Forgiveness can be a difficult lesson to teach our children as a Dad. It’s easier to hold a grudge. Jack Steiner knows the feeling intimately.
Sometimes she visits me in my dreams. She ain’t broken then and neither am I. We’re at Charlie Trotters and I can’t be happier because the prettiest girl in the world is mine. I don’t know why she pickedme, but I know that when she smiles at me I can be anything she wants me to be.
In my dreams, she holds my hand and tells me that I got to stop fighting. She tells me that she forgives me and that I should forgive myself. Sometimes I wake up crying, but I make sure to stop that right quick because out here that is the kind of thing you can’t do.
Beside Mike won’t tolerate that. I already told you that he says that I should have done more to punish that guy. He thinks that we need to find him and finish what he started. I told Mike that don’t make no sense to me because he didn’t start nothing, but Mike just tells me to shut up.
He says that if he hadn’t started it we wouldn’t be sleeping in this alley. I say to Mike that without that I wouldn’t have met my best and truest friend, but Mike tells me to shut up. He says that I can’t forget and I can’t forgive.
Sometimes I dive back into the darkness and go looking for the parts and pieces that are painful because I know that if I touch them I will unleash a fountain of words.
You might ask yourself why I would choose to stick my hands in the fire or take a virtual knife and jam into the softer places inside where it is more painful and I would smile and say it is ok.
It is not because I like the pain or because I have a greater tolerance for it than most, but because it is part of the journey and I know this is just a step on the path towards somewhere else.
And I figure if Stephen King says a writer ought to remember every scar I ought to spend a little time following his advice.
A little talent is a good thing to have as a writer. But the only real requirement is to remember every scar. – Stephen King
Part of it is because I stumbled upon a secret a while back and that is I am good at putting out a variety of types of fiction and those that emanate from that painful place are often well received.
Maybe it is similar to the techniques method actors use, I am not entirely certain because that is outside of my experience, but it makes sense to me.
And if you ask me to provide advice as a father or friend I’ll tell you that a smart person draws upon their resources and does what they can to work smarter and not harder.
But I would also add that I don’t have to rely solely upon the pain to provide fuel for my fodder. I can go another direction and I often do.
I often push a different direction because I want to train my brain to respond to the call to write and not have it be limited to any one particular area.
I Can’t Forgive & I Can’t Forget
A while back I had a conversation with the kids about forgiving and forgetting and why it is important.
They told me they had a hard time believing that I can forgive and forget and I assured them I can, I do and I have because it is something I want them to do.
It has taken time for me to learn how to do it and while it is true there are things I won’t forgive or forget it is also true I don’t enjoy providing free rent in my head to people and things that don’t deserve it.
That line about it not being my monkey or my circus resonates with me because there have been times where I wasn’t good about not focusing on the people or things that hurt/angered me.
But somewhere between 35 and now I finally listened to what some dear friends had advised me and started to let go of some of it.
Most of the time it works alright for me, until I decide to go dig around in that darkness I mentioned because sometimes I stir up an ember or two and that old familiar feeling comes back and old bull begins to stir.
That old bull is almost always ready to dust himself off and come rolling out of the pasture, horns lowered and ready for battle.
Sometimes I think he likes the challenge far too much.
You don’t appreciate the good without the bad and the bad without the good.
That is not to say you have to feel pain to appreciate the lack thereof because you don’t, but sometimes the stark distinction between the two is useful.
Sometimes it makes the light brighter.
A long while ago I shrugged off the restraints that had once held me back and decided to take a walkabout to see where it would take me.
The kids asked me where I was and I said if I was on a ship I wouldn’t be able to see the land but that I wasn’t upset about it.
You know it is about the journey and not the destination and so much of what happens comes because we open ourselves up to possibility and that leads to opportunity.
It is a vast world we live in and I am far too young not to keep exploring it.
Photo credit: Flickr/
This post originally appeared on Jack’s blog, The JackB.