Dear me…

There is a shameful secret that I have held for many years now, and it goes a little something like this: At one point in the bible, Jesus advised that we should “love others as we love ourselves.” To me, there had always been a sense that there could be no greater insult delivered upon another of God’s creatures. To me, this was a blasphemy beyond reproach.

This week, The Blogging Lounge tasked us with writing a letter to our younger selves. What follows is that which poured from my mind to mine…

1625656_273472326153861_1640554043_n

Hey.

Do me a favor, OK?

Look into the mirror.

Yeah, that one.

Now, look into the eyes you see in that reflection.

Go ahead, look deep in. Gaze deeper than you’d like, deeper than you’ve the strength to. Deep enough to see what truly lies behind.

See the being that resides within those eyes? He’s beautiful, right?

No?

Well, then I guess our little chat here is over.

OR…

Or, you can look again. And this time, you could try it with an honest and open mind.

See?

He is beautiful. He’s beautiful, and he is YOU.

Now, I’m going to tell you something. Something that you won’t believe. Something that almost sounds insulting on the surface – partially because it is. I’m going to tell you that you will spend a large portion of your life trying to avoid this Truth, relying instead upon the retarded opinion of those around you who’ll want to deny it themselves. Those few whom you seem hellbent on assigning a credence they simply never have earned, nor even now deserve.

In fact, I am going to go so far as to tell you that you will willingly seek out those who will greedily clip your wings, simply so that they (and you, to a certain extent) can deny you your flight, use you to their own ends, and then simply discard you as they would the bone of a fatted calf, after they’d sucked its marrow dry.

And you? Well, you’ll allow it happen of course – both professionally and personally – you’ll almost hand select, and give your unwavering allegiance to, those best poised to fulfill your erroneous prophecy of self-defeat. And you’ll do so simply because flight is scary.

Because beauty is scary.

Because Truth…

Well, you get the point, I’m sure.

Hey. Do me a favor, OK?

Please, don’t let your Beauty scare you.

Don’t let Truth – your unique Truth – scare you.

Please, don’t allow your fear to corner you into simply accepting What Is, instead of What Could Be.

Take flight. Don’t stay grounded merely for “safety’s” sake, for another’s sake.

I’ll tell you something else. You will realize your dream of being a father, of being a dad.

And even though certain wing-clippers – those untrustables whom you did anyway – will try to steal even that Joy from you, your Apples will need you to be a strong tree. A tree that truly loves itself as it does others.

So look into the mirror again.

As long as you can look into the eyes reflected there and acknowledge the Beauty that truly resonates within, then those cherished Apples of yours, along with the others you love – they who already see your Truth, and love you in return – and even you yourself will come to find the perfect space.

I promise.

I promise, and I look forward to meeting you there one day, high above the fray.

Love,

t

•••

Joseph’s choice*

Joseph was given a dream.

That’s all. Just a dream.

Mary had a bloomin’ angel bust into her house to give her the news. But all Joseph received, was what could have easily been attributed to one too many glasses of smashed up fermented grapes before beddie-bye.

Joseph had to live his whole life wondering if that dream was a truth or not. If his “Son” was the result of the Lord’s plan, or just one ill-advised and possibly regretted interlude.

Mary has been honored ever since.

Given top billing right next to her Boy, in fact. Prayed to no less, by many who seem to think that J.C. made this an option, somewhere along the line within his three years of tutorials. It seems odd, given what little faith was needed on her part, especially considering the fact that she knew she hadn’t done anything, and again, there was that bloomin’ angel, standing smack-dab in the middle of her living room.

And Joseph?

Well, poor old Joe wasn’t even remembered by the Gospel writers. Nope, right after his part was played, he was unceremoniously escorted off the stage, never to be heard from again. We can assume he died – most do seem to go that way. But if he did while Jesus still breathed, we never even get to hear about his “Son’s” reaction. And if Jesus was the first to go, then Joseph’s tears and anguish were never written down for posterity.

Again, Mary rocks it within the gospels, right through to the bitter end. But Joseph is left forgotten. Ignored. And maybe even with his final breath, still wondering if the angel’s message was really just after all, only a stupid dream.

Georges_de_La_Tour._St._Joseph,_the_Carpenter

I’ve always had an affinity for Joseph.

Not only because we share the joy of fatherhood, but because I too have quite often felt – incorrectly or not – ignored in the whole scheme of things. Forgotten. Yes, even by J.C. As a result, for many years I’ve waved the Joseph flag to anyone who asked, simply because I felt that he needed to be defended.

I was wrong in thinking that of course. Joseph needs no more defending than his “Son” does. Joseph needs no adulation, similar to that being provided Mary by her cult, either. No, I believe that Joseph is just all right with the way things went.

Joseph – whether he truly believed the dream or not – chose to tell the angel that appeared in it that he would. Joseph – even if he was in the final analysis, history’s most gullible man – voluntarily put his life at risk then, and several times afterwards. All while defending a wife and a “Son” who weren’t truly his, just for his chosen belief, which truly was.

Again, we’ve no idea what sort of lessons Joseph imparted upon Jesus, nor how much of the Son of Man’s personality was weaned from the man who chose to believe in the Son enough, as to sacrifice his life for Mary and He. But when my children offer me the mantle of “Best Dad In The World,” I’m quick to remind them that – while I am honored – I feel that it’s actually Joseph who deserves that title. The man who gave all for his charges, and was then all but forgotten by the very ones who benefitted most from his sacrifice of ensuring that the “Son” (possibly of just a man), could live long enough to become the Son of Man.

Joseph was given a dream.

