Over the past couple of years, specifically since my Dad passed away in 2007, I have learned some very difficult lessons but now, those lessons all make sense and I am able to give each of them deeper meaning.
My Dad was an ethereal dreamer. In many ways, trying to get inside of his head was a chore but by the same token it was a stimulating experience. Complicated and infuriating at times. Sort of like getting blood from a stone. When finally an expression came, it was met with deep, abiding satisfaction. The phrase, “good things come to those who wait”, was clearly coined by my father.
His mind was incredible as were his accomplishments. I’m not writing this to boast about my Dad but a few words do need to be said.
My father was a master of language. Specifically a Yale graduate with a PhD in linguistics. I can only say that he was very hard on me when it came to understanding Shakespeare’s passionate prose, the meaning behind Rudyard Kipling’s Mandalay or even 4th grade grammar, while pouring over a simple creative writing assignment into the wee hours of the night. It seemed I could never get it quite right. I do now, well, at least I think I do. I still feel somewhat reticent in that department, but I do try my best.
His knowledge of the worlds religions and cultures was also astounding. He was very well versed in many religious principles and because of that he shied away from organized tenets, though he studied and understood them all. I liked that about him. He was very open minded.
My Dad was also somewhat of a Bohemian. He loved living in Greenwich Village in the late 1950’s where he’d frequent the jazz clubs and have deep talks about politics and culture with the one and only Noam Chomsky.
He also knew the very dark side of the US’s covert political operations.
But the weird thing about my Dad was that he rarely spoke or gave out too many details or was emotional or demonstrative in showing his affections. I always felt like I was pulling teeth to get the goods on a juicy tale of espionage, the over throw of the Panamanian government, the Kabbalah, the Peloponnesian War or even in getting a simple hug. I really had to work hard and be patient. Granted, it was truly worth it in the end, but very exhausting.
There was an aloofness about him. It made me hunger for his attention, his communication and his love always.
For many years I waited for him to return from far away travels and I waited for him to tell me stories and I waited for him to grab me up in his arms and swing me around. That day rarely came. It would be an odd occurrence to see that side of my Dad.
I saw it very infrequently and I am the kind of person that is burning with passion and desire, excitement and glee; for lack of a better term. It made it very hard, all that waiting.
My Dad was a typical Aquarius. Aloof, brilliant, cool emotionally, a crazy Bohemian and a free thinker. I adored him. But the waiting broke my heart. Finally, the day he passed, he confessed to me that he, “adored” me and was very proud of me. I went off that day the happiest girl on the planet. But it taught me something that I only recently came to understand.
I can’t wait.
I can’t jump through hoops waiting for something to materialize. I can’t wait for that long needed affection. I can’t wait to find out why things are the way they are. Waiting just takes too long. Although I loved him dearly, I wasted a long time waiting for confirmation and proof. The kind of proof I now know is what I have always needed and craved for. It certainly gave me the patience of a saint and it certainly gave me a hard work ethic and internal fortitude, but sometimes we need instant gratification. Sometimes waiting for ice to melt or water to boil is arduous and even painful. It never seems to happen. Does paint dry? Does the grass grow? Sometimes you want to hear how the story ends first. Sometimes you just need a gratuitous show of words, affection and praise.
I have my fathers cool aloofness on the outside. But inside I have a burning hunger that needs expression. My Dad did not possess that. He rarely showed emotion. Neither good nor bad. He wasn’t even a little bit, “excitable”. It was hard to tell what he was thinking and to this day, I still wonder what really was going on in his mind. He was to me like a bottomless well. No one would ever get to go that deep. My sister Bo, whom I’ve recently become acquainted with, wants me to tell her about the father she never knew…
I will tell her that I knew I never knew a lot.
I have learned that I need, in no uncertain terms, passion. I need it in everything every single day of my life. I am a passionate communicator. I am a passionate friend. I am passionate about dancing and music. A passionate gardener, fisherman, painter and writer. I am no less passionate in showing and receiving love.
I will wait for nothing. Ever again.
- People We Love: Noam Chomsky | Sonora Review (chomskywatch.wordpress.com)
- Noam Chomsky on Education from Learning Without Frontiers 2012 | smithery (chomskywatch.wordpress.com)