I honestly don’t know…
There is a pattern that repeats itself in my life. One that screams to be kept secret. One that does everything possible to remain hidden from everyone; especially myself.
It’s a pattern of shame and victimhood and powerlessness; of things I don’t even know are going on.
Everyone wants to tell the story from the point of victory.
From high atop the summit when the struggle has been surmounted, and if we’re radically honest we’ll admit that we only ever want to hear the story told from that vantage point, as well.
We don’t want to hear the “I don’t knows”. We don’t want to be reminded of the messy, disorienting unknown. I don’t mean the surface-y unknown. I mean the unknown that grips the heart in the darkest hour. The reaction to the unknown that has been passed from ancient times to where we are today.
Everything in me screams to keep quiet. I don’t want to talk about it.
I don’t want to show my process. But, here I sit, riding a wave that’s been rolling mercilessly through my family since who knows when. I only know the story from the time of my great-grandfather.
Can you imagine the terror that grips your heart and tears through your gut as you lie on your sudden death bed knowing that you’re being violently separated from this earth and leaving behind four babies and a wife? I’m sure he was primed for this terror from previous times. Being one of 16 children has a way of conditioning a nervous system to react with desperation.
Did this conditioning lend familiarity to the shock waves of terror that frantically travelled from his heart as he realized that he wouldn’t be able to provide for those he loved most? These frightful imaginings that he never had the chance to work through and resolve, to come to terms with and put to rest, they’ve gone forward and they continue to go forward in stories told in countless forms throughout time. They ripple to your progeny, through your progeny, until someone is able to guide their landing, no matter how rough, and give them space to work themselves out.
I feel so much confusion lately. I don’t understand what is going on.
All I do know is that there seems to be something bigger at play here. There is an unconscious compulsion to repeat conditions of fear and lack; a wave I’ve been swept up in that needs to be ridden out and allowed to resolve.
Can I do that for him and all who came before him, and for me and all who have come and will continue to come after me? I don’t know, but I will stay with it.
This is what radical responsibility is to me.
This is my process. My messy, unresolved process.
I will not look away.