Over a year has passed since I sat in my pastor’s kitchen shortly after speaking with my mother on the phone. Over a year has passed since I cried, alone, for no reason (there was, of course, a reason – many). Over a year has passed since I told my wife that I was trying to will myself to have a heart-attack so that I could just Stop and Rest in a bed. Over a year has passed since I began seeing a wonderful therapist, sessions which came to an end late last fall. Over a year has passed.
In that time, I revisited a great deal of my past, much of which I have written about here, in this blog, where I have laid bare, as it were, a good deal of myself. In that time, I have let go of all superstition, and it has changed my life. In that time, I have learned to let go of control, and focus more on how I react to what occurs. In that time, I have smiled more and yelled and worried less. In that time, I have been far more present than ever before. In that time.
So what? Big frickin deal, right? You had a moment, you felt really sad, and now you don’t. It was really that easy, eh? You have found the answers to all life’s persistent questions. Maybe you should write a book and tell people how to live and how to think. Maybe you should write a self-help book full of pithy advice and slogans and simplified Bible verses taken out of any context. Maybe you should tell people that if they try hard enough, they can overcome anything!
Ugh. And No. Like John Snow, I know nothing. At least, nothing beyond what I know. Or maybe it is better said that I know what I do not know with much more clarity that what I do know. You know?
Here is my story as it stands: I am six months into a three year position change at work where I am 50/50 faculty and administrator. I am raising a 16 year old who is now driving, a 12 year old who is feeling his way into puberty and healing, and a 15 month old who is winning every cuteness award ever given. I am someone who spent the last year focusing on healing his mind and heart, but now needs to remember his body. I am someone who began writing a blog, but has left, untouched, a novel that has sat for over a year, waiting to be revised and then sent out. I am someone who just celebrated (6 months early) his 20th Wedding Anniversary with his fantastic wife on a tropical beach with his favorite band at the fanciest place either of them have ever experienced.
But that is not so much a story as it is a surface-summary that, if you know me, leaves out a great deal. The paragraph above is more a collection of facebook updates missing the photos that accompany. But, to be honest, that is all I am willing to give insofar as what is happening right here and right now. I am living all of that, and it is beautiful and messy and difficult and fulfilling and exhausting all at once.
But it is none of your business, which may seem odd seeing as how I have shared a good deal of my business here in this blog. But my two boys and my girl do not belong in here except in “facebook update” form. My wife and I, who we are together (and we are pretty damned awesome together) is something for the two of us.
So what is left? Shall I simply provide a picture of my wicked beard? Start a beard blog? I am certainly not starting a parenting blog. I am 16 years into parenting and I have not read a single parenting book. Not my thing. I have not read any adoption books either. I have both, at home, on my shelf. So what is left?
The answer is simple: write. This blog has been cathartic, yes, but it has not been healing. I am not writing to heal. This blog is exercise. This blog is work. This blog is my journey to discover, to quote Wallace Stevens, “what will suffice.” And over last summer and into the fall, what sufficed was me telling my story of how I returned to the world, how I crawled out of a hole I did not know I was in until it was nearly too late. I am out of that hole now. No miracle. No Ah Ha moment. I can just see more clearly now; rather than a circle of distant light if I look up, I see light all around.
So what is left? Everything. Horizons all around. What is left is for me to keep writing. For me to keep telling my story in whatever form that takes. But to remember I am telling my story, not another’s. To recall the dictum that I am writing to show and not to tell. Maybe those stories will take the form of remembering, or as Toni Morrison puts it, re-memory-ing. Maybe those stories will take the form of fiction. Maybe those stories will take the form of responding to what is in the air at the moment, whether it be politics or sports or entertainment. Maybe those stories will creep out of spaces both sacred and profane.
So here it is: I want to keep writing, and I want to keep writing here, in this space; however, I do not want to stay on this topic forever. This chapter is over. It has been for a few months, which is why I have been absent from this blog. It is time for a new chapter. What that will be I do not yet know, but I have several ideas. If you keep reading, I will keep writing. I have a format that I like: I tell my story, I infuse it with connections to bigger life issues, and I tie it in with current, concrete events. This opening chapter told a specific story – the following chapters will do the same. I invite you to come along with me. Let me know what you think. Respond in the comment section. Send me an email. If you are nearby, let’s go out for coffee or a beer. I have let go of the jinx, let go of reason, explored aspects of race and adoption, touched on the 2016 election, and alluded to part of my story that will, for now, remain private.
But I am not done. I am just beginning. Horizons all around.