Tuesday, January 7, 2014

so people do belong people

There is nothing in our Faith that places some people "out there" while I am "in here."

One fine fall day, I was frantically running around before the show began: getting my family comfortably situated; greeting people; making sure everyone had tickets; talking to the stage manager; visiting the dressing room.

I went outside to my own happy little corner of the terrace where I knew I could breathe, look at the endless sky, feel the breeze, and clear out my head and my heart.
As I pushed open the heavy door, and stepped out onto the sandy stone, I headed towards my bit of wall and found someone was already there--my father. He had beat me to my spot. 
After a hug, I stood next to him, watching the sun leave the sky, and enjoying silence as you can only enjoy it in the company of others.

Parents are unexplainable creatures. 
The command to honor your father and mother, I have come to believe, is primarily addressed to children who have grown up.
The sassy tongues of adolescents and the petty railing of small children is hardly a dishonor compared to the many dishonors that can be exchanged between adults.
As a small child or as a teenager, you have comparatively very little choice over how you will honor your parents. 
Then, when you finally grow up, how are you going to honor this adult who you may have nothing in common with besides a nose and a mouth and strands of DNA?
There is a mysterious connection between a parent and a child, which you can hardly feel when you are a child and you need your parent to parent you.
But then, comes a strange moment where you reach something we call "independence" and you don't always need your parent to parent you.
You are capable (to varying degrees) of doing your own laundry, you've discovered how to make your own choices and deal (at least somewhat) with the consequences, and you can function as a human being without needing the constant supervision, advice, and care of another human.
That's when you realize that your bond with your parent is different than You, Caregiver, Me, Care Recipient.
You begin to maybe have an inkling of understanding of the mystery of two human beings bringing another human being into the world and civilizing him into a human being, who will then go off on his own and repeat the cycle.

As I stood on the terrace with my father, I found myself comforted by the fact that I have at least one thing in common with this man, who never grows weary of playing "football tag", of telling story after story, singing "I Love to Laugh" until he's blue in the face, doggedly pursues his passions, and is a model of ferocious generosity: we both found the same happy place.
And it's a little corner of sandy terrace under the blue-grey Indiana sky.

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