Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Trust30, day 23: Courage to Connect

Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who is one person that you’ve been dying to connect with, but just haven’t had the courage to reach out to? First, reflect on why you want to get in touch with them. Then, reach out and set up a meeting.

There has only been one event like this that took more courage than I knew existed to perform. I'd like to reprint here one of my earliest entries in Amazed and Amused. It is the complete essence of today's prompt. This was originally posted 4/28/09 and titled "Chipping Away at the Old Block."

Cute title, don't you think? A real play on words especially with a picture of me and my father taken in Florida in March sitting below them. However... some "old blocks" can't be chipped away at. Sometimes you just have to stick a ton-and-a-half of dynamite below them, light the fuse and hope you don't wind up killing yourself in the process.

Yeah, for me it was that kind of trip. If I had to subtitle it, I would tag it "Process can be a bitch."All I can give you is a taste of what happens when you know that there is major emotional baggage that you've been carrying around for way too long and you decide at some level, "That's enough."

My father and I had our rapprochement back in 1995 after my younger brother died at 35 years old. He was my only sibling and at this point I had not spoken to my father for over 20 years. I had created a total detachment from his entire side of the family, burned all bridges at front, back and in between.

I'll make a long story short and say that I wrote him a letter and he was moved enough to actually meet me and we talked for hours. That was 14 years ago and we've been glaciers, slowly and emotionally moving inches over time. As for me, I could always feel the remaining distance and I knew that I was internally responsible for most of it. One can't escape the heaviness, the wordless lies. The presence is always there.

So I drove down to Florida to see him in the first week of March, my life partner Jeri along for the ride (and what a ride!) My family took this drive several times in the Sixties and just the time spent in the car on the trip down was affecting me.

So what happened during the three days we visited? I had an awful lot to forgive and release within myself about this man, our family and my view of myself. I had put myself in the position of "no escape" by traveling down there. What manifested during those days was an excruciating episode with my back that I had to drive back home with, more tears during the passage than I ever knew were within me, emotional upheaval akin to being manic depressive and more insight about being the "author of my own story" than I could ever have achieved otherwise.

Oh yeah, deep end of the pool stuff. I had been carrying it around seemingly forever and it HAD to go, so I constructed this "destruction." Of course, I know that one can't actually "destroy" anything.

This much I can say; I now feel a deeper sense of peace and authority in my own life than I have felt in a very long time. It has manifested itself in the phone conversations my father and I have had each weekend since I returned. There's just a new sense of closeness there that didn't exist before this trip.

I had to travel many miles to "come home." I'm glad that I finally did.

My answer to the question I posed yesterday is that I'd rather be happy.

No doubt about it.

1 comment:

  1. Rich,

    I am very close to my father and I can't imagine it any other way. I'm so glad you had the courage to do what it took to reconnect with your father.

    Thank you for this deeply personal and touching post.