Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Strange Paradox

I spent some time today reading more of Dad's letters. Here is an excerpt of one that he wrote to me after his and my mother's marriage ended in divorce. I think that was one of the hardest experiences of Dad's life, and yet he made a conscious choice to stay open and loving .
"I was thinking the other day how life goes along at a certain plateau for years and years but all the while, deep beneath the surface, pressure is building until finally the earth's plates shift, causing earthquakes and eruptions, altering the landscape forever, and nothing can ever be quite the same again. But out of the rubble, something new and beautiful and amazing always begins to grow. It is nature's way. It is evolution and renewal, epiphany and resurrection. It reminds me of a poem from the play The Fantastics:
There is a strange paradox
Which no one can explain.
Who understands the secret
In the reaping of the grain?
Who understands why Spring is born
Out of Winter's laboring pain?
Or why we all must die a bit
Before we grow again?

Fortunately there are some formations and some people that not even an earthquake can destroy. You still make my day by calling, and we can talk forever. Sarah still races through the house laughing at life, and Levi's eyes still burn with intensity as he paces the floor trying to explain the curvature of space in a way I can understand. So, life goes on, and we look around at the destruction to realize that we can survive and will be stronger people for it."
I think about this a lot - about being a stronger person after this sort of loss, about something beautiful growing out of a tragedy. Dad was able to do this, not just with the divorce, but with a brain tumor! And there were probably other losses in his life as well, that I don't even know about. But through it all, he was able to embrace life, to look at it with curiosity, and to laugh at its absurdities.

I have the following quote hanging on my refrigerator. It has always reminded me of Dad:

The aim of life is to live,
and to live means to be aware,
joyously, drunkenly,
serenely, divinely
-Henry Miller

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I knew you loved your father, but I have come to love him too through your writings and sharing of his writings. Thank you. The awareness quote from Miller: Heavens, I realize now I've been much too serious about cultivating my awareness. I need to allow a few more giggles and snorts! Much love to you and Michael....from Susan