A man's choices, living out of his true story, impact others. A wildness within, a redemptive wildness, goes with us, contributes to the larger hopes, the bigger picture. A sacred wildness, flowing like Rolling Creek, a real place. Real, like you, me, us, the community we embrace.
The grief, the thankfulness, both happening in a place where the choices are made … to NOT forget the attack on the U.S., September 11, 2001.
That morning I walked into the men’s shelter I worked at, the chapel, and stood with a group of guys I worked with, looking up at the huge screen on the wall. We were quiet, and stunned, watching footage of two different buildings spewing smoke; and the harsh footage replayed of the two planes flying directly into those buildings. At some point, the news commentator communicated a report that had just come in, about a third plane that had crashed into the Pentagon. Then John, standing next to me, his eyes expressionless, said in a low voice “Its still going on.”
I cannot fathom the courage, the thoughts of those who faced death, the first responders. Remembering is a sacred piece of who we are.
My fifth grade teacher returns from his errand, bursts through the door, crazy eyes, searching each one of us for the ringleader for our prank: “WHAT … is the MEANING OF THIS?!! Things happen, it was a long time ago, and we lived through it. But the question has transcended our years on the planet: (a variation) “What does this mean?”
Other end of the spectrum, a philosophy professor. I brought in a book I was reading (by Kahil Gibran) … wanted his opinion. He looked at the book, paused for a good minute, and I knew he was not impressed. “Sit down. (pause) In philosophy, I ask three questions: 1) Is this true?, 2) What facts support this?, and 3) What does this mean?”
‘Never forgot that discussion. I focus on male depression with the work I do . . . And with the multifaceted pieces of male depression, this necessary question comes up:
“What does this mean?” I will once again reference this work: I Don’t Want To Talk About Itby Terrence Real. Excellent read, ifyou have any interest in male depression. Because of my commitment, or eccentric desire, to think outside the box, I have thought of other metaphors for male depression. A short ride, but go ahead and fasten your seat-belts: we’re going outside the box.
I was thinking of Igor, but I get Igor and Eeyore confused. At times I think of Igor as a small mule with an abnormal growth on one of his shoulders, who works for a severe introvert, a temperamental bear … I found out that it was not a mule with a bowling ball-shaped growth on his shoulder. It was a human being working for a guy named Frank … not a bear. I think of Igor as an unfortunate gentleman who experienced a great deal of isolation, which is part of the whole depression dance. Igor has some performance issues and he goes to great lengths to become accepted. He has a crush on a gal, Esmerelda, and she doesn’t really love him, but she doesn’t have the substance to tell the poor boy … Things get messed up real quick.
In fact, in one story he goes by “Igor”; and in another story he goes by “Quasimodo“, the Latin words “quasi” and “modo” also mean “almost” and “the standard measure” respectively. As such, Quasimodo is ‘almost the standard measure’ of a humanbeing.’ Anyway, Esmerelda dies … and Quasimodo kills his boss who is in reality “Frollo“, which should NOT be confused with “Frodo”.
Let me add some words that might tie all this together. Igor and / or Quasimodo are given a great weight to bear, which . . . for me …. symbolizes a number of things, possibly depression. Igor / Quasimodo deal with isolation, stigma, great sadness, and anger at times. Those are just a few items that intersect (at times) with male depression. I used the term “Eclectic View” because I do believe that the men who fight depression effectively MUST think outside the box and think from an eclectic perspective: CBT, Rogerian, Existential, NLP, RET … etc., In addition to thinking with responsible eclecticism, a depressive MUST acquire redemptive humor. Oh, as for Eeyore? He had an exchange with a bear that struck me:
“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he. / “Why, what’s the matter?”“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”/“Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose. / “Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”
Audibility? WOW! Such vocabulary . . . I want to be audible about the giftedness with
fatherhood of an autistic child. And I am all over the map, incidentally. Driving my old Subaru, traveling with my family, putting miles on the car, it is a small map. Negotiating the routes, the directions, the turns and the straightaways of autism is a different map: definitely not a small map.
What an amazing opportunity to be a father it is; and I sometimes forget that. My son is brilliant, a good looking kid (I could be jealous, but I’m not), and quite stout. And me? I am a man who is scared to death of failure, terrified (at times) of being a dad. I don’t want to let my son down. I don’t have what it takes to walk in these shoes (people tell me that this a non-truth).
