A year ago today we spoke not of homophobes masquerading as bureaucrats, projecting their personal perversions upon decent folk simply longing to pee in peace.
A year ago today we knew not of divisive poseur tyrants-in waiting, whipping up a delusional privileged few into a bully storm of intolerance, vomiting notions of “building walls” instead of tearing them down.
A year ago today we weren’t yet grieving forty-nine families grieving.
No, a year ago today we touched victory. And love. And peace. Even if only for a spell. A year ago today we flooded the streets in celebration of the revelation that for the first time in American history, most ALL people were finally freed the privilege of plunging heart-first into the marital mistake.
A respite, a ruddy hint of what “We The People” are truly capable of, a year ago today was a very good day indeed.
Enjoying a few too many cocktails recently, I was describing the following post, which had only up until that point been scribbled somewhere inside my head. To my tipsy surprise, the friend with whom I was speaking told me that I definitely needed to publish these thoughts. Understanding they may very well have been equally as tipsy as I, still, now I have.
Please don’t ever think that you have nothing. The only nothing you have, is the nothing you refuse to let go of, ignoring all the everythings around you in your ragged pursuit of it.
Let’s put it this way: imagine you’re a child at a party. Not just any party, but your birthday party. Your party, spent slouched in a chair sobbing, holding a deflated crippled balloon flaccidly in your lap. You tried to breathe new life into it, but every desperate effort was damned as the molecules of heaving air escaped through the unseen, unforeseen gash towards the opposite end. Weepily raising your head towards the sky you bellow at No One, lamenting the fact that this balloon – this very special singularly unique balloon – is no longer thriving, no longer yours to adore.
Your caterwauling never reaches its wail-volume potential however, being muffled instead by the tens of hundreds of bright balloons surrounding you – at this very moment bouncing off against your head, neck, back, and flanks. All of them full, vibrantly alive, and desiring of your attention. Bouncing joyfully in the hopes that in catching your tear-filled eye, they might persuade your entrenched frown right side ‘round.
These balloons not only absorb your mournful yelps, they also have the power to sooth your pain, muffling the hurt similar to the way they do the dirge. At the risk of taking the analogy too far, these balloons – these hundreds of balloons that are afloat especially for you on your special day – have the power to lift you up straight up out of your misery, up even out of yourself.
More often than not, this scenario I feel finds us choosing to ignore the hundreds of joyful choices around us, focusing instead our energies in attempting to resurrect the death that lies before us, this torn past unreturnable. If you’re like me in this, I’d remind you again to please not be that way. I have learned through my own wasted exertions that the nothing that once was will never again be. For even if it does come back ‘round, it will be something different than what is was before, something familiar yet new.
Truly, the nothing you think you’re trying to hold on to is already gone. It mightn’t have been your fault, but that isn’t the point. Let it go. Let it go so that you can grab on to the everythings that are right now at your door, beckoning to you, begging to lift you up as they too soar.
So please, don’t ever believe that you have nothing. For any nothing you do have, is simply the nothing that you alone choose to keep.
I’ve struggled with this one. Both in committing the words to paper, and in pondering whether to even publish them at all. I only decided on the latter recently because I will this Sunday be one year past signing papers that free-fall gave me back to myself, at a very heavy cost.
This note serves both as a capstone to my final stage of grief as well as a promise to those of you going down a similar road, that it does end. And you can in fact not only survive, but grow from the experience.
As always, I hope you enjoy…
To date I’ve learned to let go of:
Your allegiance towards your tribe over me,
And my understanding of what family truly is.
Your manipulation of my life towards meeting your individual goals,
And my complicity in this to ensure your happiness.
Your disregard over my own goals while doing so,
And my disregard of same.
And my courting temptation also to fill the hole you left.
Your persistent denial of,
And my surrogate guilt over, your perfidy.
Your continued attempts manipulating me and the circumstances, well after you’d no more use for either,
And my sense of injustice over witnessing it.
Your deception in purging me from your family and our friends once you’d wrung me dry,
And my understanding of what allegiance truly is.
