IN THIS EDITION OF RADICAL EXPRESSION, I FELT MOVED TO SHARE WITH MY CURRENT READERS AN ESSAY I COMPOSED BACK IN 2002. IT IS PART OF A COLLECTION THAT WILL BE PUBLISHED UNDER THE TITLE "CONSIDER THIS." WHILE I CAN FEEL GREAT EVOLUTION IN CONSCIOUSNESS SINCE THIS WAS WRITTEN, IT ALSO EXPRESSES A SENTIMENT THAT WILL FOEVER BE A PART OF THE FABRIC OF MY BEING. LET IT INTO YOUR HEART, MY FRIENDS. YOU WILL TASTE THE BEAUTY OF A FATHER I WILL FOREVER LOVE.
June 11, 2002
As I contemplated a particular life challenge within the pages of my journal I found myself writing the word “Trust”. As I gazed there at the word, not sure why I had written it, or how to proceed from it, I saw within my mind’s eye that word written upon a green screen. It really wasn't a screen, per se. It was a wall. An institutional green wall, if you know that color. I smelled beyond the incense that was burning upon my altar the antiseptic smell of a medical facility, and I was transported to the day room of a V.A. hospital in Chillicothe, Ohio. I am fifteen years of age, and I am feeding spice cake to a man in a “geri-chair”. He stares blankly ahead while I continue to patiently give him bites of the cake by hand. Utensils are beyond his use at this point in the progression of his disease. Perhaps you see, as you read, an elderly gentleman of shriveled stature. In actuality, he is a man of only forty. Early onset Alzheimer's has taken him to a place undetectable beyond the stare. It is his birthday, though he knows it not. I do. I am his son. He knows not of that either. He seems to like the cake I have baked, and so I feed him. I am not known, but I feed him because I need to know. To know that I have acknowledged, in some way, the birthday of this one who gave me life. To know that there is some small thing I can do in this hell over which I am powerless. I cannot bring him back. I cannot make him know me. But I can feed him cake. I can wipe his chin. I can, even while still a child, be the father of my father.
The depth of feeling that arises from this image jolts me back to this day thirty years later, and I am still looking at the word “Trust”. The pain I thought had long ago been healed echoes through my being, and for a second I fear I shall be sucked into a vortex of swirling darkness, of excruciating vacancy. Only the expansiveness of my awareness keeps me in place, an awareness that is too large by acceptance to be sucked down any black hole. Trust. The remembrance of Father’s Day enters my mind and the paternal nature of my God. I see again the man in the geri-chair, and I grapple with the trust. He was supposed to feed me. I needed him! I needed to be known by him, and yet he stared. How can I trust? Where were you, O Divine Father, when I was covered in spice cake and salty tears? Like the Psalmist and the crucified Rabbi who quoted him, my soul screams out: “Why, O Father God, hast thou forsaken me?” Where were you in my pain? How do I learn to trust in a world where boys feed their fathers and are fathered by mothers who themselves weren't fathered? Trust? Trust, you say?
And just as suddenly as memory carried me to the room in Chillicothe, I am within the awareness that the Father was present as I fed my father. And beyond that, I fed my father FOR my Father. The institutional green becomes the color of my temple and the antiseptic, my anointing oil. I move..…..I am led from pain to peace, and in that peace, I trust.
CONSIDER THIS.......In a moment, I will hit the button “send”, and with my words I'll send my heart. Our heart. His and mine. I do it for us both. I do it for us all. There is no “my” pain or “your” pain. There is “the” pain. The pain of trusting in a world where boys feed their fathers, and fathers forget their boys. But while in this world, I choose to trust. I trust in my Father and in my ability to father. After I send my heart into the cybersphere, I shall go to visit in a facility with similar institutional green walls, and I shall feed cake to those who know me not. I do not feed them to be known. I feed them to know……to know my Father and to Be my Father here on earth for those who have forgotten. I do so, grateful to that father long ago transitioned. I do so, grateful to that boy who fed that father. I do so, grateful to Be a man who still chooses to feed. I do so, grateful to my Father in Whom I trust. Pain to peace, my Father…….I Trust.
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