礼品之路 ( Lǐpǐn zhī lù ) – doing hesitantly

When I was young, I was so certain.

So convinced.

So sure in my choices and my beliefs and actions.

And now, I look behind me.

And I do not see a beautiful trail of wild flowers.

I see a charred blackness.

Destruction. 

I write about this, because I need to say it.

I need to get it out in the open.

If I leave it unsaid, it will consume me, as it festers inside me.

I notice the blackened ruins, as I am afforded to do again a few things I did 10 and 15 years ago, for the first time.

16 years ago our first child was born.

His 2 sisters short on his heels.

20 years ago, I was fresh from University. 

Newly married.

Starting my first ‘career’.

Now, I’m anciently married, no thanks to me, but thanks to Zuko who patiently walks beside me.

Yet again I’m fresh in a ‘career’.

Yet again I am raising a child.

She is 4.

I think it is in doing these two things again, that I see how I did it before, for we instinctively rely on our experience.

Though, as I try to take tools from the box of my experience, I regard those tools and they feel inadequate.

They were not creative.

They were not constructive.

They did not bring exquisiteness into reality.

They did not even leave what was inherently full, untouched, but broke and took away.

Yet, as I try to do again, I am now at a loss.

For my old destructive ways were not good, yet I have nothing else in its place.

Nothing new to offer.

Nothing different or better.

Just inability.

Perhaps, along The Way of the Gift, that is all I can hope to realize.

My ability-less-ness.

And the inevitability that if I touch, it will not, in Midas-sian-style turn to something precious, but be affected, wilting away, like a flower picked or a tree pruned, dead branches to be thrown in fire.

Yet, she is my daughter and somehow I must be her father.

Yet, I must work, for work is as integral to our existence as eating and sleeping and shitting and copulating.

It is as crude as my words portray.

I don’t wonder about how to eat.

How to excrete.

How to sleep.

I put my head down.

I open my mouth and chew.

I squat over the hole.

And it is done.

But I have no idea, no idea, of how to father my children, how to be husband to my Zuko, how to do the work entrusted to me.

Not in a way that will at least preserve the wholeness in which it was born.

And so I am caught in a predicament, knowing running would not be better, for running will just be more destruction, which I hope to avoid.

And so I pray more earnestly:”Origin of my Being, Source from Whom I come, pity me, ‘miserere nobis’, fill me with what I am not, flood me, flush this from me and drench me with strength and love and self control, drown my inadequacy in patience, kindness, goodness, loyalty, humility and bring me to peace, be my Sourceror, rip out the stone in my chest and give me flesh, so that I can be, at least in these last few days, a different man, behind whom a few wildflowers blossom, or if that is too much to ask for someone like me, then just take the acid from the soles of my dirty feet, so that where I tread it will not whittle and die, but be left to feel another’s rain and flourish despite my presence.”

For now, more than ever before, I know just this one thing: apart from our Origin, seperated from our Source, we are no more than poison and we can do no other than kill.

And with this I can no longer live and still I stumble forward, hesitantly, aware that every footfall is filled with immense potential.

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