So many things to do right. Again and again. The holy reminders and responsibilities. Being the model of respectability after so many years doing wrong. But the truth is all we ever want is to let loose and be free and think and see and share so that we can love without regret.
It wasn’t meant to be like this. The restraint and fear. Negativity and tears.
God—and by now I’m sure there is one—didn’t want you to obey or hate or believe he was a man. He simply wanted you to feel. Because when we feel we know things that others don’t know.
Like a girl falling in the woods and a boy trying to save her.
My wife painting pictures of butterflies. My son beating up a bully. My daughter making flowers with paper and markers and scissors. My Dad working swing shifts. My Mom wondering what she’s done. My brother drinking his way to acceptability. My other brother just trying to tune his guitar. All of us a moment away from being great. All of us one stitch in time from being dead. All of us afraid of cashing in the winning lottery ticket we have in our back pocket.
I was playing Monopoly with the kids tonight. Kurt Cobain was whining about being dumb on Pandora. I mentioned that some people thought he was a pioneer. Moved my thimble to Boardwalk. I stated that everything was different because of him. The kids listened a little. Passed go. Collected $200. I wondered how one man and his sadness could change music, memories, and the current of time. I told my kids that if they ever felt really bad, that if they ever got to a nasty place where nothing seemed to matter and that things could never get better, they should call me. That I didn’t care how old they were, or what they were going through, or what they had done, but that I would be there for them.
I made them pinky-swear they would never hurt themselves and to promise that we’d be together forever.
We cut Monopoly short and watched Annie. Not the good one, but the new one with Jamie Foxx. The kids ate popcorn and Cheese Nips. I drank Merlot. I was relieved when my father-in-law called and wanted to talk with the kids.
My daughter knows that she is loved to the moon and back.
My son knows his Papa’s got his back.
And I am certain that I’m getting closer to understanding my notion of God and acceptance and faith and hope and that the greatest thing about it is that although my beliefs may share similarities with others, they are completely mine.
A man can rise above his past.
Boys can save girls from the terrors of the woods.
Wives bring color to the world.
Board games and suicidal rockers bring Dads and kids together.
And family is the key to understanding the spirit of everything.