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|The Ride Home - Page 6|
"Besides," I said glumly. "You've always told me you feel a calling as a therapist."
"That's true, I do feel a calling. But it also took time. And sometimes I still daydream about what would have happened if I'd gone into politics. Most of the time, those thoughts make me shudder, but sometimes I wonder."
"But that's the thing, Dad. I'm still as focused on being a big shot as I ever was. Now it's as if my whole life is just a bet that eventually I'll be glad I chose a career that's more about helping people than on making money and feeling important."
As I looked at Dad, I felt as if I was waking from a dream. I realized that he'd just had buried his own father this morning. I felt my chest tighten as I remembered my dad kneeling on the ground, lowering his father's ashes into the shallow grave.
"Well that's the bet I made," Dad said, "and so far it has worked for me."
I found myself smiling as I focused again on the road ahead of us. The sun was now high in the sky, creating dark pools of shimmering heat. The brightly painted yellow lines stretched out before us, moving on side by side over a winding asphalt sea.
Michael Treadway is a graduate student in clinical science at Vanderbilt University, whose research interests include the behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms of emotion regulation. Contact: m.treadway@ vanderbilt.edu. Letters to the Editor about this department may be e-mailed to email@example.com.