I’ve done it! I’m not necessarily sure what it is that I have done, what is the language for this accomplishment, but resolution has been reached. Something inside of me knows more than what it knew before, and I have graduated from one state to the next. A shift has occurred, this is what I know for sure.
My wife says she is proud of me for doing this. (I am thankful that she was with me on this journey, taking photos, bearing witness, being an emotional support when those old negative stories about myself and worth took over.) Proud I have set up this encounter. Engaged others to think about their own absent fathers. Engaged my father. Made it all happen and then followed through. All these ways I showed up for myself, and others, by being active in a healing process that encourages us to step it up–to take a step toward self actualization.
I have met my father, seen myself alongside him. What we share, what we do not. To look him in the eyes. To see him. I know something more about myself that now becomes unshakeable. I have another understanding of truth. My father’s stories of pain and fear, his own losses and disappointments, the ways he’s been knocked down and failed others. His sense of himself, past and present, that keeps him bound and secure, absent and at times brave. He has a mind that is both beautiful and poisonous. Learning to be present with those contradictions, which show themselves in just about everything and in everyone, allows me to not get caught up in reactionary thinking and behavior. I can respond with greater ability (responsibility).
I had questions about my father (Who is he? What kept him from my life?), heard family mythologies, and the questions paved the way and on some quest I went. And the answers were found, and sometimes not to the questions I posed. This trip, this project has had the sobering effect of taking the red pill–I see the charade/carapace/shadows/selfishness/ego/denial/weakness/fear/the man and it’s one less thing to worry about. My energy can move from stuck and go elsewhere. Therefore I can be more dynamic, give my brilliance a few more watts.
This journey has restored humanity to both my father and I–given each of us a peace/piece that may have felt loss. For this I am appreciative. Even for my anger that surfaces in those moments of compassion. I feel the right to express the full spectrum of my emotions because it would be a lie if I didn’t feel sadness, disappointment, shame, and frustration, especially when the man who is my father now asks, and expects, me to help pay his rent. He, who couldn’t take the time, while I was there before his face, to inquire about my life, what I’ve been up to in the last 30 years, and when I got a personal detail in edgewise, he turned the conversation back to him. This too is my father. And there is nothing else more to it.
As cliche as it may sound, the truth does set you free. And sometimes it sets you free in increments, one encounter at a time.
What I know is that the picture has gotten bigger. I see the leaves for the forest, too. Why some people take leave, why some stay true to their bark.