Sunday
Jun202010

« Fathers Day »

Pig,

From over here, I don't know what to make of your delayed response. But I always knew that I make you squirm when I talk about much else than our usual fare. So I'm gonna be a bit more provocative and throw caution to the wind. If I don't hear from you for a few years, I'll understand. Happy fucking fathers day.

Okay, now the shoe is moving to the other foot for you in particular since you're someone's Old Krunk in the making! Already old, but how Krunky will you become? Seriously though, what is gonna be your great advancement over all the frustration and disappointment with your dad and Larry [step dad] that you grew up resenting and dodging? And how or when are you going to make (or better, allow) that happen? Maybe you're already thinking about this, but what I can't tell from such thin communication is what you're doing. What good will that lifetime of lessons of how not to do things ever turn out to be?

You've missed the joy of hanging out with me in a real formative time since about 2003. Maybe I touched on a few things of concern back when we hung out in 2007 but really I think we were on other topics, and even since then, things have continued to evolve for me. My understanding of the world of the future is rather different than most people. I am neither utopian nor am I apocalyptic. But I do come down on the side of a lot of disappointment according to our typical expectations, but one that holds promise that mostly people don't see. I come down on the great need to mend relationships where possible or create new ones that hopefully don't bring the same dynamics that ruined things to begin with. Among the aspects of my concern is how men relate, since that has been a real formative thing for me. But unfortunately, few men our age have much to learn from people of our parents' age, with some exceptions. Obviously, I don't turn to my old man for guidance in life and love. I've had to turn to a few other figures over the last several years to move to another place where he could not possibly lead me.

Now I know a lot of years have passed and you and I have not been in touch, but I've never known you to be a guy to do this kind of work. I've heard you say therapy wasn't for you. That is one way to do things, but clearly not the only way, and I can't tell if you even did it "right" or long enough, or whatever. (Kelli and I went to couples' therapy for over two years, such was our need, and despite both of us going to solo therapy for a couple years parallel to that, I contend all the breakthroughs were in the couples' setting where I was not in control. That said, we were already long time friends and were rather committed or even married, so we were determined to do the really hard work.) I've never known you to take on other types of relations that I've had with mentors or pastors or spiritual directors, or even to really spend time with people who awaken and cultivate that part of yourself.

You'll notice that I don't have kids yet, even at my advancing age (!). Only in the last seven years—since I was about 30—have I felt that I've turned a corner and begun to grow up and ask bigger questions than the shit that I once concerned myself with. And only in the last 2 years has there been a kind of clarity, even in the midst of total family loss, loss of identity as a musician, heartbroken departure from my home church (an extension of my family via my grandmother), long delayed gum surgery, et cetera. But that is how this goes—that self had to all die so another one can be given life. That, in a nutshell is the transformation that Christians talk about as death and resurrection. You may not like that language, but it is addressed in every kind of honest spiritual discipline, so central an experience in human life. Obviously I didn't engineer this whole string of events, but I sort of intuited that I'd need for that to happen before I got on with the kid program. I still prefer the idea of not having kids anyway, for other reasons, but one thing I promised myself after the whole Robin thing was to not get caught in that bind again, but really because I had really no idea who I was or what the fuck I had to offer any kid. There is some focusing, but still no interest in the kid program.

I've had a few nephews that got taken out of the picture when things with my sisters came to naught. Those are kids I won't be able to either teach nor learn from. My family on my mom's side is nearly completely fatherless. My family on my father's side is dead but was clearly too slanted in the heavy handed patriarchal approach to male modeling. I am in the middle, able to witness all their failures. One side has too little male influence and the other too much. One distorts the idea of what it means to be a man by looking at things through the eyes of numerous hurt women who take on bad masculine qualities, and the other is equally warped by the absence of women, or the old style submissiveness of women. Despite all this has to teach me, that setting is not the place for me to ever practice anything I may have learned. So pardon me if I take my mission to you. Even at the distance you keep me, you're still a far more willing conversation partner than all of them, even on this type of stuff.

In a couple months, I will have known Kelli for 20 years, been romantically linked for almost nine, married for six, and in that accomplishment, we both will have eclipsed the durations of all our parents' marriages and relationships. Obviously we didn't just watch our folks grow old and content in happy marriages. We didn't learn any of this type of stuff from them, not by example anyway. I realize I can't expect that someone else asking my thoughts on relationships will have a decade long friendship to launch them or our particular interests or motivations, but in some ways, that didn't do much more than introduce us. We still had to do the hard work in therapy—balancing power and roles, learning compromise and hearing what the other is trying to say. We've incorporated that where useful and shrugged off some that wasn't. But that we have decided that all the dysfunction we were presented was not the lives we wanted to live was a great motivator. When we realized that we had a true ally in each other, then we started moving forward. But that of course, in the last 5 years since our eviction, was not so easy, and it asked a lot of change for us.

The Ed you knew up till 2003 or so was quite an unmotivated, uncertain, unfocused fuck. Asleep. Often, I think of that time and don't know the character involved. My options were to die to flesh and be all done with it (just about went for it one day), or to die to false self and let something else happen in me. It wasn't a "moment" or a conversion; it was a process that still is at work. I'd been prepared to expect something of that sort around 30, but I was dreading it up till then, and have only by degrees left that life behind. A larger life is what I now lead. Better grounded. Awakened. (The Buddha was so named because he was "one who is awake.")

I dunno, Pig. Resist or delay at your own peril. One thing I can say for certain is that I know not one of my family has done any personal work that paves the way for this type of transformation. Little surprise they can't bear the one among them that has made some strides. But for them there is stagnation and spiritual death. Then the big one—feeding the worms. So I guess I am now recruiting the people who, like Marty Eldridge of Rockola said in one of his mentoring moments in 1995, "will be the people who help you live" (instead of the ones who suck all your life energy and "help you to die.") The ones who we deem great in this world are the ones who have undergone some type of internal transformation and come out the other end, renewed, made whole, reconnected somehow to a larger source of life, and thereby made more able to generate life for others. Ideally this is what should happen between generations; but obviously our parents were not conditioned to have that type of growth experience and journey. It is not even their fault; this is the type of learning that has been pushed aside in pursuit of other goals like money, fame, status, and so on. But for those of us who know that and are disgusted with the fruits that those things bring (and I know you are), we need to pick up the threads and try to make something new. We need to claim our brokenness and make it an asset, and help other people recognize the same, so maybe, just maybe, there is a hope that this isn't all just a futile waste of oxygen and carbon molecules. Consider it the recovery of meaning in life. You in?

Just a little thing to think about... Happy Father's Day, Bradder.

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