As I prepared to end my call with my father he ended our conversation with a phrase he’d often retort, “Nothing is free”. This is a phrase my father would often say to sum up any experience.
Hearing that today hit different. As a kid hearing that phrase made me wince. I hated the ease in which he would utter it. It was as if he knew something I didn’t know and refused to share it. I lived my life as a reaction to that phrase, motivated to disprove a theory I hadn’t thought to examine.
He shared details of his life today, many of which I was already familiar with but today was different. The details shined like a bright light and I was interested in exploring each of them.
“Why’d you choose to do that?”, “How?”, it was as if the stories had new life in them. And they did, it was what I now saw. The details in his unwavering devotion to arrive somewhere. For my Dad it was owning a home. As he shared this story from his kitchen preparing a surprise dinner for my Mom I now understood the phrase loud and clear.
Life is an onslaught of things. It’s just that, things. Whatever the costs were he was willing to pay. He was right, nothing is free. Everything has a cost. Even freedom.