Saturday, August 16, 2008

This is All I Can Take,
This is How a Heart Breaks...

The keyboard calls to me but the words have a hard time flowing tonight. I know the subject I wish to tackle, and yet...

Well, there it is, isn't it?

When your mind races at 600,000,000 thoughts per second, and your fingers type roughly 80 words per minute, you have to wonder--intelligently designed? (Anyone interested in that ocean-front property in Arizona yet?)

Coming to terms with the falsehoods of the past is a disconcerting process. Even more so is trying to let go of the anger and betrayal of such enlightening processes of growth. Ten times as much when many, many people in your life still cling like ancient Saran Wrap to the very notions you have said bon voyage to...

I love very many people of many very different persuasions in this world, this life, on this Earth. We laugh, we cry, we eat. We sit, we talk, we eat. In fact, nine times out of ten, we're eating...

(I may have just solved America's "obesity crisis"--STOP EATING!)

Every now and then, someone decides they need to take a "moral stand" (whatever that means), and then some talking, crying, and eating commences, but it's really all part of the circle of life, you know? (They say it moves us all...)

We've recently had a "crisis" of sorts in the blood-related gene pool--nothing that would rock L.A. off the map, mind you, but something nevertheless which has people second-guessing themselves, second-guessing their decisions, their dinner table conversation, their choice of vegetable for dinner... Well, maybe not that last one, but you get my drift--everyone is now on eggshells, wondering what's going to set off who, by how much, and if it will ultimately affect the price of tea in China... (That's Hughes-Zartman slang for "What will be the greater ramifications...?")

But once the bomb has gone off, and everyone is still sort of looking around, a little bit dazed, how to you remake a bridge that was pretty tenuous to begin with? Granted, it wasn't so tenuous that all you could talk about was the weather, but I think you know what I mean--it was like when you were a teenager, and your friends were pretty much determined by the pecking order in high school, where most of your friends were chosen for you (whether you like to admit it or not), but once you all picked majors and went to college, most of those friends--well, it was only obligation and guilt factors that kept you together, you know?

Maybe not quite that tenuous either... But while blood may be thicker than water, blood isn't quite as thick as personal philosophies, or so my family has taught me...

While I understand that, through certain periods of personal growth of individuals, things will be said, stands will be taken, and personalities will clash all resulting in the culmination (hopefully) of learning experiences for all, those learning experiences, in my personal opinion (of which I know a great many of you hold closer to your hearts than the words of Gandhi), don't mean a thing if it hasn't brought you closer, with a greater respect and understanding of one another, and a better time laughing, crying, talking, sitting, and eating...

Together.

Just to bring a little more clarity to the fog that is my rambling, one of the Fab Five (that would be me and the four siblings) made a stand of sorts, based on their personal journey and where it has brought them. That being said, whether or not I agree with the stand itself, the logic and reasoning behind the stand, or even the underlying (subconscious?) subtext hidden within the stands' depths, it ultimately comes down to a few simple key factors:
  1. Are they doing this with the right intentions?
  2. Are they doing this with a clear conscience?
  3. Is what they hope to gain greater than the status quo?
Truthfully, only they can answer these questions. No one, no matter how psychic people think they are, no matter how close people think they are to god (nose bleed seating anyone?), no matter how much people consider themselves a "guru" of the heart, no one can know any other persons true rational and motivations, and even how important some of those motivations may be on a case by case basis.

And even though I do believe hearts were in the right places, minds were not. Cooler heads made a few guest appearances ("Hello, hello out there, wherever you are. I just want to make it totally clear that you are not at all welcome!"--kudos to the person who gets this reference...), mostly it was a lot of emotional puking and knee-jerk reacting, and, sad to say from my lonely perch on the outskirts, more bruises were had than anything on all sides of the field. And while I have my own views on who may be ultimately right, or ultimately wrong, all of it means bupkiss in the end...

I don't think anyone came away with a winning position. Or, at least, not enough to end the game.

Maybe that's how it should be in this case... Who am I to say? Unfortunately, the scattered remnants now find themselves on various parts of a multi-fissured gorge, and it will take a number of bridge-builders to bring everything back together again...

And bridge-building is hard! Bruises and scrapes are fresh on both sides, protectionist mind sets prevail, and some seem to think that shouting across the gorge where the bridge used to be, where they can't hurt each other anymore, should be the new status quo for a while...

Which saddens me... My heart is so heavy for all sides of this spectacular fireworks display of emotion. Buried memories have been drudged up, old scars ripped open, wax ripped off the hairs of various nether regions resulting in much agony, pain, and tears... On ALL sides...

Growth spurts are often very painful--indeed, my family seems to deal with their fair share (and as I often told my parents growing up, they should have stopped with me, #2... To which my mother usually answers, "I should have stopped with all of you!"), and I know a lot of it is brought on by the fact that there's just so darn many of us. Two parents, five kids, each with their own spouses (who's assimilation's for each were all quite different and tumultuous in their own rights...), lives, more kids, dogs, cats, ferrets, mice, roaches, basis's of morality, personality conflicts, lifestyle choices, musical preferences, wheels, breathing patterns...

This one is deep. This one crosses more than a few of the above mentioned, plus some. It crosses political, sexual, spiritual, personal, and emotional lines to a degree we haven't seen since The Party. (Another doozy from the past I may bring up at a later point... We're dealing with enough as it is without bring that up for more than a passing comment...)

Will we make it? Rebuild? Move on? Grow and learn?

I can only speak for myself, of course, and the remainder of the Fab Five (and Co.) will have to decide that for themselves...

