Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dreams of My Father

I've been getting more sleep lately. Started working out again, strength training, and I just need it. I keep a highly erratic schedule, but I'm finding I really do want 8 hours nowadays. More, but I can't justify that.

I came back after more than three years, to my old workouts. Man I got weak. At first it was discouraging. I do partial squats, only to a ninety degree bend in the knee, 10 or 12 inches, and my last goal was three times my body weight. 540. Then I got up to 605, two years ago. But I took all this time off, and when I started again 300 felt really really hard. It was discouraging, but I remembered my philosophy. A little more every time. Yesterday I was up to 425. I'll add 20 or 30 every workout, until I'm at 540 again, then I'll start shooting for my new goal, four times my body weight. Same with dips. A few weeks ago I started with 35 pounds strapped around my waist for ten, and it seemed soooooo hard. I'm up to 75, and it's not so hard. I used to do 180. How did I do that? I must have looked like an absolute freak. But it's just steady commitment. I can do that. New goal ... maybe 270. That's like a 450 bench press, so maybe I'll lower the goal. We'll see.

I took a month off from jiu jitsu, two years ago. That's why I had time and energy to shoot for a new squat goal. But a month wasn't long enough, and it fell by the wayside. Now I'm taking another month off. April. Maybe I'll take longer. We'll see how it goes. My plan is to train some standup with my son. Standup means striking. He's starting MMA, and I'm sort of over my inhibition about standing up in a fight. It always seemed like a fight, standing, and I don't want to fight. I want to play. But I've been at it three years now, and I'm sort of over the inhibition. That's progress. So I might as well get a little standup skill. You know, like boxing and stuff. I don't want to be hit. But I'm not really a coward. I'm just shy. Maybe I'll take time off enough to meet my strength goals. That'd take more than a month. Maybe my knees will stop hurting if I take the time off. Maybe when I come back there will be more people who'll train with me, hard. Maybe I won't come back at all.

My point? Well, first, I'm so wonderful. Then, we reach our goals by having them, and working steadily toward them. And we don't get discouraged by not attaining them yet. We start out as beginners, then get our skills.

But my real point is my father. All this sleep is making me dream, and I just woke up, having dreamed of my father. I was an adult, living in my father's house, a sort of castle in Hollywood. Don't ask. All sorts of people were there. Now, I haven't seen my father for 15 years. Starting to feel guilty about that. He's getting old, and none of his sons wants to be around him. It's worse than you could ever imagine. But in this dream he wrote a note to us, his sons, and I could see the manipulation behind it, but only because we knew how he is. It would have seemed like a normal, gracious letter. And even though I knew the horror, I went to see him. It was a dream. Don't ask how I was living in his house but never saw him. As a little boy I used to hope and hope that he woudn't come home. As a teen I just avoided him. Big house. It's why I still walk so quietly. Isn't that creepy?

The rest of the dream? Who cares. Just a common dream.

Here it is again, Easter, the only Christian holiday. I don't care about the homeless. They're adults, who walked the path that got them where they are. There are plenty of shelters. The church I used to go to had all sorts of outreaches. Homelessness is a choice. If it's mental illness that keeps them on the street, meds are free. Most of what we see is because of drugs and alcohol. They chose to use them, as they choose not to use shelters or meds. Am I hard? Yes. Too bad.

Kids, on the other hand, I care about. It's not odd. I used to be a father to the fatherless. Literally. I was their shelter. I won't rehash that old tale. There are other tales, but I won't go into them either. My point must be that love is a choice. A feeling too, of course, but a choice. I chose to love the helpless, rather than the irresponsible. I'm wrong about the homeless? Sure I am. So what. I'm not wrong about abandoned and abused children.

So here it is, another Easter. I could bury myself in theory and calculations, the way I love to do. Remember how I demonstrated, with many infallible proofs, how the Crucifixion occurred on a Wednesday? It did. How could that matter, when the world is so filled with misery. I've never really gotten Christmas. Present Day. How is it Christian? Jesus was born? Nothing special about that. It was a miraculous birth? No, it was just a birth. It was a miraculous conception? Yes. So Conception Day should be the big holiday. Same thing with Easter. A man came back to life? That's pretty huge. Even huger is why he died. Resurrection Day is just the proof. Crucifixion Day is the reason. That Jesus rose is good for him. That he died is good for me.

Do you see the theme, here? No, of course not. I've buried it.

Life seems empty and pointless. Things don't matter, mere things. I've lost all sense of meaning, I see no justification for suffering, I am resigned to going through the motions, holding like Job to an integrity that amounts to a vice. I can never be strong enough. I can never trust. I can only stand with my back to the wall, waiting for the next betrayal. It's only logic that allows me to believe in hope.

Is there some drug I could take, so I could sleep without dreaming? What kind of world is it, where salvation depends on death? I know the answer. It has to do with waking up. And how I love to sleep.


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