This has been a difficult year…
And this is not always due to our actual decisions and actions but in watching life in its oddity played out in the lives of others. This is especially true when it is the lives of family members. All too often it is due to wrong choices being made and then having to live with the consequences of those actions. It is addiction. It is selfishness. It is the Un-holy Trinity of Me, Myself and I.
Initially, I was so optimistic about the beginning of 2012 but right out of the gate the dismal downward spiral began. It is so difficult to sit back and watch self-destructive behaviors without getting stuck in the mire yourself. Even though I have been watching from the sidelines, cheering during the good times then contrite, even despondent during the difficult times, I am resolute about not being my son’s enabler.
He is in jail for the second time this year and is awaiting sentencing...
The wretched part of this is watching what it is doing to my spouse and the depression that overwhelms him at times. There are times when we cannot even articulate our pain to one another.
Sometimes we sit in silence as if we are in mourning, for surely we are. We are sitting Shiva for a life that purposely denied its own potential and possibility.
When we find the words we speak of anger, of hurt, of disappointment. We speak of an unfinished life that held the seed of promise.
We know and we agree that he can never come home again. Oh, he can come to visit, but he cannot come here to live. He is thirty-two now and we have been dealing with this since he was fifteen. We are weary.
We agree our focus must now be the grandchildren he is leaving in his wake.
I wonder about this pilgrimage that God has placed before us.
Not unlike walking the Camino de Santiago, we must firmly place one foot in front of the other and move purposely forward even when our feet are blistered and bloody. Perhaps what we are struggling with is the “why” of this pilgrimage. Why are we on this walk? Where exactly is it leading us? Are we approaching a fork in the road where we have to make a choice or definitive decision? Is this a proving ground of sorts? What are we to be learning from this experience?
I often wonder if there are other families who struggle with the wrong decisions their own children or family members have made and have ended up in prison. Is there the possibility of establishing a Support Group so we could draw upon the strengths of each other and in wisdom and love lead others to not make the mistakes we have made?
But in the meantime…
I began an online class to learn Desktop Publishing. Next I plan on a creative writing class. I fill my days with the routine of work that keeps me focused and sane. I have daily devotions and readings. I wonder if my prayers only make it to the ceiling and go no further. Surprisingly, I am finding solace in silence. That somehow reminds me of the Simon & Garfunkel song Sounds of Silence:
Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Then thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never shared
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
In the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered the sounds of silence
Funny, isn’t it, how one thing leads to another? This very song was one I sang as a lullaby for my daughter. Wasn't that just yesterday? Where did I lose my autoharp? When did I lose my voice?
My daughter, the strong, independent woman whom I birthed has become a magnificent person in her own right.
What can we learn from pain?
We only need to ask the new mother about the pain that births beauty.
I am seeking beauty and wisdom from this process, even if that requires my brokenness.
Until next time,
P.S. Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding.