Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

So focused on where we want to go, it can be easy to forget where we have been, and how far we have come.

This holiday for me, crosses all lines of religion, ethnicity, and economics to be truly American. Only on this day do the roads empty, most stores close, and everyone has a common purpose, celebrated in one basic form. “Over the river and through the woods”, we go to celebrate the loved ones, the rock solid foundations in our lives. Priceless moments of conversations light and deep are cooked over the hard work of preparing the food, smells that linger a lifetime. Since living in town, I have enjoyed a walk outdoors at dusk, breathing in the silence of everyone feasting, gathered across the country in families together.

This year, my family is broken and my younger kids will be with their mother. My own sisters and parents are scattered. My friends all rightfully have plans of their own. A co-worker graciously invited me to join his family for a day of feast and football, but I have declined. Not to be pitied, or feeling depressed, for the first time in my life, I am thankful to be alone.

Fortunately, I am in no way truly alone. If I could get there, my children and sister in Oregon would share food and celebration with great spirit. In Pennsylvania, I have a father and sisters who would watch the Eagles with me in the same combination of hope and dread that plagues their loyal fans of 50 years.

And I have a mother whose eyes, as bright and blue as ever, might show the tiniest flicker of recognition at the sound of the voice she raised.

In this year of turmoil and change, one friendship has deepened into brotherhood, a man so there for me, and I for him, I joked yesterday that a day without at least a phone call causes withdrawal symptoms. Other friendships have blossomed or wilted according to the natural choices of sides. Some very old friendships have been re-ignited, and some great new friends welcome and support my current journey.

One year ago, I said I needed to hear my own voice. In the wreckage of homelife, work, and all that was not working, I was trying so hard to fix it all so fast, I could no longer tell what was truly my own, or just words I thought I was supposed to say. A second divorce, just like a bankruptcy, were options outside the strong family values I have known, but the din was overwhelming and could have led to a very real and awful silence.

So for better or worse, I am thankful today to be alone, to write and sing and do my work as best I can to put humble bread upon my table. I laugh, I can make others laugh. I cry, and am beginning to understand that it is not my job to keep others from crying. My inappropriate compulsive behaviors have vanished. There are those who congratulate me and others who admonish, but I am doing my best to hear those outside judgments as just votes of confidence, allowing my voice to be altered perhaps, but in no way diminished.

In this same circumstance twenty years ago, with the same guitar, piano, and dreams of writing novels, I felt half-complete. For life to be right as I knew and wanted it, all was second best until I had a mate with whom it could be shared. Having met a wonderful woman, I was determined to make our union work, no matter what. These many years, full of joys and pain, have provided lessons I needed to learn, as great and as hard as they have been. I have few regrets.

Today, I am liking the voice I hear. Always in need of refinement, still, it carries itself well, sings a song, alone or in a crowd, to make my mother proud.

Please share with your friends


persistentillusion said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Kip. Your journey is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the quality time with yourself. When I was single again for 14 years I learned most of all to like myself and to enjoy the time alone as well as the time with friends.

Best to you Kip

Laurie said...

Isn't it amazing how much our lives can change in such a short amount of time? You are an incredible person. I admire you, your perseverance, your talent, your integrity. Kip, you are a good soul. You share your heart and invite me in. The wounds and struggles of your heart look familiar to me. The passion for your dreams and life have a powerful presence there too. I feel right at home, comfortable and cozy. Thanks for opening the door. Big Hugs Kip! Happy Everyday!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.