So, I got to talking to Neil yesterday.  Saw his name, with the little green circle beside it, so I posed a question.  Thus began a most interesting give and take, bits of wisdom strewn about like so much confetti after the big parade, and yet not really like that at all, for it all had a point, made sense, wasn’t just tossed out there to be blown about by the winds and whims of chance.

  • I’m trying to think about how I “perceive you”

I like to do that occasionally.  Just start a real-time chat with an available person.  Sometimes, it’s awkward, like with the lady who showed up as a recommended contact via Google who happens to share the same name as my daughter.  Same unique spelling of an uncommon name.  No real rhythm, just starts and stops, digital caesuras, fingers poised but not striking, perhaps a bit of mutual, cautious contemplation.  We talked briefly and then went our separate ways.  I see her name there, another green circle, and I wonder where she is.  What the room looks like.  Is she alone?  Multitasking, or just bored? 

  • i see you as a solid guy

  • maybe Midwestern in sensibility, which is probably my NY-LA stereotype

  • like you enjoy eating in manly diner rather than anything too fancy

  • have good work ethic…. that bullshit

At dinner the other night, I belittled my son.  Acknowledged the elephant in the room in a way that cut deeply.  He cried.  Maybe crocodile tears, but I doubt it; he’s too genuine for that bullshit.  I am not that dad, the one who does it right all the time.  I envy those with young children, the kind who don’t talk back or think they know it all or remember the times you made them cry and hate you for it.  Even as they love you for all the rest.  The stuff you can’t remember so well anymore. 

  • Also your name Brian Thomas…. sounds sturdy.

  • like a quarterback

He won his first wrestling match this year, a pin in the first period.  A new year, with new coaches and a few new teammates.  Last year he wrestled only a few times, when the other team had enough boys for exhibition matches.  Yet he never missed a practice.  He ran, hopped, jumped, jogged, sprinted, assumed the position, every night for a month and a half.  Me?  I recall one practice.  One of two I survived.  Thought I could be the center.  Maybe the long snapper.  Cleats and pads and a too-big mouth piece that tasted like soap.  Real boys hit hard, don’t help you up when they knock you over.  I took the pads and jersey home, dressed up, put on the helmet, and smiled as someone took a Polaroid.  I look . . . ridiculous.  I wanted him to see that picture and be proud.  I quit the next day.  My boy?  He never quit.  And he won.  My turn to cry . . .

  • you definitely do have a philosophical bent

  • a thinker

  • cheek of god

Shoulder surfing instead of sleeping, he saw about Iris.  “Done,” he said.  The next day, she woke up, and I wanted so badly to tell him, to let him know that . . . what?  His prayer worked?  That prayer can indeed change things?  I still am not so sure prayer changes things, but I know for a fact that prayer can change the person.  His heart is so large, and he took a moment to care about Iris.  To consider her, and to wish and hope for her something that wasn’t pain or uncertainty or fear.  His prayer changed him.  He smiled when I told him.  Acted like it was no big deal but smiled nonetheless.  I could hear it over the phone.  His prayer is changing me.

  • so much of this is all capturing the mind of the other

  • that’s a book I want to read.

From here?  Things are unclear.  And by things, I mean the specifics of things.  Or perhaps the particulars of things.  The arc is an ancient one, lived out in a way peculiar and mine alone.  Hitch a ride, but hang on tight . . .

8 thoughts on “From Here . . .

  1. On my last birthday, my 14-year-old daughter wrote me a note along the lines of “You’ve known me all my life, I’ve only known you a fraction of yours. I enjoy getting to know you.”

    Life times…

    Some times I long for them to know the person who existed before they were born. The athlete, scholar, volunteer, journalist, editor, daughter, sister, person who worked in an office and not just the One Who Took Care of Them.

  2. Owning up to the bad parenting? My chest is still physically tight from reading that. Yes. It sucks when we aren’t perfect. And these online perceptions (having been analyzed by Neil myself), so easy to see everyone else as perfect. But we’re not are we. And those are the moments that elicit the true response.

    Does any of that make sense?

  3. I still am not so sure prayer changes things, but I know for a fact that prayer can change the person.

    That is just the perfect way to say it.

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