Monthly Archives: June 2012

Oh Daddy please, you know you’re still number one

There are often posts in My Small Corner about women.  What can I say? Its a topic I can’t help but be interested in, being one and all that.

But this weekend, in honour of Fathers’ Day (et Fête des Pères), I wanted to post briefly about men.  I can’t help but be interested in them either, but for entirely different reasons, you understand.

I’m reading a book, whose title shall remain a secret for now (I hope to blog through it a bit, so don’t want to raise expectations or spoil the surprise!), and I’m glad it arrived when it did.  I’ve just read the Introduction and the first chapter and already it has given me stuff to think about in regards to my Daddy.

He’s what some people might call the ‘strong, silent type’ – maybe not outside of the home (he is a salesman after all), but growing up and still now, conversations between myself and my dad are short and sweet.  The effects of this common father-daughter relationship are the stuff of psychotherapy dreams I’m sure and often leave me not really knowing what to think about our relationship.

But what I realised in reading is that my Dad has worked a job his entire life which is really hard graft for sometimes minimal return.  Why?  Did he choose this kind of work?  Did he, as a little boy, dream of trying to sell goods in order to eke out a living for his wife and three children?  Probably not the stuff of dreams for him.  However he took his culturally assumed responsibility as ‘primary breadwinner’ seriously and did what he could to make sure we grew up with food in our bellies and a roof over our heads.

Sure, the divorce of my parents is no fairytale ending to what was/is our ‘family’.  The way it all played out was no ideal either.  The consequences are ongoing and the pain still real; the temptation to point fingers and shake heads is hardly negligable and yet…

I am grateful that he spent himself on providing for me the best way he could, the only way he knew how and he did a good job.

Thanks Daddy.  I love you.  Happy Fathers’ Day.

 

 

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The Name

It doesn’t have a name.  This thing that pulses in my gut, it has no name.

 

So how do I pursue it when I don’t know what to tell the driver?  Follow that car!  Which one? Er.. the one with the… in the… where the…

 

I shrug helplessly and sit back down on the bench in Park Frustration on Despair Street.

 

I know.

 

It has beauty… creativity and freedom and colour.

It has connection… conversation and sharing and tears of all kinds.

It has discovery… understanding and newness and joy.

 

But it doesn’t have a name.  At least not within my current vocabulary.

 

So what do I do?  There are no maps for No-where, no buses to Every-where, no GPS satellites anywhere.

 

Take root here? Go anywhere but here?

Cry out Hope and shout down Fear.

 

Pick myself up, look at the horizon and start walking.  Spend time in Beauty, cultivate Connection, pursue Discovery.  Hunt it down, seek it out. Find.

 

* * *

 

But what happens when all roads seem blocked?  When there are no doors, no windows… Just this bench called Waiting.

 

Choose still.  Wait in Hope, weight in Fear.  Does the cut wood build a boat or fix the roof in preparation for the coming rain?

 

Will it come at all?

 

The reign of hope over fear.  Known and unknown.

 

The rain.

 

Untamed.

 

The Name.

 

Face upturned, open hands.  I wait.

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Me in my… world.

I just read this post on a blog I really like and it got me thinking about the idea of imagination as our capacity to enter the world of another.

The author of the blog talks about how she’s making a conscious effort to slow down and to “walk alongside into the dark alley” of her children’s minds.  It sounds a bit weird out of context, but trust me, its not!

In recent times, I’ve been thinking about my place as the youngest in my family and how, on reflection, I’ve realised that my immediate family’s strong point was not to allow my artistic sensibilities/emotional sensitivity the space I needed it to have.

A quick example… At the age of about 9, or maybe younger, my grandmother moved out of the house my mum had grown up in and that had a significant place in my young heart.  A fleeting moment on the stairs with my eldest sister: “Where will all the memories go?” I said (and can still feel the wistfulness with which I spoke), “Don’t be ridiculous” she replied “The memories will go with us!”  She was right, but…

There’s something about that original blogpost which helped me see that the “sticky plaster” of such a quick response to my inner world was indicative of a whole way of interacting that was teaching me to keep the doors closed, rather than inviting me to throw back the bolts and fling wide what God had given me to bring to his world.  It taught me that those intimate stirrings of my imagination and empathy were not welcome and perhaps even Bad.  And I did NOT want to be Bad.

Furthermore, when the intimate imaginings concerned are fears, like in the blog, a failure to “walk alongside” in that dark alley only reinforces that the alley must be walked alone and that it really is to be feared.

***

Someone I respect and trust recently suggested that I may need to consider the role fear is playing in my life.  I’ve never thought of myself as a ‘fearful person’, and I’m not sure I am in the way that I usually understand that phrase, plus I’m not currently in a situation that I consider “normal” on which to judge that.  But what I DO know is that I often talk about my fears; the words “I’m scared that…” are often on my lips.  Whether they are on my lips more than on your average person’s lips is hard to tell.

All I know is that when I outwardly express the fears that exist in the inner world of my imagination, I am not looking for quick-fix “Oh don’t be silly, of course not, it’ll all be fine”.  Partly because sometimes in this broken world, our fears are well-founded and sometimes will come to pass despite all efforts to live the fairytale ever after.  But mostly because I want some company in the alley.  I want someone to hold my hand as I look the beast in the eye, to consider its heights and depths with me and to enter my world and say “I understand”.

Then we can talk about the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and ‘probably nots’.

It takes time and effort to do this, you see.  Its rarely our first inclination.  Especially when it comes to fears or suffering – we can be pretty quick off the mark with the spiritual sticky-plaster platitudes.  Consider for one moment, however, an eternal God taking the time and effort to grow through nine months of incubation, babyhood, infancy, puberty and so on in order to illustrate – in full-colour, high-definition, flesh and blood visuals – a firmly resounding “I understand”.

Wow.

 

And I think a little bit of Brian would not go amiss here.

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