“Having a child with Autism can mess with your head: You feel like you can move mountains for them yet you're powerless at the same time.”
by Stuart Duncan
To walk this walk means being intentional about support (giving and receiving); moving toward my son and not away; living with authenticity, not being a poser. My desire for authenticity, redemptive intimacy, the support I need, and to walk the walk means I need to be plugged in . . . with a good community of people.
I am giving a “thumbs up” to the Autism Society of Colorado. http://www.autismcolorado.org/This is a great resource (for those living in Colorado) that may or may not pertain to any of the good folks following this blog. But, there might be a dad out there who is walking a similar path that I am. Maybe you are at the beginning of the journey: trying to de-escalate your son when he is screaming, posturing, destroying your walls and furniture, and your phone. Maybe you are at that place where you spend a fair amount of time sitting in the emergency room, waiting to find out . . . what? Oh, how I remember those days, not too long ago.
Here is one small example of what The Autism Society of Colorado is about. They are offering some parent training / family support courses, specifically on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). I won’t go into that, now. I’ll just say that if you have a kiddo with autism / aspergers, then you will benefit by learning more about Applied Behavioral Analysis. If you want more information, go to their website.
Regardless of what kind of winner you have for a son or a daughter, thank you, men . . . those of you who are fighting the good fight of fatherhood. And those brave souls who battle for their children, and love for their children . . . Thank you, too. Until next time.
“Change: when something starts or stops; or … when something that happens one way starts happening another way.” Mary Heathmen
One man’s fear:
I will never change.
Life will always be this way.
One man learned the Law of Inertia, defined as: “An object in motion will continue in motion, unless acted upon by an external force.” A friend responded to the one man’s fear of changelesness: “If nothing changes, nothing changes. But thinking positively about change, acting proactively on the change process, will lead to change.” To take it one step further, one MUST expect change. A downhill snow skier moves with the Law of Inertia.
No motor, just the Law of Inertia. Ski poles, a snow-drift, the crossing of one’s skis upsetting balance and momentum … whatever.
Momentum is huge
and it is positive, or it is negative. Another man, a different city, a different state, a different time, a different mindset asked himself:
“Why do I need to change?
If its not broken, don’t fix it.”
Ahhhh,stagnation; absence of momentum. If nothing changes, nothing changes. This last quote is indicative of a lack of awareness. There must be change, on some level. Not necessarily fixed; but changed, or adjusted.
People in airports: coming and going and waiting. Transition, transitioning, transitions, etc., etc., etc. Somewhere out there, folks, is a man named Snowden, hiding out in an airport, an ambivalent, ambiguous, layover, but I wonder about his destination, and I wonder how long he will be hiding out in airports.
Picture of Edward Snowden By Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai2013-07-10 15:53:33 UTC
Anyway, I recently read a story about Mehran Karimi Nasseri. Are you familiar with Mehran Karimi Nasseri?
Life is an airport for Mehran Karimi Nasseri / news.bbc.co.uk (August 2004)
“Mehran was essentially living the life of a homeless man on the streets — except that his street was the airport. He looked and lived like the homeless, dragging his things around with him. He had even made claim to a certain red chair — his spot in the airport. … He didn’t work and he got by from day to day.
Nasseri’s highpoint was in ” … 2003, Steven Spielberg purchased the rights to Nasseri’s story — reportedly for $250,000, plus some rights to a percentage of ongoing profits. Mehran’s salvaged luggage soon carried signs advertising the 2004 movie, The Terminal, which was loosely based on his life at Terminal 1. Even then, he lived as before — in a fragile psychological state, depending on found free meal vouchers and passing his days reading every book in the bookstore.” http://fly.historicwings.com/2012/08/citizen-of-terminal-1/
Nasseri’s last known address was a homeless shelter in Paris. Thus, the longest layover in history … 17 years. So where will Snowden be in another 17 years? Living in an airport somewhere in Europe? Or Asia? For one (Nasseri, for example) an airport can be like a prison. For another (Snowden, for example), an airport can be a place to hide. But making the distinction between which is which can be difficult.
Some things I do not understand, and I can work with it; I can be okay with it. Some things I can almost understand, but I might not be okay with it … cannot resolve it in my mind. Those 19 men in Yarnell who died in the fire: I cannot resolve it in my mind. I’m not okay with it. There is only one thing I know to do, and that is grieve. But I don’t t grieve well. My heart, in the midst of my confusion, goes out to everyone in Yarnell, and everyone connected to those brave warriors.