The Dull Empty

 

With our youngest launched off to college this fall, we are officially empty nesters. When I have mentioned this in conversation with various people, the usual response I get is, “wow, aren’t you lucky! Sell the house now before they return!”

I don’t get it. That is anything but how I feel and if anything, it’s the opposite. Don’t get me wrong – there are a multitude of small things that don’t raise my ire anymore, like tripping over the pile of shoes in the entryway, or the trail of backpacks, school work, dirty socks and hoodies leading from the front door to the pantry, or the front driveway that has looked at times like a used car lot. But, the truth of it is that all these things are indications of what I cherish deeply – the company of my children.

And while I have been anticipating our youngest’s departure with excitement for him in his new journey, I have also recognized that I have been grieving for this transition; fearing the moment when the house will go unawakened in the morning, no longer jolted awake by blaring alarm clocks, squawking radios, and whining blow dryers.

Gathering dust and bed sheets that go undisturbed now mark the time until their return during the holidays. Until then, I am left to my own thoughts about what I was, and was not as a father, and the inevitable dull empty of not being able to do anything more than to ask their forgiveness and remind them that one day they will ask for forgiveness from their own kids.

For what they will be as a parents, and not.

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Kissing the Divine

 
We were finished.
Money was transferred, accounts were closed.
“Job well done,” we’d said.
 
And then the request appeared,
like a gravy stain on white linen.
Ignorant of our intentions.
 
“But wait. It’s not right,” they protested.
But. Can’t. Should’ve. Won’t.
I feigned politeness in my rejection.
 
They didn’t take it well.
Accusations. Protestations. Begrudging acquiescence.
“It shall be done,” I agreed in martyred surrender.
 
“To serve the Divine,”
the voice through the earbuds said,
“is the highest calling.”
 
Really?
Are you certain?
There is no other way?
 
To forgive,
to apologize,
is as a kiss.
 
And so I apologized,
against every desire of my ego.
And the Divine kissed me back.

On Judgement, Forgiveness, and Icebergs

Things happen in my life, some good, some bad. Some in between. The truth of it is I have very little control over what happens to me. And yet, what I do have control over, I give that up too by choosing to believe that I am defined by what happens to me.

If I kill it at work, or with a new client, or on a run or turning laps in the pool, then I feelScreen Shot 2014-01-12 at 7.35.11 AM outstanding and I see myself in that light. And then the other shoe drops, when I have a crappy day and get my ass kicked by a disagreement with my wife, or the stock market dumps, or I am betrayed by someone close to me, then I define myself by those events as well. And so it goes, swinging from one definition to the other, judging myself by these events and all the while, giving up the essence of who I am.

How do I get off this roller coaster? In truth the emotion, whichever direction it is heading, is often more seducing than the antidote. And further, the forensics of unpacking my pathology can be even more beguiling.

“Why? Why? Why do I do this?” I lament, while quietly fawning over my self-absorption.

Forgiveness. It is the knife that cleaves the busyness of the mind, from the essence of who we are.

Forgiveness

I forgive.

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I forgive who, and what happens to me.

I forgive myself for wanting to believe that I am that which happens to me. 

I forgive myself for wanting, for it means that I do not see who I am.

I forgive.

This is not to say that I do not feel outstanding when I have a great day, or feel like shit every time something, or someone, conspires against me. But, that I do so with forgiveness. And the ship heading for the iceberg is not me, but me that is the iceberg.

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