Saturday, September 3, 2011

Old man look at my life…

This is a coming of age story.
I bit back tears as I hugged and said good-bye to my oldest son. He’s headed off to college in Manitoba to carve out something new. It’s time for him to shape himself and get shaped in ways that are distinctly different than the ones he has become accustomed to under our parenting. It is a good thing. He is ready. But I know it won’t be easy.
Like it has been for so many of us the challenges and euphoria of the independence of early adulthood is significant. I remember deep loneliness in some dark times when I thought the responsibility that I was taking on was too great. I remember ecstatic freedom at how spontaneous my life could be. It really was a pretty wide spectrum of emotions. I am far too clever to allow my protective emotions to get the better of me – but underneath I want to keep my children from the dark. The reality is that life is dark. Freedom, peace, joy with permanence, and fulfillment come only after one has truly stared into the darkness and seen it for what it is. Walking in the dark is another matter altogether but a good hard look in is essential to know the value of the good things that life affords.
At a time like this, I wonder if I’ve done an adequate job of allowing my children to stare at the darkness honestly and without fear. I wonder if I have prepared them well enough to recognize the value of freedom, peace and perhaps even love. I wonder about the gaps in my parenting that my children will need to compensate for. I am under no illusion that there are many. I think honest parents know that they’ve made mistakes with their kids. Honest parents are conscious of fact that they leave an indelible mark on their offspring. I think there is a lot of guilt attached to that sentiment for many people. Guilt, denial and compensating for both leads to plenty of regret. It’s hopeless; my kids are stamped with a healthy dose of me and thankfully an even healthier dose of Char.
One thing I know to be real is the persistent grace that my children have afforded me. So today I am grateful to have the opportunity to say the kind of goodbye that only a dad can say to his son – the kind of goodbye that will always be followed by hello. Usually when we say goodbye we say it to anticipate a loss of closeness but a father can say goodbye with a sense of anticipation. A dad says goodbye and is picking up the phone to say hello to – I need some cash – or – I think I found a girl that likes me – or – I wonder if you think this car is a good one to buy.
Today this song connected with me. Maybe you’ll like it too.

Bless you Jared…

A pair of hard working hands
Everything that I needed
I got it from the old man
With a nine second dream
He drove the Redlight Bandit
And the grease on his hands
Was the way he commanded
And the life he demanded
It kept us all in a struggle
When he ruled with his fist
It kept us all out of trouble
Even though he would leave
He wore his heart on his sleeve
And by the way that he walked
He taught me how to believe
Old man look at my life
Take a look, take a look
Old man look at my life
cause I'm a lot like you
Old man, old man take a look at my life
Take a look, take a look
Old man, old man take a look at my life
cause I'm a lot like you

Growin' up at the track
He had a reason for being fast
His heart felt like breaking
He'd look right up at the ceiling and
Start again, never breathe a word of his loss
Cause it's not about winning
It's the rivers you cross
And the pain that you feel
Could be the fuel that you use
And if you're in need of direction
Be it the path that you choose
My old man is a legend
He cast a shadow so great
I think of how he is watchin'
With every move that I make
Now there's no slowin' down
There's only settin' the pace
No more dreams to be stolen
Just the right ones to chase
You've been through the worst
Now you know who to trust
Leave them something behind
Before the ashes and dust

Yes and for those of you wondering - yes that was some hard core riffing on old man Young which you can find here