I’m home now, so I didn’t think I’d have time to post for the next two weeks. But sisters are gone and parents are asleep, and the need to explore my thoughts drove me to the keyboard.
Everything I want to say seems cliche. The more deeply I feel about something, the less in touch I feel with words lately. The more delicate the feeling, the more limited my vocabulary … and the more subdued my creativity, which would otherwise allow me to come up with other words to dance around the feeling if not pinpoint it exactly.
But here we go, I’ll give it a try, and it might sound lame to me and the universe. (This is my disclaimer.)
I guess lately I’ve felt lost. Unable to communicate well with those around me, at a loss for what I really want, for what really moves me, and distanced from words, which were important to me for a long time. My parents felt more like strangers, as they often have felt to me in life. So did home, in general, and so I never thought the answer would be here. And maybe it still isn’t, but when I talk to my father, I see clarity. That’s what I wanted to say. (It came out faster and clearer than I thought it would.) I don’t know him as well as I wish, and it always feels like even if we talked for hours and hours, as we have in the past, I still woudln’t know him as much as I want. And that makes me sad, more distant, but also thankful that he’s here and I’m related (corn).
You see, I hate that. Why did I just do that there with the last parentheses? There was a time when I could just say what I want and mean it, then be done with it and not make it all awkward. But I make it awkward for myself, as I do for others sometimes … and sometimes I get so lost in all this awkwardness and unfamiliarity that I’m lost for words and pictures and action. And then I feel like I’m standing at a crossroads, with a million directions crossing all around me … and I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know how it got like that, but life travels fast, often taking unexpected turns or stopping at random spots altogether, waiting for you to start it up again. And it’s during those times that I think faith is helpful. It can be faith in anything you want — religion, the sun, a talent. I choose God and this world in its purest form: nature, unprocessed food and sentiment. All these things, no matter how bad or confusing life gets, I believe are guides. I really do. And I believe if you have those, you can never be poor.
I don’t talk about this belief often in my life outside the computer and private journals, because if I do, I am stamped as “naive” or as a person of my age of 23. I find that most others just don’t understand what I’m talking about — and often, don’t want to hear it either. Younger people usually don’t want to talk about it, and older people dismiss it as naivete.
But I have this deep faith in this faith that I just discussed, and I believe that it’s the key to guidance and balance and patience and everything we think we need from transient things but really don’t. I’ve battled to put this idea into words this whole year, after not thinking as much about it for two years. (Coincidentally — or not — I had pretty much stopped private writing.) But many times when I sit down and write now, my thoughts drift back to that.
As I was saying, I often don’t talk about it aloud. And at times, when life smacks me with many pangs all at once as it often likes to do to people, I find myself stumbling and wondering if I really am just naive.
But other times when I see more clearly, I feel that I’m not naive at all. And I like having this faith, which seems to have so naturally instilled itself in me many years ago.
So here I was tonight, sitting in the living room with my father. We listened to two CDs I made for him — a compillation of various rock and country tunes. The songs were beautiful, full of sentiment, and they put us both in a warm, contemplative mood. We talked throughout, and thankfully the music was loud — it shielded our voices from other ears in the house and made the space between us quiet enough for us to hear each other.
My dad was moved by the songs and asked me if I liked them too or if I’d put them together because I thought he would like them. I said that I also liked them, and he thought for a minute, then said, “Then this tells me that you have a rich world inside you and have spent many hours in the pleasure of your own feelings.” It’s a beautiful thing to be able to do this, he said, but it makes you vulnerable too. “And I’m fairly certain that if someone could give you the choice of feeling and loving and the choice of having all the money in the world and not feel as much, you’d go with the first.”
Then he continued on to tell me what he believes … that being able to feel these things is the most important, in his view, because it connects us to God, and that feelings and nature are expressions of God, and that’s why he believes both are of utmost importance. And that if we have the freedom to feel, we have the freedom to choose, and we recognize the importance of that freedom. And that then money loses its importance, becoming secondary to these things, and we realize that mondy is only a means to make our life a little more comfortable, but it’s also is a hook that creates more needs and cares, and both of these can limit your freedom.
Then he continued on to say that if you recognize the importance of this inner world and this freedom, even the choices you’ve made that didn’t turn out so well are a favor from God … that you were able to make them in the first place was a favor, and nobody promised you that they would be the right choices, but having the freedom to make them is better than not feeling moved to make anything at all.
I listened closely through all this, and I found his words ringing so true that I felt transported. And the much needed clarity and reaffirmation of my own thoughts resounded deeply within me, my eyes swelling with tears.
No matter how clear it all was, I was mortified to be crying in front of my dad, and I was just at a loss whether to tell him I was crying because I agreed with everything he said or because I’ve been struggling with having made some wrong choices to the point of frequent near-suffocation and his words now come like an anchor to help simultaneously ground me and give me a rope to grasp and climb up from under the water. (I didn’t feel like going into the wrong choices though, so were he to ask, I was ready to say the first.) But he didn’t ask. He thought I was crying because I was “vulnerable,” as he had first guessed it.
Anyway, it was nice talking to him again. It really gave me direction — more than he knows. It’s nice to hear this from an older person, with about 62 years of experience. And to feel like that about the choices he’s made — and let me set this straight, he’s made some hefty ones (i.e., living with mom, who doesn’t talk to him and makes shitty comments about him and relatives from his side in front of him, making it awkward for all) — takes a lot of understanding and love.
And what I think has helped him make it through all that is his faith.
Apparently, it’s the same faith in the faith I have, and I hope I can have the courage to be like that throughout my life too.