And he chose to believe that dream – to believe in those who were part of it. That’s a sort of faith that is stronger than reason, and that’s the sort of man I currently struggle to be. For my sons, my daughter, my friends, and for me.

Merry Christmas.

* My gratitude and appreciation to Rev. Ellen Brauza, who’s insight and wisdom served as the inspiration that finally allowed me to put down into somewhat coherent sentences the above trail of thought.

Move On Up

“The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn’t thought about it.”

~ Sylvia Plath

Copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I wonder,

How can someone so singular in mind,

Be so double in their standards?

How can someone so longing to be freed from outside opinion,

Be so ready to compartmentalize all others?

How can someone so desiring of respect from this very same outside,

Be so ready to marginalize all those who would freely give it.

I wonder,

But in knowing that no answer to my puzzlement is forthcoming,

Decide to wonder no more.

•••

Deciding that Rochelle’s image provided a near-perfect excuse to empty my mental closet of some very old and unneeded worry, I jumped full-on with this week’s Friday Fictioneers. I hope you decide to jump on (full or otherwise) as well…

David’s White Coat.

You might think that it should be The Clash, but it won’t.

Or possibly Judas Priest is the one band you think I’ll address today, but they’re not the winners either.

Surely you all know me well enough to know that it couldn’t possibly be Bobby Darin, as I do so loathe going with the over-the-top obvious in these matters.

And to those who know the inner me very well as well, perhaps you think The Bolshoi will be the band who rates my five, but even these lovely lads will be passed up for today.

And they will be likewise treated, as even more important than they, New Model Army has for many a year led my heart’s fray.

First formed in 1980, and still recording and touring till this day, these boys out of Yorkshire, England first captured me in 1988, with my unplanned purchase of their self-named EP tape (one of the many such bands that I came to love, after purchasing their album based SOLELY upon the artwork) – an EP tape that awoke my melodic and social senses with an immediate kick to the mental stones, partially due to their message of bleached lab coats gone mad…

David, my dearest friend and mentor during my stay in Jacksonville, North Carolina, at a little USMC air station called New River, chose this very song to last-dance to when he was leaving, discharge papers in-hand. And while that experience burned into my memory cells, it would prove to be a different N.M.A. song altogether that highlighted the “Tribe” that I had found for the first time ever, during those stormy days of my youngish life…

Appearing on their “Thunder & Consolation” album – a disc that would forever change the way I looked at people, “Vagabonds” was only bested by the following little ditty. A song of no consequence, unless of course, you listened to the lyrics…

Like many bands in my life, these boys and I parted ways at some point, though neither one of us will ever truly know why. And it wasn’t until we reconnected that these avowed witches were able to (once again) help to explain to me my avowed Christian beliefs, all while talking to me about “me…”

Once we reconnected, I went on a mad flourish (yes, complete with wrists a’ flailing, if you please) to catch up on all their efforts that I had missed out on while being absent. And as a result, your bonus track for today comes before track #5…

But alas, track #5 must ALWAYS come, and in the case of New Model Army, and in relation to a 44-year-old post-punk punk, the following provides strange consolation to an oldish man getting ready himself to be reborn…

Since 1988, they’ve spoken to me, consoled me and urged me on. I’m quite certain they never knew that they did so, but I’d like to thank them for the favor none the less. New Model Army – you should check them out.

•••

Jen, God bless ya for starting Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday, and God bless ya even more for providing us with the “favorite band” prompt for this week.

mixtape-jenkehl1-300x300

Happy Feet

She is an inspiring artist, and a wonderful sport. I love her vision, and have longed to use more than one of her pieces as prompts. With one of her more recent works I blurted out my desire, and instead of politely ignoring me (as she should have), she actually invited me instead to go ahead and do as I wished. Dear Elena, I truly hope I don’t disappoint you with the following…

Copyright - Elena Caravela

Copyright – Elena Caravela

The shoes are key.

You see, it’s the shoes that always point forward, never back.

And my friend, if you’ve even one that points in the yesterday direction, then I should think it high time that you invest in a new pair!

No, it’s the shoes that point forward. Ever looking towards the horizon. Ever hoping for the next step instead of the last, scary monsters and super creeps be damned.

Be they jaunty or clunky, tight tipped or broad-nosed, dirty or clean, new or old, they carry you on your journey. They are – if you’ll pardon the deplorable, yet necessary pun – with you every step of the blessed (or damned, as the case may be) way.

For you see, while the shoes may point the direction, tis you who decides how they’ll get you to where they’re going. Tis you who decides whether they’ll bounce or thud, whether they’ll crisply cut the low air, or drag along the concrete sulkily. Tis you who decides whether they will move with purpose and speed, lounge along casually with a certain ease of mind, or trawl dead-weighted from moment to moment in sullen despair.

You see, whether you turn to the left or turn to the right is not the thing. The thing is in the very fashion with which you make that turn, and in the passion with which you tarry forth.

And best of all, tis you who decides that, my friend – YOU!

As for yours truly, I had decided several epiphanies back to slap the smile on my face, and screw my best hat – yes, the flouncy one – securely to my noggin just prior to heading out my mind’s door.

True, the rain still comes, and the weather must still be weathered. But I’ve come to learn that it’s not so much the rain that stops me, as it is these very drops of salty wetness that serve to create me – making me who I am and who I might someday be.

The smudges these sky-fallen tears leave are worn with pride, not embarrassment. And much like the shoes that are charged with moving both them and my own good self along, on our way forward we all march gaily to the ‘morrow!

•••

I hope you come along too.

And yes, I am ending today with this…