Your eventual success in doing just that, even with my very own children.
All in the same fashion, one at time, over the course of time. Taking your time. Much like a form of water torture wherein the victim loves the water more than oneself.
Your every effort in having me erase my own life,
And my willingness to do so.
Your total and complete denial over all of the above,
And your narcissistic lack of regard for me throughout.
You early on joked that we’d never divorce, as you would kill me first instead. I now realize just how serious your intent was on the latter part of this jest.
I didn’t die though.
I’m still here.
And since I am, the last thing I need to let go of, the very last item I will lose through this useless and hate-filled rape of my proffered love and trust, is my anger towards you.
As such, and whilst I’ll most likely need to remind myself manifold times over the next few months (years, decades, whatever), you are forgiven.
You are forgiven.
Find peace. Get well. Treat your next love like they matter. Treat your next love better.
Or don’t. Ultimately it’s your choice alone, for it is no longer any concern of mine.
When we were first starting our journey another lifetime ago, we often compered ourselves to the Baileys, George and Mary. We were the ones who “stayed behind” to support the two aging families. We were the ones who had children to carry on in the same. We were the Baileys true and true, because though we had but 2 dollars to our name (yes, called papa dollar and momma dollar respectively), we were the ones that had each other and the dream…
It’s a Wonderful Life ends too soon you see, that’s it’s problem.
It ends just after George has his breakdown and subsequent salvation, but well before Mary has her very own mental destruction of a sort. A breakdown that couldn’t be fixed by any mere bell-ring wing hopeful; as Mary would never listen to opinions – heavenly though they may be – differing from her’s anyway. A breakdown that would eventually cause her to run off, indulging in “adventure” – replete with a newly purchased boot knife – all while pushing George from the house, from her life and from the life of his children. A breakdown that would eventually drive her to want to even kill George, if not in the flesh, then at least and more importantly in the spirit.
And George in fact, did die.
More completely than he ever realized was possible.
Not in the flesh, but at least and more importantly in the spirit.
He died very painfully, and for a very long time.
Just long enough in fact, to take root.
You see, in his death, an odd thing occurred. George became aware of something. In his death, George began to finally understand what that cross-hugging Israelite Lover of Life (the very One who took His own in celebration and protection of it) had so long ago said about not being able to truly live, until you had first tasted – and indeed drank of – the rusty cup of death. Not through his own wisdom alone surely, George was somehow able to recognize the fact that his death wasn’t so much a defeat as it was a victory – or at the very least an opportunity to achieve the victory that a long time ago he had willingly given up in order to obtain what he thought would be, if you’ll pardon the pun, the “wonderful life.”
The angels sent this time weren’t Mark Twainian flaming rum punch enthusiasts either. They were actual breathing, living, thinking, loving and bells-be-damned speaking people. OK, and possibly flaming rum punch enthusiasts as well. People who dispelled George’s self-hatred and loathing through speaking their truth of him to him. A truth he hadn’t heard for a very long time (15 + years to be exact), and a truth that through their persuasion he was finally willing to believe to be so.
A truth strong enough as to bring him back to life.
And with this belief, plus the tears that had watered and nourished him as he taken root, George was able to begin to grow again. Not even “again,” really, but rather, to grow anew.
Yes, that’s it – George began to grow anew.
It’s a Wonderful Life ends too soon you see, that’s it’s problem. Ending where it does, we don’t get to see the full story. I suppose that’s the case in almost every tale though. There will always be endings that are really just beginnings to even deeper, more meaningful tales. There will always be a moment in the story where we feel that “happy” is at a maximum, so we cut it there, afraid to carry on much further. And in so doing, we all – as C.S. Lewis once taught me while I was still a young Zuzu’s petal pocket-cramming naive father – sacrifice True Joy for mere happiness.
In the case of the Baileys and the tale we’ll never know, I pray that this George at least is never again satisfied enough with the latter, as to forego the purposed pursuit of the former. I pray that this George at least – and that all of you – are able to truly live, and enjoy moving forward towards, Wonderful Lives.