Setting the hammer down I wipe my brow.

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“Blue umbrella
Rests upon my shoulder
Hide the pain
While the rain
Makes up my mind

Well, my feet are wet
From thinking this thing over
And it’s been so long
Since I felt the warm sunshine

Just give me one good reason
And I promise I won’t ask you any more
Just give me one extra season
So I can figure out the other four.”
-John Prine-

It’s becoming a habit to start these with a picture and some lyric or piece of poetry. I like that. It sort of shows my hand before the cards are dealt. You know what I am feeling and isn’t that the whole point of this. I mean I’m not here to get famous or to win accolades. I am doing what art does. Sharing experience. Art is about taking your experience and giving it to others so that they can stand in your place for a second. Sort of walk a mile in your hat. I get that with most art forms. I have had my socks knocked off by sculptures and my lungs filled by a painting. And music of course is just the cleanest cut to the marrow. A song can get through the walls through the smallest crack. And the little man inside can feel maybe a little less…Alone.

John Prine. A brilliant song writer and singer . He can write a song that makes me laugh in a chorus and cry at a verse. He’s so human I sometimes wonder if maybe God gave him a little extra when he built him.

Yesterday I gave my daughter back to her mother. But just as we were getting ready my two year old said “Daddy I don’t want to go.” and I told her that if she stayed she would miss her brother and mommy. And then she said “Well mommy and Gabriel can come here and stay too.”

Want a punch in the heart? Try hearing that. I went weak in the knees a little and felt so small, so much like her confusion and misunderstanding was my fault. That I wept. Not cried, wept. I don’t care what the experts say or your over-priced parenting books say, there is no way to tell a little girl that her mommy and daddy don’t work together. And there is no way as a parent you can feel okay with that. It empties my heart so fast to see her struggle with the idea that she has to miss one of us to be with the other. And I can only imagine how painful it will be when she comes around to the thought that it is a raw deal she got. She will have no memories of us together when she gets older. And no reference point to explain why we are not together. She’ll just know that for as long as she remembers she has alternated. And that’s just a rotten apple in a whole barrel of rotten apples.

So I am sad. I don’t need to have it explained. I am aware. I know all the safety net words we use in these situations. “It’s better…”, “She always will know…” and “If you just…” etc, etc.

Tough would be an understatement for these days. The clock dragging me along and closer to a remembrance I still haven’t let out of the cage. I think maybe if I haven’t learned to lean into faith and a belief that this will all make sense someday I might just go crazy. I believe in the God of love and the warmth he gives. Even when I am too damned stubborn to come inside. He’s a good guy. The Old Man up in the clouds as Luke called him in “Cool Hand Luke”.

And he has given me people who are patient, generous and kind. Last night he added two more. And I got to sit in their dining room and hear their kids be alive and real while I tried to untangle the ball of yarn I call my faith. Scripture and truth. I think I am beginning to see the end of the tunnel somewhere down the way. I guess I just need good folks to keep the engine stoked and a God to drive that big steel wheeled train into the daytime from the dark plains.

Thanks for taking this ride with me so far. It’s too long a walk to take alone.

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