Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I'm feeling a little insecure. Like I've shown too much of myself. I seem to have loosened up a bit in the past few days or week or so or however long it is. Of course it's this thing with my father. A barrier of tension has been breached: repression and catharsis. No great emotional release, just dealing with something that hasn't been dealt with and needed to be.

I return to that place with a level of maturity that is undermined by resentment and anger, but nevertheless provides a solid place to stand. My days in the wilderness are still far from over, but this is an oasis, or a battlement if you will, along the way out. I know, having suffered in the interim the crippling grief of loved ones lost, and the attack of devastating forces far beyond my capacity to counter effectively -- I know how small my power is for good, how weak my influence is, mere gravity, powerful only through mass, and I am small. So I hold no fantasies that I could rescue my father from the pit he has dug for himself.

We hold out hands, we throw out ropes, we raise up ladders to scale tall towers, and maybe it is heroic, and maybe it's just necessity. But tragedy is a surprise only when it happens to us. It is a common thing, statistically, compared to miracles. To understand this is not fatalism. We don't give up simply because we might fail. Fail we might; we still strive. So with my father, who is beyond all human hope of conventional sanity -- it's like the loss of a limb: we staunch the flow of blood, for all that wholeness is no longer possible.

I say I'm feeling insecure. I've loosened my hold on myself, a bit, a little bit. I don't like doing this. Now you see more of me, don't you. A bit louder, a bit more abrupt, less restrained, not as tactful. Unexpected. Abrasive. What I've seemed to be in these pages, I used to actually be. It's more than most people can handle. Life was cruel in the lessons it used to teach me this. And I didn't actually learn them. I just grew quiet and watchful, and more subtle in my anger. What will happen if I throw off this bondage? Because like most insane people, my delusions have to do with a belief that I can survive any trial. But trials are not about justice. They are about power, of which I have so little.

They come and they go, readers of this blog. I doubt that anyone who started with me has lasted. I expect that you won't either. Like friendship -- it is work, the consistency, and mere fond feeling is insufficient, for all that we can meet again after 15 years and feel as if only a night has passed. Because a relationship is not just a state of mind. It's also actual relating. I say this as a metaphor.

My curse is that I do understand the nature of love. It does not fail. It is faithful, by definition. Just as we know salvation by how it finishes, so with love. There's no such thing as ceasing to love what you love. It it ceases, it was not love. So I am cursed to remain faithful to those I have committed to love. Like Jesus, who loved the world that did not love him back.

That's why I'm insecure. When you see what I'm really like, the reality rather than the fantasy you've imagined and imposed -- or the illusion that I've conjured -- your friendship, distant or near, will grow cold. I know this happens. It happened with my father. I was not the son he wanted. It happened with my wife. And so I was not loved. You know what that's like, or would if you looked closely enough. Faithfulness is such a rare thing. More rare than miracles, if not tragedy.



Will C. said...

"They come and they go, readers of this blog. I doubt that anyone who started with me has lasted. I expect that you won't either."

As long as you are writing, I will be reading, my friend.
Frankly, many of your entries belong in books or somewhere prominent. I can read Shipwreck to this day and it affect me instantly. Its positively beautifully touching.

Jack H said...

I'll have to look it up. I just scribble these little things off the top of my head.

But thank you.



Jack H said...

Just went and read it again. Yeah, it's pretty good. A little long. But I meant it. Thanks for the reminder.