Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Reflections on rememberence of bad things.

So, I have some kind of a cold.  My brain is fuzzy and eyes ache, so no posts for my adoring fans. Sorry.  I am putting a large amount of concentration into breathing and sitting up at the moment.

And I am a little blue.  This happens, it is no longer the earth shattering thing to me that it once was.  I just feel a little sad and want to surround myself with my friends.  Except, because I have high standards for my friends, I don’t have any in this craphole.  So I drink a lot of herbal tea and try to talk to my friends online, and call the ones who aren’t at work.

At the moment most are at work….

And I am also trying to write an autobiography.  Eventually this autobiography will be edited and polished into a really great story: How I overcame the false paradigm I grew up, my search for one that worked, and what that paradigm ended up being.

But right now, it is just the early stuff, the story of the brokenness that gives meaning to the putting myself back together.  Its not a fun spot to ponder.

Many things that happened over the years, I told myself that I did not remember clearly.  That surely, these events did not happen the way I remember.  So, calls to my family and friends, questions asked, and lo and behold, it was the way I remember, and sometimes worse.

At the same time, old devils don’t seem quite as evil anymore.  When everything is written out, when you remember in the context of what was happening, instead of remembering int he context of the emotions you felt, the hurtful actions of others make so much more sense.

Just one example will suffice…

My father was a drug addict.  He got high the first time when he was 9 years old on prescription medicine.  From that point forward, getting his next high was an increasingly dominating obsession. Returning from Vietnam, where heroin was cheaper than Budweiser, he thought he might want to quit, but didn’t think it was that serious yet.  Of course, by the time he realized how serious his problem was, he found he couldn’t stop alone.  And thats was a problem.  He had never told his wife he had a drug problem.  When, at 40 years old, he realized he needed support to quite, the one person in the world who could have supported him had been lied to for 17 years.  Every long hour at work, or missed check for 17 years, every odd story or bit of personal weirdness had been but one of infinite number of lies to cover his addiction.

So when he told mom,  she freaked out.  Hardest of all for her to believe was that he had lied to her only about the drugs.  How, was it, she wondered, that he had been so desperate for drugs as to use dirty needles, but claimed he had never touched another woman?  How could she trust a man who lied great and small about everything for nearly two decades?

The conflict came to a head when my father became increasingly active in AA and NA.  My mother was not convinced that a bunch of lairs, manipulators, and drug addicts, all getting together to share a cup of coffee every night was an ideal situation for personal recovery.  She, in essence, gave my father an ultimatum between the Program and her.  She, by the way, was recovering from cancer at the time, and was so exhausted from chemo and radiation that she had trouble walking the 100ft from the car to house at night.

My father had felt enormous guilt over his addictive behavior, often suicidal. To have his wife attempt to take away from him the one thing that could heal him, was to him, like having her try to cut off his legs.

So who was right?  Dad left a broken woman to go play recovery.  Or did mom kick out a broken man desperate for recovery.  Who’s the good guy.  Who’s the bad guy.  The answer is pretty simple to say, though hard to accept.  Everybody did their best.  Mom’s fears and reaction were reasonable.  So were Dad’s.   Did it suck?  Absolutely.  Was there a better way? Not really.

Dad left. For 6 weeks we had no father at home.  When he got back, I wish I could say that everything was dandy, but it wasn’t.  Working through 17 years worth of abused trust takes some time, and for my parents, a lot of yelling, and occasionally throwing things.

In a perfect world, mom would have wanted dad to recover so bad that she wouldn’t care who he hung out with at meetings.  But in a perfect world he wouldn’t lied to her for 17 years.  In a perfect world he would had stayed with her no matter what.  But in perfect world, he wouldn’t have been a drug addict for 31 years. In a perfect world, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. We don’t live in a perfect world.  We don’t make choices with perfect insight.  We all just sort of muddle through things as best we can.

Sometimes, choices are black and white, but often we must chose which shade of gray is the lightest.

I don’t like it, but I keep finding more of them: Places were I got hurt, and when the layers are peeled back the person who hurt me did it didn’t hurt me on purpose.  They had their own shades of grey to deal with, and their own bagage to carry while they did it.



July 14, 2008 Posted by | Religion, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Your loss.

As I write, I let the music flow through my soul.  I see the little white house at the end of the lane.  I see the row of abandoned cars.  I think about the way people looked at my clothes; the way people asked why my family didn’t do the things that theirs did; the way people laughed at me when I talked about my dreams.

Last night my wife and I had a friend over.  My wife and I are not the people that we married.  People grow, people mature, but we love each other still.  Becky talked about how different she would be if she could go back to where she was but being who she is now.  She wondered aloud if I then would still be interested in her if she was so different now.

Considering this I said, “If you had said, ‘I’ve never met anyone like you before.  I want you. I want more of you.  I want more of all of you. I want to know you better.  I want to see more of your soul and your body.  I want to go deeper and know more of everything that makes you, you.’ I would have melted chocolate-like into your hands.”

Upon hearing this speech our friend remarked, “That is the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. If a man said that to me I would be his.  We would go through the pretense of courtship, but I would just be his in every way.”

So, these are the magic words.  As our friend said “That is the most beautiful thing…” I was suddenly a younger man.  I was not the man I am today.  I did not have my own place, I lived with my folks.  I did not have a new car.  I did not have a good haircut.  I didn’t have any of the outside things that mark me as who I am.  I was just a desperately lonely boy, the seed of a successful life planted but not yet growing.  Many years ago and miles away, I laid my heart of the table with those words “I just want more of you.” It wasn’t a plea for sex, as she well knew.  It was admitting to her that I loved her, as she had told me she loved me tearfully months before.  But I, thinking that a woman wanted a man of integrity, had told her, to wait.  She’d said it while crying over the loss of her boyfriend (my best friend), and I wanted to give her sometime to really think about whether she meant it or not.  She cried then too.  I was so understanding, so mature, so kind.  Yes, of course she would think about it and give me time to think about it.  Anything for me, this man who treated her with so much respect.

And those words, “I want more of you.”  Followed not by a smile, but a sneer.  It was all a mistake, Israel.  As if I would feel that way about you.

I was the same man, the same heart pumping the same blood.  The only thing different now is that I look on the outside like what I always knew I was on the inside.  Hearing ‘today me’ say “I want more of you” a friend says its beautiful.  Hearing ‘then me’ say “I want more of you” a friend says, “You?!”.

Once, I believed that I had forgiven everyone who ever hurt me. This was because I believed forgiveness was pretending everything was cool.  Well, it’s NOT cool.  Some 10 years later it still stings around the edges.  She could see the broken down cars and little shack at the end of the lane, but she couldn’t see the man who was going to rise above it.  She could perhaps see the the brittle brokenness in me, but not the steel at the core.

I’m sneaking up on my life.  I threw it away when I was about 16.  I not quite back to where I should have been when I was 16, but I am sneaking up on it.  So to the chorus of voices who saw the Wal-mart glasses but not the fire behind them, I just want to say one thing for closure to each before I move on.

Your loss.

April 23, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment