At the time of this writing.
I was sitting at the computer, scrolling through the cornucopia of family pictures that I’ve amassed through the years.
I was particularly entranced by the images of the younger incarnations of myself and my parents – when I slowly began to feel a smile spreading across my face.
Whenever I think of my parents.
Those elements of…
Gratitude, love, faith and adoration are never far behind.
Truth be told, my cup overflows whenever I try to place my parents in a box.
I am fortunate enough to be able to pick up the phone and chew the fat with them, a blessing that I don’t take for granted.
And in the blink of an eye, I remembered something.
So, as a result I have impeccable handwriting nearly 4 decades later.
I write as if my father is going to come bounding down the stairs to survey my work, only to tell me that I have to start all over again.
At the time.
“I will be intelligent”
This was a punishment that I was required to write out, 100 times on college ruled paper with a #2 pencil.
“Daddy, people say I talk funny, they laugh at the words that I use.”
(FYI… Reading an encyclopedia, would turn you into a walking encyclopedia after awhile too.)
“Daddy, these fucking words haunt me man…
They run through my mind and I use them without thinking about it. Telling the brothers in the neighborhood that their recalcitrance will lead them to a purgatory that their feeble minds will be unable to fathom – doesn’t exactly win me any converts.”
“Son, keep your nose in these books, because in midst of that solitude of you being misunderstood, you will find yourself, you understand me? Using these words will save your life!”
“Yeah, I understand Daddy.”
What the fuck does any of that mean?
I remember my mother poking her head out of the kitchen, rolling her eyes and smiling at me before ducking out of sight again.
Her levity always helped in deflating a tense situation.
The two people who were unceasing in their belief in me – who gave me love without conditions.
It was one of pure unmitigated fear.
It was the prospect of exhausting the reservoirs of the faith that they had in me. This realization was something that filled me with an uncertain dread.
I pivoted hard to right my ship – telling myself that I’d rather die than to let them down.
I graduated high school, on schedule.
I went to college and earned my degree in journalism.
I even went back to school years later and earned my MBA.
I wasn’t smarter than anyone else, but I was loved more than most.
I mention this because in this uber-connected world we are quick to look for authentication in those who ONLY harbor a love of what we can do for them.
When I look for support in venues only to hear echoes of nothingness, I don’t hang my head anymore.
I stand encouraged knowing that I have the support of the 2 people who redeemed me by the sheer power of their love.
What else do I need?