Monday, July 6, 2009

Another triangle

I listened to my father share a memory from his boyhood in the Netherlands during World War II. A sad story of a family forced into the back of a truck. Children the same age as he, never seen again. He spoke simply and powerfully.

He has shared so few stories about what it was like to grow up in an occupied country. He shared this story, not in the intimate company of his patio on a warm summer evening but in a theatre, in front of 700 people, as an introduction to a choral piece that was being performed that evening.

It was a tidbit of emotion, of feeling, from a man who is tightly controlled, who taught me that men don't cry and who taught me that I also have to solve my own problems. And we never talk about whats going on inside. He taught me to use the tools that he used to survive many fearful episodes in his own life.

There is a part of me which would like to make this about me. To cry about the lack of intimacy between him and I. There is a part of me that is very thankful to have heard this story. To be shown a little of my father's internal landscape. A piece of his soul, so to speak.

There is a part of me that wonders. Wonders about my Father, myself, and my son. About the dance of relationship. I never wanted to become what my father was to me but ended up the same or worse. I hid from my pain through pornography, through endless bottles of red wine. My son, who hides his pain by the use of narcotics.

I can easily acknowledge that I cannot make the relationship between my father and myself different than what it is. I am learning to be content with the snippets that come out as time passes. Learning to live in the un-ease that is part of our relationship.

It is much more difficult to make the same acknowledgement for my son. He has never been my puppet to control. I've never been his Higher Power. He walks his own path, deals with the dis-ease of his addiction how he chooses. The path I walk to stay in recovery is not his path. I need to constantly remind myself that he is in God's hands. That the circumstances that he finds himself in are part of his path and that I am not the composer. I am not orchestrating the events of his life so that he could turn over his will and life over to the care of the God of my understanding. Not my job nor my responsibility.

I'm not sure how this dance I dance with my father and my son will end up. I am only responsible for my life. Continuing to make a living amend by staying sober and clean. Keeping my bit of the sidewalk clear.

This particular chapter from the big book has much to teach me:

Everybody knows that those in bad health, and those who seldom play, do not laugh much. So let each family play together or separately, as much as their circumstances warrant. We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, thought it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn't do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of miser, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence. (page 132, Alcoholics Anonymous)

Photo credit: Pansiero


Lou said...

The older I get, the easier it is to forgive my parents "all their mistakes." And it's much easier to see hom my reactions mirror what I saw and lived growing up.

I can honestly say after working an AlAnon program, that I gave mothering my best effort. Did the best with what I knew at the time. I'm letting myself off the hook, and I hope you do to.

Indigo said...

I always swore I wouldn't be my mother and the relationship between my daughter and I would be far different. It was, yet I still had the same problem connecting with her I had with my mother. In the end as you said, you can only do your best. It may not be the best in either your fathers or sons eyes. They have their own best to come up with. (Hugs)Indigo