I remember a time in my life when my very own family was too much for me to handle. Having been default peace maker for so many years, I had made a very conscious decision to give it all up and let the dice fall where it may. This wasn't too long after The Party, The Adoption, and The Gay One pretty much all hit at once (which gives me hope considering this is just one event... Admittedly, with the potential to be larger than all three of those combined...) I moved out of the house after a two month return from West Virginia (another long story), and less than a year after that, I was at least one hour to the north keeping minimal contact via phone with everyone. I didn't get involved--in fact, I consciously refused to do so, as the family had managed to drain me of every ounce of compassion and empathy.

My list of complaints was long: They were loud, bull headed, stubborn, nosy, loud, brutally honest, emotional, opinionated, loud... I was just plain tired of mediating it all...

But they didn't let me go.

And I learned, and grew, and found a whole new appreciation for my loud, opinionated family. Though I had never stopped loving any of them, I had stopped appreciating them for what I had felt (at the time) were important reasons, personal reasons. Though I hadn't stopped loving them, I had focused way too much on their negative qualities. Though I hadn't stopped loving them, I had stopped liking them, and though it hurt at the time to admit it, that was entirely my fault. My problem. My short coming.

And if I hadn't learned to view my family for what they were--a loud, noisy bunch of opinionated people who only had the best of intentions at heart (and sometimes in mind...)--it would have been MY loss. And, as a result, theirs...

Everyone goes through this at some point, I'm sure. Where the family they didn't ask for gets to be too much. When the cards they were dealt genetically get to be too hard. When the common blood they share gets to be too annoying and sometimes downright painful.

But you know what? No matter what your creed, no matter what your views, no matter who your god (or lack thereof), the truth is, they are the only family you get. Now, I could go into a whole digression about my chosen family, the friends I've surrounded myself with, who share a lot of the same views and morals I myself hold dear, but honestly--if these people weren't my family, I can guarantee most of them wouldn't be my friends. Which not only makes them more valuable in my personal growth as a human being, it makes them more valuable to me because I know they love me regardless, much as I love them regardless.

It is a choice to love, even more so a choice to love unconditionally.

I am going out on a limb here, posting this before lumber has been ordered for bridge repair, but I am hoping, dear family, you will learn and grow--not only because I myself was down this road with you very same folks--but hopefully you will choose to love in spite of what you believe our differences are. That you will still choose to talk, laugh, cry, sit, and eat with us. Not because you think you have to, not because you hold a value or a reason and think you must or mustn't do this or that...

But because you choose to...

And because we love you.

I love you, and I don't want to miss out on continuing to grow with you, to journey with you, to laugh and cry with you, and to eat with you...

You are my family, the only one I have... I'd like to keep all of you. Because I love you, and because I choose to.

I'd like you to choose us as well...

7 comments:

mom said...

hello jason! i couldn't say any of this any better! i have said and will probably say again that i have learned my greatest lessons dealing with my family. you kids and my own parents and brothers and sisters. i think the greatest lesson on what God taught me is how to love the most hard to love in the family (not to say what i am dealing with right now is hard to love but making me wonder why). i will continue to pray about this whole thing and knowing all of you it will work out some how but when you and i talked about your feelings about us all i can understand since i even know that i felt this way growing up. i think we all do since only the tv families have no problems that cannot be solved in an hour or maybe the 2 hour special. i know this will pass and i will learn some lesson and will try to pass it on. i feel in this life we should appreciate the family we got since God places you in the family you have for VERY IMPORTANT reasons. i already see this and i hope i never stop learning from any of you people! :) i felt pretty blue about this but realized that i was not enjoying life and after some heart to hearts with people i care about and trust i am now feeling better and realize this isn't the worse thing that will ever happen to me. things can always be worse and my latest sign i got myself says "Be Kimder Than Necessary". i got that one since i could not find the sign that says "Be Kind To Unkind People Since They Need It The Most". i saw it someplace and can't find it and i hope i got that saying right. well, now i have to get back at it. see you thurs.! :) love and prayers

ahedge29 said...

I send you and your family every positive energy I posses to help the outcome work out best for all of you. Love is both powerful and destructive, but always lasts throughout the most horrible times. Families (blood and non-blood) are worth every easy road and difficult struggle.

Sylvia said...

You really have a gift of writing. I couldn't have said it better myself.
I love you. I still have deep love for this family member...
Ugh... when will it all go away?
anyway, love ya man!
sylvia

Anonymous said...

wow, leaves me speechless

Ann said...

Ja, you made me cry. So eloquently and lovingly put. Know that you are always loved, always needed, and always cherished no matter what you choose in life or who you may grow to be.

I was thinking the other day, as the death of a ferret can do, that life is the only thing we have that's important. Anything else we can forge for ourselves or buy. But life, and what we do with it and in it, cannot be bought or sold. It can't be changed once it's been taken away. So why not make the most of it once given the chance to live? And shouldn't that include enriching and diversifying it to the fullest extent?

I don't know, this is getting off topic. I just wanted to say I love you, dammit.

laurie said...

wow ja...beautifully written. i can relate having something oddly very similar going on as well...i would never be able to describe it with such love and grace as you have. your family are very close to my heart right next to my own and as eclectic and different as you all are, you are all as equally endearing. much love as always.

laurie said...

wow ja...beautifully written. i can relate having something oddly very similar going on as well...i would never be able to describe it with such love and grace as you have. your family are very close to my heart right next to my own and as eclectic and different as you all are, you are all as equally endearing. much love as always.