Friday
Apr072006

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Lee,

I would like it if we could meet up sometime soon, and possibly on some ongoing basis. I'm doing some searching for something. I think I'm needed somehow, for something, but don't really know what just yet. I've been feeding my soul a little better lately, and things are basically good, but I want to have some other guidance toward whatever it is I should be.

The short intro is that I'm really getting fed up with material stuff and want to somehow break my habit, or to put it in its place. I talk about selling all my stuff so I can get clarity, maybe for the first time. Computers, musical gear, all this extra stuff is not what the brochure said it would be. On the other hand, I own it, I can do something with it, but what would I do for it to do the most good?

I'd just like to have some good talks that leave me feeling charged, and I get the sense you are at least one of the people who would have that effect.

I will tell you this. In the past six months, there have been three different occasions that I've found myself in, and each was to commemorate someone's life. The first was a memorial service for one of the elders at our church whom I knew a little when I was younger and less so when I returned in 2002. But his memorial brought him to life for me as many folks got up and told their stories, and the reception continued to bring more stories, and when his children sang a couple songs on that cool and cloudy fall afternoon, they literally sang the sun out from behind the clouds! I kid you not. The songs were "Blue Skies (Nothing But Blue Skies)" and "I Can See Clearly." The sun actually came out for the few minutes they sang these songs and then it retreated afterwards. The next event was your birthday party a few weeks later where some similar magic happened. I was sort of a wallflower that day because I didn't know anyone, but I felt at home, like among people who would be great friends. And again, hearing what your kids had to say to you just hit me where it counts. And most recently, Jerry Lawritson just marked 20 years at our church, and there was a bash just two weeks ago where people I've known and some I did not know got up and put in their reflections on Jerry's ministry and friendship. Again, this whole event just got into me where it counts. This time I was at least able to put my two cents in, and nodded to Jerry's huge role in my life, being the one who talked me down from some ledges.

So I've taken a little joie de vivre from these events—birthday, anniversary, memorial—they all just resonate for me. Though, to be honest, in each case, I wonder about something tremendously personal and how I can confront it when the time comes. In each of these events, a good sized crowd gathered around some men of integrity, passion, and other admirable qualities. And in each case, their kids got up and spoke or otherwise added to the choir of voices that gathered around to help make the day special. And in each case, the nagging voice in my mind provoked me to wonder if such a thing would ever happen not for me and my good, but for my father. My father is a few years shy of 65, probably many more years shy of his memorial service, and the same age as Jerry, sans professional tenure. Men of his age begin to reach the significant milestones of age, profession, character development, etc. I find myself wondering what I can do, or even if I can do anything for my father. He is a man who has done everything within his power to alienate people from him. He has successfully done that to everyone in his life. I was the last one to be chased from a stucco and wood box that he owns. I was the last one to be reduced to a hindrance to his financial life, or a fly in the ointment of his conscience. The man is a product of the same generation as you, but turned out so vastly different. He refutes God. He refutes all the things I want in life, mainly because what I want is a life that he can't weigh, measure, and otherwise quantify. This is more than the 29 year generational gap. This is a paradigm gap between he and I. I've already been married longer than he was to my mother (and I haven't been married two years yet). I've made some progress to being unlike him, and still have more to do. But what concerns me is how to separate from him without totally abandoning him, which would seem to be an unChristian thing to do. Still, I can barely tolerate five minutes of talk with him, even months apart. His mind is one of materialism, quantification, sarcasm, inflated ego, selfishness, and a host of other things that are generally dehumanizing, at least to me. I'm sure he has other qualities that maybe are so dormant as to appear dead, but they hardly register anymore and who knows what it would take to awaken them. I was thinking the awful conflict we had last summer would have jostled something. Nope, he hunkered down.

I find myself pondering what sort of 65th birthday he'd have if I didn't make any effort. Would it be him, the TV, and a day spent in the garage making some recycled engine cough and sputter? Who would fill a room to celebrate him, whether he was alive and well, or a memory? I don't think he has quite the life giving presence that would invoke such a response. I would feel bad totally abandoning him, but as such, I know its just a leech on my energy to try to maintain much with him. Even a small batch of real honest and heartfelt letters to him have seemingly disregarded. He says he didn't even read the most essential piece I wrote to him. Or maybe he was lying to avoid facing truth that I was born to him, I am not of him.

Anyhow, this is something that resonates in me now, as you see. There are other things that I'd love to just explore with you. I've sort of shelved my peak oil awareness effort for now while I indulge life this way. Peak oil is a crisis to be dealt with, sure, but right now, I am getting off on the "why" to deal with it. If you can find some time, I would be greatly appreciative. The quieter the better. I have rather large chunks of the next two weeks off from work.

I hope you are well.

Shalom,

ed

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