He asked me about my father. We have been conscious of how we tell one another about our lives since our reunion. The gift of our connection came by way of transfiguring the stories of our lives into beauty- we are the reflection of the medicine on the other side. We are committed to creating new patterns in relating rather than knowing one another and ourselves by our wounds.
The question caught me by surprise, mid stream chopping radishes. I took a pause wanting to be careful with my words. Our ancestors standing by “which story will she tell?”. I can hear their voices now that I have learned how to alchemize my words into a good, true and beautiful spell.
I didn’t expect the flood of tears to rise to my eyes. My cheeks shaking and my jaw tight. Why do I still want to break down and cry when I have left the story of my father and I behind?
He was steady, watching me. Negotiating inside of himself how to take back his words. But this is how we build trust, these moments. He patiently watched as I found what needed to be said.
I told him of how I wrote my father a letter a couple of years ago spilling forth every trapped voice that could never say “NO!” And, “how dare you! I am your child!?” I told him that my exile to the edge of the ledge was at 16 when I fled my home. But guess who else was cast to the fray? Who knew I was being called by my teachers that dark, those dark, days.
That in that letter I told my father of my journey to uncovering the medicine in my bones and that the medicine is what I was choosing to claim of him- the hands of his that could shape wood into monuments of love and build homes and grow gardens and cook amazing meals and finish algebra homework and teach me how to change the oil on my car. That I think he was a dancer and poet under all the heaviness of the body he struggled to maintain in some shape that someone says looks like belonging.
The tears in my heart are from a deep longing to sit and talk to the man behind the pain.
I believe in restorative justice. It’s what regenerates paradise, makes gardens grow and waters flow to nourish the children. Any one can heal. I am healed. Everyone is born whole.
Yet, my boundaries are clear that I can send a prayer of healing and still say “no”. The door to the story is closed but not locked. In my letter there was an invitation back into my life if my father was willing to sit in the crucible and do the work I have had to do to save my life.
I said my piece and returned to chopping radishes. This beautiful man came behind me and wrapped his arms around me. With no words he goes to sit down and asks “can I read you something?”.
Expecting him to share something from Martine Prechtel’s book he is currently reading, he opens his heart and begins to recite my own poetry. Carefully finding the cadence for a language that he has never used and has known all along, watching me as each word landed in the space between us shapeshifting my life before my eyes.
Pouring “my medicine” back into me, creating a feedback loop of love and beauty, reflecting what moves through me, helping me to see how far I have come to know that I am that love I speak of. That I was born of the love I speak of.
He asks “how does that land? How do you feel now?”.
“You’re brilliant” I said. And I kissed him until the Earth spun on a slightly new axis- rebalancing Herself towards love.
My life has become the shape of how I see the world. He is the shape of how I see the world. He is a father, a lover, a brother, a son, a master of his own inner universe and a devoted student to life. The wounded masculine and broken father no longer center stage in my story line. He is proof that the hunches in my heart of what this life is truly made for are real.
I know that when men like him are walking the Earth, magic is afoot and life is beginning to restore to balance. I know that what he tends is available for every man to tend and by this tending, this presence, life will blossom in beauty all around him. Feeding him, quenching him, resurrecting his oath as a man.
Why do I tell this story today? Well, it’s the Solstice- the celebration of the flame that ignites the codes of life into light from her dark watery womb. It’s Father’s Day, the seed bearers, the fire tenders. We must celebrate.
It’s a love story. My life story. One in the same. Thank you.
Happy Solstice. Happy Father’s Day.