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February 26, 2021

9 of 40

I cannot meet the Spring unmoved —

I feel the old desire —

A Hurry with a lingering, mixed,

A Warrant to be fair —

A Competition in my sense

With something hid in Her —

And as she vanishes, Remorse

I saw no more of Her.

Emily Dickinson

It was below freezing this morning. It was a bit of a shock.

A few days of mud, and my mind changes – just days after shoveling snow.

The tyranny of hope compels disappointment, and it happens every day, without reason. I think of my brother who insisted on giving our father’s eulogy. My father had been virtually cruel to him, without a touch of violence or a gesture of love. My brother’s inability to be my father crushed both of them.

My mother and I had no idea why my brother wanted to speak at the funeral, but he did. A greatly theatrical (and rehearsed) speech was made: my father was in every way Perfect, Noble, Learned and Exceptional.

He was, in fact, an exceptionally intelligent man, who had never gotten over the loss of his mother at one, and, from the time he could, he drank each night after 5pm and was forced to stop in the last months of his life. And he stopped smoking, then, too.

He also was merciless in his conclusions of, well, of everything. My brother was, loudly, “a failure”. Consigned to the necessary obligations that a parent has to a child. The damage was complete and uncharted, and ended 4 years ago, 15 years after our mother died, when my now sister ended her life.

But at my dad’s death our father was, for my brother, A Perfect Man.

Spring is the hope of leaving winter.

We are given that hope, it does not derive from anything other than history and nothing. We are also given fear, of what has not happened, but is hard and real and controlling even if it is not true. I think if we could control anything, we would have less hope and fear. But we do not control who our parents are, what season it is, when and how we die. Unless, like my sister, you give back what you have been given.

We cannot give back the spring. It will be there, seen in the mud and melt and touch of temperate breeze. This season of inoculation is that spring in This Year of Lent.

Millions of Springs will happen for 6 months. We gave these springs to ourselves, but we did not make the intelligence that made vaccines, or the plague which crushed a year. No, God sourced pretty much everything that is not us, and, oh, us too.

In a season of hope in control, it would be nice to have faith in the good, My brother never had faith in the love of his father. He hoped that God, in the form of religion, could be that father. That, ultimately, did not happen.

In Lent, religion tells the shrinking few who listen that removing a thing we love and control, teaches us that God lives beyond our control. I think it works two ways, If we try to create an image of Our Father, when He is dead to our understanding but useful to it, we absent ourselves from the “grace that passes all understanding”.

Unlike our vaccines, we do not know when or what Spring will be. We do not know who our parents will be. Like God, both just are. And they are not us.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Janice Gruendel permalink
    February 26, 2021 7:59 am

    We have many ways of “making sense” of our lived experiences — some anchored in reality, some anchored in deep desire. We all have trauma in our lived experience. Each of us makes “sense” of it in our own way, some ways more healthy than others. Love you, Duo.  J Love Listens. Kindness Matters. Hope Heals. Janice M. Gruendel, PhD, EdM. What About the Babies? Bridgeport CT & Pickens County SC Senior Consultant, Bridgeport ProspersBridgeport Resilience Project  Research Professor, UNC Charlotte College of Health and Human ServicesFellow, Zigler Center at Yale University(c)

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