There are so many things to write about, but like my life sometimes, there are so many directions and so much to be done that I sometimes get paralyzed, although I would say I'm currently in a good state of mind. There were a couple of days last week that were pretty rocky, mostly because I found out that the job I thought I had was a scam. Although I pride myself in readily being able to detect a con, I was taken in, and by my estimation, he was either one of the best, or I was so determined to have a job that I didn't see the red flags. He had certainly done his homework on me, and appealed to my interest for anything having to do with art. (I was to deliver art supplies) It would take three entries to write about the whole evolution of the scam, but I don't yet feel like writing about it today, but I know I will. Suffice to say I detected the con before too much damage was done, but I'll put it this way. How many times have we heard the phrase, "If it sounds too good to true, it probably is?" I've now learned that through placing my hand directly on the stove, and probably will end up paying at least $800 for my folly. I'll know more once I've filed a police report and talk to the bank.
I'm reminding myself so much of my father right now, who was never in any kind of big trouble, but always managed to be in just a little bit. Further, at seventy five years old, he had no will, very little personal property, and in the five years he's been missing, his irresponsibility has torn the relationship between I and my sisters into something that for now seems irreversible. A missing person cannot be declared dead for seven years without a physical body. His pension and his social security continues to amass, in a bank account in my sister's name, who refuses to communicate about it. As a result, we haven't even been able have a memorial for my father because she will no longer speak to my brother and me. I suppose near the end of his life, he was confused enough to not be able to manifest anything legal, and so the conflict continues, and probably always will. I mention it here, because it's frustrating to be this age in my life and still have to deal with the issue of my father's penchant for irresponsibility, and now the torch has been passed to the son. I've had to face this startling understanding, that the sins of the father, in relationship to the son, can either be expunged or inherited, or perhaps a little of both. That struggle continues in my own life to achieve a level of responsibility that I feel good about. My only reprieve on this issue, however, is the assurance that my father never did anything out of malice. This fact has been so important to me, and I believe, enabled me to forgive my father. In fact, I am convinced that neither my father nor my mother's character included one sliver of the nature of this word, malice. So when I come up against it, and sense it in others, it's very hard for me to understand. One would think as one gets older, that these things would be easier to understand, (some are), but not without consequences when they collaborate with action. As one ages, one can either face these issues with openness or shut the door unto death. I think that the reason my mother continues to retain her sharpness and ability to keep expanding her wisdom is her willingness to continue to grow and face the consequences of her own actions, and to continue to discuss them, the mind and mandate of the writer, in my opinion. And this I say in high praise, as my mother and I continue to deepen our relationship through this process. Honor thy father and mother. I would ad, in doing so, you will reap the rewards of forgiveness, as it turns into the true nature of love.
Martin Luther King said, "We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us." When I read this quote last week, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I know with my father, the disappearing specialist in my life, I had to be able to forgive him at a certain point in my life, or I never would have been able to have the experience with him that I did. Further, I'm convinced that the manner in which I am now telling his story is a result of the forgiveness we experienced. The short span of a life, contains many stories that have no lasting significance, but in the thread of a lifetime, there are perhaps only a few stories that have an eternal quality to them. I believe that those stories are not easily raised, because they only happen when one is willing to fuse waking life with the subconscious. Art is a powerful way to understand them, or to manifest them, but there is also a great risk in doing so. Forgiveness is also a large part of that equation. Forgiveness is the large door at the end of the hall, that separates romantic love from a lasting love.
I listened to Michael Reagan on msnbc the other night. He was chastising his brother, Ron, for disclosing in his book that his father, Ronald Reagan, probably had Alzheimer's disease while he was still in office. Its very interesting to me, that one political party amongst us would rather keep any kind of personal information that seems the least bit 'unpleasant' a private matter. It is reminiscent of the church to me, growing up and reading histories of the saints that were devoid of any scandalous information. The break between the church and my family was partially because members my family were willing to honestly render the truth, warts and all. I grew up in a semi-scandalous life, because members of my family were unafraid of that kind of honesty. I do understand that there are some things that are better left unsaid, but still adhere to a person's right and freedom to honestly share their view of life in its array of full color, instead of the large tableaus of black and white we are mostly fed. There are consequences to this philosophy, and I think I was often the victim of guilt by association, but became able to process this eventually, so that it didn't cause too much damage. I have to honestly admit, that one of the most powerful gestures of this whole shooting in Tucson was the willingness of one of the shooting victims to approach the parents of the evil shooter, and find some element of forgiveness and reconciliation. Dylan Kleebold's father called the school in Columbine during the shooting to let them know that he thought his son might be one of the perpetrators. Can you imagine what was going through this man's mind? The family of Kleebold and Harris were so traumatized by the community that they had to relocate, like the witness protection program. I can't imagine what their lives have been like since.
Late Saturday night, I also watched a show about Ted Haggardy. (the evangelist and preacher who was removed from the pulpit for having sex and buying meth from a gay prostitute) He was starting a new church in the barn near his home. When he was exposed for his crimes against mankind and the body of Christ, he said that everyone he had known for thirty years as a preacher immediately stopped talking to him. I mean, cut him off, and told him so. Immediate excommunication. If this is Christian love amongst the evangelicals, I want none of that kind of love. The deeper levels of love begin when forgiveness has an opportunity to spring into action. What struck me the most was this man's willingness to be honest, and the powerful connection he had with his family. His children and his wife were so authentically powerful in standing by their father. As a result, their sincerity played like Stanislavky actors in the deepest midst of affect memory, truly genuine in everything they said. That's the kind of Christianity that moves me. This was the love that Christ was talking about. If you fall, I will love you. It was plain to see in this man, again, that there was no malice in his actions. I would go to this man's church.
I also had one other significant event happen yesterday, in fact in the middle of much of this writing, I am fully registered for school. Although I taught high school for ten years, I was able to get the job when the charter school movement had just started, and my experience was enough to get me the job. However, I was always bothered by the fact that although I had gone to college for multiple years, I was deep enough into my academic rebellion to lift my nose at anything that smelled like a degree. There is much more to these actions, but as I grow older, I have a much greater perspective on that landscape. In retrospect, my lack of academic ambition, and my distain for it, is probably responsible for my current situation, and my inability to even secure another teaching job. There was an unexpected emotional response to finally enrolling, and I expect there to be more of the same when I finish. So, now I pursue the call of higher education in the midst of everything else that is starting to build. Have a great day, keep malice and bitterness away, for it is the enemy of art and resolution.