Cities and Stars: A Confession

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September 30th 2014
Published: September 30th 2014
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I love cities where you can see the stars. When the streets are empty and the only sound is the scuffing of my feet against the pavement I feel more myself, in touch with who and what I am, more so than I ever do during the day. The contrast between concrete and endless blue blackness makes me experience the significance of the moment more intensely. It's then that I am centered, grounded. I could walk forever on a night like this.

I haven't felt this way in a long time it seems. Last I wrote it was all about losing my way, doubting that my search for Love was worth it any longer. I was crying every five minutes, bargaining with myself to get through the day until I could curl up in my bed and sink into forgetful sleep for a few precious hours. The cycle would continue the next morning and I moved as if in a daze, squandering my time and money, fearful of the choices before me. Now I write from a more stable, if still a bit lost, position. I decided that indeed my Love Search was worth the suffering, the longing pushing me forward and I'm happy to report that I've discovered a few new tidbits along the way despite my lack luster efforts of the past weeks.

But first I have a confession to make, and it's not one I say with any real relish. I'm writing this here because to put it in my journal isn't enough, the words themselves having no real weight until someone hears them and knows that my shame and my sorrow are true and honest.

"An empty mirror and your worst destructive habits, when they are held up to each other, that is when the real making begins. That's what art and crafting are."

As many of you know, nine years ago my father passed away. He fell in a mountain climbing accident, one in which my brother was lucky enough to have survived. I'm not going into depth about the details of that fateful day; they've been reiterated far too much over the past decade and in much better prose than my own. It's important to know, however, that my father was skilled and knowledgeable about mountaineering and wasn't an amateur attempting something beyond his grasp. He was also loving, devout in his faith and loyal to the bone to the family he created. When he fell and died, my life was ripped apart, everything coming undone and I am still trying to reassemble the pieces. Which, truthfully, is what this whole search for Love is all about.

My confession, then: I resent my father for dying. At first I blamed him for not focusing on the task at hand, of making a stupid mistake that cost him his life and nearly my brother's too. This was more out of the need of something tangible to hold onto, a physical focal point for the rage and betrayal I felt. Then it became more an issue of him wanting to die, to be united with his God in heaven more than he wanted to spend his life with his family. In the week after the accident, the broken record of "He's in a better place, where he's always wanted to go" played on and on, etching deeper lines of bitterness and resentment into my soul, to the point where I briefly thought that maybe he had stepped off that cliff on purpose just to get to the greener pastures.

Years went by and life continued, the jagged hole in my heart having long ago turned to rust. And what I feel towards the man that, frankly, I hardly knew is a dull bitterness, a familiar anger that no longer ends with him but seeps into every aspect of my life. I resent him because he abandoned me. I hate that he could find peace in an event that tore asunder everything I stood upon. And I hate too that now I know happiness is fleeting and can be stripped at a moment's notice, I'm afraid to let it into my life.

In all honesty, I know for a fact my father did not leave us willingly. Though he ached for the spiritual life more than he did for this physical one, his love for us knew no bounds and was the very part of his being. I know, too that he would weep to see that I have held onto this pain for far too long, at too high a cost. And I am tired of sucking away his happiness and in turn my own, all because he is indeed where he was always meant to go.

"Death has nothing to do with going away. The sun sets and the moon sets, but they're not gone. Death is a coming together."

This winter needs to end. Bitterness and anger are not what I want associated with my father or with my life. I don't want to look back and see only grey; I want a rainbow of an existence. But to get there, I have to uncover the rawness of my shame and place it on the fire, wearing it "like a saddle" on my back. I have to pull from the ocean of my tears and "soak the earth" of my soul with the healing divinity that always resides within me. I must be willing to let Love take root and grow.

"What dies in autumn comes up in spring, because this way of saying no becomes in spring your praise-song yes."

I look out my window, at the fading stars and the newborn light of early dawn. The streets have yet to awaken, the wind the only whispering voice against the hard pavement. I still feel centered, with a great sense of peace in my heart, though it is raw and sensitive to the touch. That sky, first with its million stars and now with the soft rose hues of morning has been my mirror, reflecting back to me what I've always tried to hide, what has been corrupting my life. And I know, from that place deep inside where all knowing resides, that Love's hand was at work once again. As I lay down to go to sleep, I hear the soft voice of Rumi on the wind, tender and filled with laughter telling me gently, "This dance is the joy of existence," and I can't help but smile as dreams take me.


30th September 2014

Aubrey, I knew your parents many years ago. They were just enough older than me to be high school counselors when I was in high school. I remember when you and your brother were born and how deeply they loved you guys. You were truly blessed with wonderful parents. When I got the news that your dad had passed away I was devastated and I was so sad for your mom. I knew she loved him dearly. Yes, your dad had an amazing faith and I know he loves being in the presence of God but Aubrey, he truly, truly loved you and your brother. When he crossed into heaven I think it must have been both wonderful and heartbreaking but I don't know what that experience is like. My dad that I loved so deeply passed into heaven 12 years ago and it was incredibly hard. I was angry for awhile because I felt like he gave up and didn't fight the cancer hard enough. But, I understand now. The disappointment and deep sorrow have been replaced with the will and passion to continue his dreams. I do things that I know would mean a lot to him and that keeps him closer. This year I plan to put all of his sermons on CD's so they can be shared. I always loved your dad's music, especially "China Doll." He had a wonderful ministry. Kip would want you to live your life to the fullest. I just wrote part of my story and it will be published next week. You are a gifted writer... maybe you should write your story. China Doll might be a good title :)
30th September 2014

my dearest baby, it has been a long, long time. but your words on this journey have resonated with me in so many ways, as has your searching and communing with Rumi. it is wonderful work to own the shame, sorrow, resent, etc- it is only then that you can find access to your soul in greater depths. i am so proud and moved that you are in this process and wanted you to know that! I try to read "the guest house" by rumi, daily... to remind myself that it i have to live it all in order to keep becoming. stay strong on your quest, you have such greatness in you. love ya, steph

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