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Sunday, October 11, 2009

tender mercies

if you'll just stand beside me all the way ill do
all the things that didn't matter yesterday, hey
and ill be everything this man can be before i
stop if you'll just hold the ladder baby ill climb
to the top

there was a film made in the 80's starring robert duvall, ellen barkin, tess harper, and betty buckley. it was about alcoholism and how it effects the lives of the entire family if not more. i remember absolutely loving the nuances involved with duvall's struggles as he tries to reassemble a life without drinking and without the pitfalls that led him there.

i write about this now as i am just returning from a family function. my mother's siblings were all assembled as well as the rest of the family that resides in colorado. i love them all dearly. and i think i have moved past the craziness that they used to herald into my psyche. i also think that they haven't changed at all. i guess i just have.

my uncle who drinks too much still does what he always does. sometimes he's more sloppy than others, but the behavior hasn't changed in years. my absent cousin who is most definitely unmedicated bipolar has left her mark with her own branch of our family. she has become a part timer as she travels to explore her inner desires. she mainly communicates through her attempts to control and manipulate. and she doesn't necessarily do this with malice. she does it because it's how she has learned to survive.

my aunt (by marriage) was talking with me and another aunt by marriage and sharing her theory about our family. she has come to think that we all go through "a thing" at some point in our lives. some big issue that we have to confront without warning and without fail. they all come through it ok, but they all go through it none-the-less.

my imperfections probably tower high above over those who have known me the longest. but they are not an issue of any real consequence. they have been witnessed, understood, and folded in to our family quilt as if they were always meant to be there.

if i ever doubted that genetics are real, i would say that my own experiences have shown that nothing really be more true. i am connected to something bigger than me by much more than just a cross stitch or a piano hinge. i am part of this little big saga that i have rebelled against ever since i can remember.

tonight as i drove home from our short time together, i honestly could feel that my rebellion and my running away have ended. there is no need to judge any of them anymore, either. i have arrived at a place that feels a lot like live and let live.

today's sound choice is robert duvall singing "if you'll hold the ladder baby, i'll climb to the top". there is no embeddable version that i could find, but i encourage you to follow the link. the love i feel today which is represented by this post and this song is what i would truly consider on of the sweetest and truest of tender mercies.



Jeremiah Andrews said...

That is progress. Many people in recovery have real issues with going to family functions and coming out of them still sober. I am glad to see that you have seen what a difference a few sober years does for ones self.

We have insight that they don't have and because of recovery we can feel empathy and gratitude for the fact that we are who we are today and "but for the grace of God, you could be them."

Well done.


Java said...

I find that the pull of family is incredibly strong. Whenever I visit my relatives, it is the most natural thing in the world to fall into the same patterns of thought and behavior that I had when I was growing up. Sometimes I fight against it, and I've learned to resist some of it, but not all.

I love that picture. You look in that photo like the kind of guy I fall for. I'd have had a crush on you if we'd known each other then.

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