Rick Belden reads a poem called “Easter” from his book Iron Man Family Outing: Poems about Transition into a More Conscious Manhood.
Today’s poem, “easter,” is from part seven (“hints of daylight”) of Iron Man Family Outing, and is one of the final poems in the book.
The dream recounted in this poem was a real breakthrough for me in the course of what has proven to be a journey of many years toward greater reconciliation with my experience of my father and a more complete comprehension of who he is (and was) as a human being, with his own fears, failures, dreams, and disappointments.
In the years since this dream came to me, I’ve gradually worked my way to a deeper, fuller appreciation and understanding of the circumstances of my father’s life, which has helped me heal myself in relation to my inner father, the father I internalized as a child and carry with me at all times. But my relationship with my outer father, the man himself, has never improved, and I don’t believe it ever will.
This is a paradox I hadn’t expected. I would have thought that being able to see my father’s life through his eyes, as best I could, would have gone a long way toward improving the relationship between us, but I finally realized that a deeper empathy and understanding for him on my part did not imply the same from him for me. Ultimately, I had to come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t going to change, nor was his treatment of me going to change, no matter what I did or how I transformed my view of him and his life. At that point, I knew my outer relationship with him was over. But my work on the inner relationship continues, as I expect it will for the rest of my life.
As I wrote at the conclusion of “Broken Bones and the Father Wound”:
… his life continues to influence mine, even across the distance of time and space, in ways both obvious and mysterious, as I continue to work toward resolution and completion of my relationship with him, that distant point on the inner horizon of my psyche toward which I am always aiming and always moving, but may never reach.