A Summer With My Father

I have been sad as of late. Human’s get sad. My sadness has a lot to do with my the ongoing encounter with difference – the difference between what I actually am and what I dream to be. The distance can be suffocating. I believe I can be more than I am – more professional, more published, more listened to, more capital, more socially valued. MORE. It’s the obsession of every addiction. I’ve been learning how vacuous “belief” can be when weighted against the actual. I have to practice states of gratitude. It’s actually a practice. Just like the ridiculous amount of running I’ve been doing takes practice so do these precious qualities of consciousness – faith, hope, love, gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, even heartbreak, even mourning. I have to practice.

So I thought I would reflect briefly on something that I am very grateful for – time with my father. People keep asking me what I’ve been “doing” this summer and it rubs me wrong because I immediately expect a better answer from myself like, “I’ve been making loads of money and being awesome! What the hell have you been doing?!!” BUT, upon a deep breath and a moment of reflection I’m struck with a humble gratitude at the simplicity and beauty of my reality, “I have spent a great deal of time this summer with my father.” What a gift! I was recently sharing this thought with a friend and I heard myself say, “I believe that I’ll look back on this summer with deep gratitude.”

I remember being called downstairs to my fathers work bench to endure his instruction on woodworking or a striped screw or a house hold plumbing problem. This summer all those lessons have been revisited as we have worked on my house together. I say “my” house – inheritance and responsibility are intimately linked – it was my grandparents home. My father grew up in this house. I painted his room purple. I painted a green ombre wall in another room. We’ve solved plumbing problems – those are like achieving small miracles. We’ve laid quarter round, completely gutted and remodeled a bathroom. He’s been showing me things that “men” should know – little things – like chainsaw maintenance: “Shit. Ok, I’ve got to stop and sharpen these little blades now?! So, when I’m putting on plumbers tape I have to tape clock wise, ok.”

I’ve stopped attempting to explain to my father C.G. Jung’s theory of synchronicity or how Christianity and Darwinism can be complementary; I’ve stopped trying to make him someone he’s not, but damn if I don’t still have so much to learn from my dad. I told my friend on the phone that this summer will in all likelihood be the last time my father and I have such an opportunity. My father is growing elderly. His ability and mobility is decreasing – ever so subtly yet steadily, and I continue to grow and professionalize. Its doubtful that I’ll have the time and space available to me.

So, I am grateful for the time I have with him. He just bought me a 100psi air compressor. It’s setting in my living room. I have no furniture, but I have an air compressor! Thanks dad.

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