Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Means Of My Ends

I frequent an online networking site. And just for a small piece of anonymity - I’m not offering the name. (It's closed now. It was TBD.) But they have a section where a member can pose a question and others can respond. I see this Q&A as a way to share laughs & thoughts and build a common community.

I’ve occasionally added my responses from the site to this blog. I’ve developed them a little here because here I may ramble & let my mind wave. I’m taking this opportunity to offer versions of my recent responses. I may have fleshed them out a bit, but the bones remain the same. I offer them now because they address issues that press on my marrow. I feel their pressure on my lungs.

This week’s questions:

"First kiss?"

My first kiss was when my Father and my Mother kissed the top of my forehead as I entered the world. And I hope to return the favor when it is their turn to leave us.

"What song makes you change the station the moment it comes on? and why?"

Okay the song I can’t listen to - and I turn the station when I hear it - is Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds."

I can’t listen to it because it reminds me of my first great love. I was in the seminary studying to be a priest and I met her in a women’s history class. Yep. I was crazy about her. And that was our song. I walked away from a ten year goal for a woman who didn’t trust that a man could love a woman more than try for a collar.

I didn’t become a priest. And she didn’t become my wife. And all these years later, I won’t listen to that song.

An addendum:

I dissected this after I posted it. And I know one day you’ll read this. You were right. I was wrong. You knew you weren’t my first love. You knew you weren’t my greatest love. Roman Catholicism always held my soul and my heart and my mind. I left Her. I shied my soul; I hid my heart; I closed my mind.; my cowardice made me blind. But I didn’t leave Her for you. But you left me for Her. St Olaf’s. Remember? I do. I’m grateful you had the vision to keep me from a life without the choice of revision.

You were the right woman at the right time. You turned your back to my affront. I stepped back. I went back. I’m sorry I wasn’t good enough to make your task less tumultuous. You’re my regret. I regret I wasn’t the man you deserved. I regret I’m not that priest. But I’ll never regret loving you. You’re like a theme through many of these words and posts. My love isn’t unrequited; It was just required elsewhere.

"Why is it that some people find it necessary to correct everyone else?"

Oh probably because they can’t control anything else. It seems to be the easiest answer. I don’t think it’s always the case though.

I think sometimes a man has been hurt so badly, or he's lost something so precious, or he's learned something so valuable, that he feels the obligation of enlightenment. He feels it’s his duty in the spirit of the camaraderie of humanity to pause, to listen, to share, and to teach. And I think he means it as an action of brotherhood or perhaps he just loves his fellow men enough that he tries to help them avoid the echo of his stumbles. Or maybe he loves his God and he wants to mark his learned.

So why does a man offer instruction or correction when someone has offered to assist him? Is it merely a means to control? Perhaps not. You used the verb correct. Is that the correct verb? Is it instruct? Or is it share? Or is it enlighten? Or is an actual and profound expression of genuine love? Wouldn’t be easier for him to just to turn his head and pretend he didn’t see?

An addendum:

It took me awhile to answer you - but there’s my response. That’s why this man corrects, instructs, and guides. Even when someone offers to wash his dishes.