Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Father and Son



If they were right, I'd agree
But it's them they know, not me
There's a way, and I know
I have to go away
I know I have to go
     --Cat Stevens, Father and Son


I understand things through their opposites. Their failures.

It's the way I'm drawn to songs about failed love and pain, because they show me what love should never do. Cat Stevens' song is like that. Not about love, but something more basic, more fundamental.

Two personalities clashing. One full of life--wanting to experience, wanting to rush forward.

Young.

One wanting to spare pain, mistakes, and straying badly off course.

Old.

And they've passed each other in the middle. The father is not the mentor. Not a wealth of understanding, guidance, and acceptance. The son is not the re-ignition of passion. Not the recaptured lust for life.

I understand this failure, this absence. I understand what I've missed. I understand why certain movies have been hitting me so hard lately.

I understand things through their opposites. But I'd like to ask Cat Stevens a question, in case he knows.

Where do you go after you've gone away?

12 comments:

Shadow said...

i like how you look at failure. as a 'what not to do' kinda thing. what you describe here between the young and the old is the typical generation gap, coupled with a lack or correct communication. all too sad when that happens.

Karen said...

As Wordsworth said, the child is the father of the man, Jason. The unfortunate part of that is that the child is powerless to choose.

the walking man said...

Where do you go when you have gone away?

You get older as you strive get wherever "there" is. And when you have arrived you look back at being young as the portion someone else served you. You look back and see what you ate and what you fed the dog 'neath the table.

There is no aging without regrets, no life has ever been lived without longing and when you look back at the things you wanted to become but never did then you find that you still have life enough left to pursue them. But you pause, you wonder if you still want the freedom, or the happiness, or the whatever it is you were looking for that you never found.

In this one instant I believe Karen is wrong, the child always can choose even though ill prepared for the consequences of half the choices. I was ill prepared but made my own choices any way.

I looked and wandered aimlessly from a very early age and when I left it was without any goal in mind. Everything that I ever accomplished was seemingly accidental. It does not diminish them, just makes me stronger in my belief that I never traveled alone and greater in my faith that I am where I belong now and one last thing...it makes it easier to accept that what I have been and where I have gone has led me to where I am now which is content enough to make it through the day I live in now.

Four Dinners said...

I'd like to ask him how the hell you go from Cat Stevens to Yusuf Islam.

Nutty as a fruitcake he is.

Failure's never been a problem to me. I find it easy....;-)

Chris Eldin said...

Where do you go after you've gone away?
That's easy Jason. I'm sure Aine has been trying to show you ... you go to your own children and hug them close.

jason evans said...

Shadow, I'm glad I'm not a total crackpot for doing that. :) I do steer by negatives much more than positives.

Karen, yes, the child is powerless to choose his/her situation. It's the lot you drew. No more, no less. The choices begin when you step out the door. Of course, so often, we don't see how we carry the mirror, or effects, of that child's situation.

Walking Man, the vision you paint for us feels very real and grounded to me. When you say, "you pause, you wonder," that experience comes in many flavors and strengths. It's a hard lion to tame (or at least to train). It's no fun to be eaten by the lion. It's also no fun to feel ill prepared.

Four Dinners, there's also a version of this song on YouTube by Yusuf Islam. I have to admit, there's a certain charm to it. However, I find people who dive headlong into second religions curious and astray. Just because something is new to you and exotic doesn't mean it's any more enlightening or more juicy than the religion you're born with. Some people seem to crave that sense that now I finally found the answer. Now I understand. It's a mind trick, though. It's only the newness that is intoxicating. Also, some people chose religions that are far more controlling. Part of them must crave that control.

Chris, when I was twelve, I began to be drawn into a parental role. A reversal of roles. Although that trained me well, I think, and I feel very prepared to be a parent and take it highly seriously (especially to not repeat what happened to me), having more parental roles will never fill the void of the security I missed.

Chris Eldin said...

Hi Jason,
I feel like we have a lot of childhood similarities... and these posts always make me see something in a new light.

What I meant wasn't *your* role as a parent. I meant your being able to accept the warmth/love from your children. Maybe "accept" isn't the right word. "Enjoy" is closer to what I mean, but still not quite right. It's about looking forward and not past. I'm struggling with similar issues, my parents having abandoned me and my siblings for all practical purposes. But I find myself healing more and more as my children are growing. Gaps are being filled in. Scars smoothed over.

I'll try to come back to this, but I wanted to clarify I didn't mean your parenting role at all. In fact, I am assuming you're much more tuned in than 99% of other parents.

Jean said...

Sometimes going away leaves you stuck in nowhere.

jason evans said...

Chris, thanks for adding those additional thoughts. :) I do feel like there is something round a satisfying fostering a good relationship with our children. It's important, though, not to impose on them to heal old wounds. That's how unfortunate cycles perpetuate. I'm trying hard to be mindful of that. Time will tell if I succeed.

Jean, that's the sense that sinks into my poem. I think it does happen.

Shakespeare said...

Perhaps it isn't going away, but going forward (or backward, or upward)...

Perhaps failure is all a matter of perspective. Can failure exist, even when death finds us?

Anonymous said...

Ah, Jason, I just read your post AFTER i emailed my youngest (of 3) son aged 24 when both of us are at some "crossroads". Talk about "young" and "old" perspectives -- I feel youre writing "just for me"! The timeliness I mean.
Cheers, Gbless, YL, Desi

jason evans said...

Shakespeare, maybe it's the wish for map and a compass.

Desi, that warms me to know that you found such personal meaning in it. :)