If family stories are true, my father started primary school at 18 years of age and went straight through to a master’s degree in accounting.
He arrived in America by boat and, like most immigrants loved his new country. More often than not his eyes would well up with tears when he sang America’s national anthem.
Throughout his life, though, he felt the pressure of being a foreigner in a new land. His surname Adamov was changed to Adams, not because he was ashamed of his heritage, but discrimination against “foreigners” wouldn’t allow him the freedom to move up the social/economic ladder as quickly as his desires and needs to support a family wanted to move along.
As a young lad, my father spent the entirety of WWI in Serbia. As an adult and because of what he saw and experienced of war, he shunned conflict and worked hard to make friends of Catholics and other people outside his historic ethnic Serbian Orthodox religious biases — even marrying my mother, a Protestant.
“Within every wound their is the seed of hope.”
Our global society is being severely wounded. And tested.
Every culture, including my “adopted” country Australia, has an unconscious xenophobic fear of immigrants, asylum seekers and those newly arrived. It rises to the surface when stirred up by the insanity of terrorism, but also by shock jocks, politicians and religious leaders looking to promote their particular world view.
My father chose peace, forgiveness and compassion over millennia of fear, distrust and hatred of “The Other”.
Make no mistake, my father had some wide fault lines in his character after experiencing what he experienced as a youth. But his chosen path — however rocky — was towards Peace.
I can do nothing less than honour him and the path he chose by walking this path myself.
Perhaps, even changing my name back to Adamov?