Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A screw-up, getting it right, lost, good things, a knight and a girl, song across the river...



Last night I was thinking about how my parents always said I was undependable – couldn’t be trusted – and they were right, where they and their deals were concerned, like school and family things. I was a screw-up.
Angel at La Boulange October 2014
And I thought about how for the rest of my life I’ve been completely dependable – a go-to, get-it-right person – in the Marine Corps/in combat, in rock-climbing, in hippie culture, in my marriage, with my son, in hospice, in the barrio/with refugees, in taking care of patients as a nurse practitioner, in the community...
This was actually a huge revelation for me.
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A month or so ago I had a conversation with a woman working at Trader Joe’s. It turned out that she had spent a year traveling in Asia, studying Buddhism – on a pilgrimage. Today I was in Trader Joe’s and chose her line. She said she remembered me and I told her I remember her – and in fact, have a small gift for her, but didn’t bring it. She said I would remember it when the time was right. I said, I dunno. She said to have faith in myself; and then told me that yesterday she felt lost and so wrote down some positives in her life (that’s one of her practices).
Street of Dreams, Hue 2005

The day before the above conversation I said to Phana, “Sometimes I feel lost… not in geography, but emotionally.” Yesterday I posted this in my blog: “(a few weeks ago) I was some sad the past few days. It began to lift as we drove on I30 today. I realize now that part of the problem was likely that for several days I had abandoned the practice of each evening writing down three good things that happened that day – because so much good is happening. Ha! So much good, so much sad.”
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So that was one good thing!
Goldy, David, Judo about 2005
Breakfast with Ron Cowart was good. He has been a significant source of support –
I read a good book.
Had a very nice dinner with Shirin yesterday evening – good time, good food.

Contact with David every day...
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The first time I understood about sexual abuse was at the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Transitions workshop in 1978. A young woman talked about having been repeatedly molested by her mother’s boyfriend with her mother present… The woman was talking about this for the first time. She was filled with pain and shame and loathing. I was staggered. I had no idea. It’s not like I really understood, but I did get a clue.
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Welcome!
Monday
I was thinking this might be a difficult day. But it wasn’t all that hard. I kept thinking about why aren’t all the beautiful times Leslie and I had together enough. I don’t know. But I do know how infinitely grateful I am that I never held back telling Leslie how I feel – how I adored her, how much fun she was, how pretty she was, how I respect her, how I love her – all those kinds of things. Other good things that happened today:
Went to the gym for what I call a sedate workout.
David and Leslie, Hue, 2010
Did a complete clean of the kitchen, breakfast room, and back bathroom.
I asked my next-door neighbor for a recommendation for a place to tune a bike that’s been sitting in a shed for 2+ years. He said he’d do it – as a gesture of thanks for all the cookies I’ve given him.
I received a surprise package from Amazon. It was a CD (Shaina Noll, Songs for the Inner Child) from Elisabeth in New Mexico! 
I’m rereading Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman. The author sent it to me after he read something I wrote about the book – I posted the following on September 2, 2013:
A book about a knight and a girl
CK at DMZ, 1966
When I got to the end of the book, Between Two Fires, by Christopher Buehlman, I actually cried – not a common response from me. The book is about a knight and a girl during the plague years. Though there are many differences between us, I identified more strongly with the knight than any (literary or living) character I’ve encountered in many years. He had been stripped of his knighthood, excommunicated, and had lost his home and family. He joined a band of brigands and was wandering the countryside, stealing and killing. The bandits came upon a girl at a farm where everyone else was dead. Some of the bandits were getting ready to rape her, but the fallen knight killed them. He and the girl then set out on a quest, for what they didn’t know.
They journeyed through the plague-decimated countryside and towns guided by the girl’s visions. Along the way people helped them and hindered them and gradually, they encountered greater and greater evil. There were temptations and fear and pain and love and joy. In the end, there was a terrible battle, then peace; there was redemption.
It blew my mind the extent to which I identified with the knight, though I haven’t lost anything close to what he lost, nor done what he did. But I have been on noble quests; I have faced death squarely in battle and elsewhere; I’ve defended the defenseless, been face to face with evil, tried hard to do the right thing, had visions/followed visions. I have been redeemed.
Tuesday
Stung Sankae - Battambang
Over the past few years I’ve gotten into the habit of making coffee in the evening and putting it into the refrigerator and then in the morning, having coffee as I awaken. This morning I was playing Songs for the Inner Child (CD sent by Jim and Elisabeth) as I had my coffee. I was reminded of one evening in Battambang, looking over the Stung Sangkae  (a river running through the edge of town) and hearing a woman somewhere across the river singing in a beautiful voice into the mystery of the Cambodian night…
Gym, 30 minute workout.
Elisabeth in Santa Fe, 2015
Thinking back on Jim and Elisabeth’s visit to San Francisco. You can tell a lot about people when things don’t go exactly as planned, e.g., a long bus trip to a long walk to an underwhelming destination, followed by a long wait for the next bus. Fine, no prob. Alright! The three of us connected during those days – the connections were/are deep.

How could anyone ever tell you
You were anything less than beautiful
How could anyone ever tell you
You were less than whole
How could anyone fail to notice
That your loving is a miracle
How deeply you’re connected to my soul…

David, my beloved Son. What peace and love you've given to me. 

2 comments:

George said...

Thank you, Charles. I got home from work, psyching myself up to do it again tomorrow, sat down to blaze through Facebook just to try and keep contact with people I miss. Saw you had posted, thought "I really need to eat and go to bed," then thought "it's always worth reading what Charles has written."

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