Sunday morning I went to a garden to photograph and take space from my partner whom I had harmed by being careless with words and having misspoken – there was tension at home and I was stirred up inside and having difficulty getting in synch with the feel and the pace. Then I noticed the Apple trees. Luscious and full lightly scented Apple trees. Drawn by their sweetness I moved closer and that’s when I heard them. The Bees. OMG the Bees! They were singing! Singing as they worked and I felt soothed and sheltered beneath them – I felt grateful for and too them – for all the beauty they make possible and without them we would have nothing to eat. All of a sudden the wind came up and Apple blossoms started blowing and swirling about and a voice I’ve learned to trust said: ‘dance’ and so I danced. I danced in the wind whirling and twirling with the Apple Blossom seeds. I have never ever spontaneously on a whim simply started to dance. I don’t know if there is any connection between my dancing and the work of forgiveness. Perhaps in a few weeks I will dance again only this time I won’t be alone but will be surrounded by thousands of others celebrating life, dancing to our own rhythms and marching down Colfax Avenue for Gay Pride Day. I am pretty sure my dad would be outwardly appalled and maybe inwardly proud to see his son engaging the colors of diversity and embracing all the many flavors of humanity – reflecting the gift of open mindedness – one of ways of being my father instilled in me.
Sunday evening, I went to my first PFLAG meeting (Parents Friends of Lesbian and Gays). There was a retired doctor at the meeting who could relate to my dad’s pain though I think not – to mine. Like my dad he had lived a lie for many years, being unable to accept his sexuality and being unable to share himself more authentically with his family. “I could not bare to be with them. I distanced myself and devoted myself to work – becoming a workaholic and numbing myself out. I would not allow myself to really see much less feel the very real pain that my self denial caused to the people I cared most about. I could not honestly love them till I learned to honestly love myself – and that did not and could not be until I accepted myself and my sexuality.” His words confirmed my own thoughts about my father and the price he paid – the price we all paid to keep the secret in the closet.
Post Script: Tears were shed for both of us – for the years spent hiding from each other and from ourselves. The need of forgiveness arose naturally – the words uttered with deep feeling and the ensuing peacefulness confirming that on some level, healing had taken place. For now. For the time being. But I know that grief comes bundled and chances are the next time a loss occurs or a favorite story gets erased or re-written, daddy may likely arise from the grave of my unconsciousness again and again I will have an opportunity to forgive him forgive myself and forgive the world.
“Judge not lest ye be judged” Matt 7:1
Another day another step on the long road leading homeward.