated to share whatever wealth or treasure he had available. And I believe that his generosity has often gone beyond the limits of his family. I have a feeling that he has shared with people at times and in ways that we are unaware of and will probably never fully know about. If you know Harry and you need a dollar, if he has a dollar, he’ll give it to you. This is never truer than within his own family. Dad has never hesitated to step up and foot the bill if someone in his family has a need. (David and his special schooling come to mind as an example.) Each of his grandchildren has been to Europe thanks to his (and, of course, Mom’s) generosity. Not only to spend the money but also to take the time and the effort to give this kind of unprecedented experience to them is an amazing act of unselfishness and giving. Once again, Dad’s great love of family being shown not only from the heart but from the pocketbook as well.
And Dad can be very generous of spirit, too. He has always been willing to share his life experience, philosophies and words of encouragement and praise to those around him. And, once again, his family is often the recipient of these kind and uplifting expressions. It is not unusual to see Dad at family gatherings, huddled with someone who recently had a change or event happen in their life, that he felt the need to encourage or console them about. Whether a trivial matter or a life changing decision, Dad is always willing to offer whatever advise or counsel he can.
It’s very hard to write about someone for whom you have a lifelong and deep-seated love. Our love tends to lead us toward the good and minimize any negatives that might exist. Faults and shortcomings tend to be washed away in our overwhelming desire to express our love and affection. Does my father have faults? Of course. But the fact that those faults are not a prominent part of my view of him or my thoughts concerning him reinforces the fact that Harry is a man who is kind, generous and extremely loyal and loving to his family and is more than deserving of our love and loyalty in return. So is my viewpoint tainted? Yes, by love, affection and admiration for my father.
My Dad, Harry J. Smith
When I think about my dad, many positive things come to mind. My dad came into my life when I was eight years old. He married my mom and took charge of three little girls. He worked hard to bring all of us together as a close family. He has always been there to support, guide, and love me. My dad has always been a very kind, caring, and compassionate man. He never passes judgment on others and is always there to help out a family member or friend. My dad is a very generous individual, always giving from the heart to others. He is extremely loyal and dedicated to his family and circle of friends. He will always be there to listen, offer advice, or lend a hand. He never turns anyone away. It is his nature to take charge of situations and help resolve difficulties for others.
Although my dad is there to help and advise others, it is hard for him to ask for advice or help in resolving his own personal difficulties. When it comes to his own personal issues, my dad feels he must keep everything to himself. My dad relied greatly on my mom Betty to take care of everything on the home front. Most everything was delegated to my mom. Now that my mom has passed, it is hard for my dad to complete tasks. He procrastinates continuously and doesn’t always complete things in a timely fashion. If dad focused on resolving these small imperfections, his life would be more organized and orderly.
In conclusion, I took this opportunity to write about my dad because I want him to know how much I love him and how much I appreciate all that he has taught me. I am grateful for the values he has instilled in me and all the love and care he has given me. I want my dad to have the most fulfilling life possible. He deserves to be happy, content, and peaceful. I will always love him and be there for him! Our close relationship as father daughter will continue to thrive through the years.