A Man Laments; Then He Hopes

Several . . .  

https://i2.wp.com/userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/252/49135.jpgwinters ago,
standing on my merciless,
hellishly steep,
snowed-in driveway,
I screamed a yawp of rage and defiance:  


 (Picture of John Belushi)


It’s a 90-foot driveway, dangerous,  slippery, curving.  Once or twice a year I get fed up with my driveway, and release my wrath; and ideally, no one hears.  My Southern father could not have taught me about moving snow and immovable ice in the winter.  1985 was the year of my exodus, west, to Denver from the South.   Other issues have emerged over the years:  inadequate knowledge / skills stirred up discouragement and self-contempt:

  • “I am a lousy father”;
  • “I stink at projects”;
  • “I am a lousy provider”;
  • “Relationships: HA!”

I blamed my dad, at times, for not teaching me some of the things that I needed to know, in the adult world.  Some guys have a legitimate beef when it comes to their dad’s negligenceBut, I never had a legitimate beef about blaming my dad; and I never will.  My dad is the greatest man I have ever known.  The anger that echoes around the mountain from my nemesis of a driveway is more at myself than anyone else.  As a man, it was / is my responsibility to learn what I needed to learn; and to do what I need to do.  Wow: accepting responsibility.  Sometimes it’s ugly.  And hope is what comes to me, when I accept responsibility.

Those guys who don’t lament? ‘Never miss a beat?  Textbook fathers?  Swashbuckling husbands?  Driving BMW’s / Jaguars (etc.)?  Taking their families on exotic vacations?  Living in huge homes?  Wow.  Good for them. “Keep on, guys!”

Meanwhile there are some of us that fight off those DMPs.  (Dark Message Phantoms):

  1. “I am not good enough.”
  2. “I don’t have what it takes.”
  3. “If anyone knew I was a poser, they would not like me.”

The lies hit hard.  There is a profound choice men make: a) buy  the lies?; or b) …

refuse the lies, fight the lies, and grab truth as if your life depends on it.

When a man’s path takes him through a desert, there is something good just up ahead.  But a man still has to make a choice of either believing that he doesn’t have what it takes; or just stop / lay down / die; or press on because there really, really … is something good up ahead.   

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”  May seem a bit glib, or just a cliche.  Churchill’s advice is crucial: for our character; for our survival-thrival; for us to be the men we are called to be.    Churchill’s words address our temptation to quit or check-out for a while.  “Checking out” may yield a dangerous assumption, that we will come back later to get back in the game, which may not happen.
I, for one, believe in redemptive sorrow.  I believe in the importance of grieving well.  As one writer expressed, a writer I appreciate for his experience, “Rarely do I do pity parties. Rather, I simply accept who I am with all of my limitations and in all of my potential and successes.”  (Eric Tonningsen)  So, choose well; grieve well; fight hard for what you need to fight for.  And by all means, hope.


  1. In the end (actually, always) I consistently opt for being authentic, honest with myself, and not giving a crap about what strengthens or diminishes me — in my own eyes or those of others. I deal with matters, as they are, in that moment. Rarely do I do pity parties. Rather, I simply accept who I am with all of my limitations and in all of my potential and successes. To each their own, right, T? But lamenting rarely gets us motivated or back on track. A thoughtful post!

  2. Dude, what an EXCELLENT post! Wow! I am blown away and needed to remember to breath during much of it, You have got to take up poetry…seriously, no joke. You remember my poem, “I am no handyman”? (https://bookofpain.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/i-am-no-handyman/) So few people got it. Everyone thought it was just in homage to my dad, which it was, but there are noticeable undercurrents in the poem…why did I only ever watch him work? Why was he so able with mechanical things but not emotional things? Why was he so obsessive with mechanical perfection? Why am I now not a handyman? What wasn’t it he couldn’t fix?

    Freaking GREAT post!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s