Thursday, April 24, 2008

Like Thunder

I’ve walked the path laid out before me for as long as I’ve been able to stride, or even stumble. I’ve cared for the dispossessed, the wounded, the lost, the criminal and the abused in a myriad of jobs and circumstances. Minister, youth center director, counselor, inmate liaison in the county jail, substance abuse counselor for a public health clinic, high school counselor to students at risk, to name a few. Manager of a band of misfits finding their own lives. I also worked for a major financial institution in the jungles of Corporate America.

When I was young, and even into my middle years, because of catholic guilt, and childhood family dynamics, it was never demonstrated to me that I was important as an individual, and that I was deserving of having my needs met. I was happy to be fed the figurative scraps of life left on the table for those like me to quietly divide. I took the smallest piece of chicken on the plate. I always gave others the pick of the white meat, and left the leg for them in case they wanted seconds. I satisfied myself with scrawny wings, and bony backs, and necks. I did not complain about my chronic deprivation. And I watched others fill out nicely, and their lives take on meaning. It did them good, the nourishment they had. It did them well to have the things they needed. I watched them have the world for the asking, and even for the taking. I fed myself meagerly with one hand while feeding them bountifully with both, offering them the meat of that tender breast, or the strength of that warm thigh to sustain them.

But I’ll be alright. I always have been. I’ve made my way, with the living, and with the dead, with the deranged, and the defiled; through the wild, through the fog, through the forest, through a wilderness once burning with anger, and shrouded in regret. A land once filled with promise, a land once welcome for the tired and the hungry, the fallen, the forsaken and forlorn, the lost and the forgotten. Like an early American promise. Like a long road home. A perilous journey fueled by fallen heroes, “used to be’s, and coulda been’s, and never were’s, and zeroes”. A cruel and peculiar drama, but on a stage of sound design.

I no longer fear the frailty, or the deprivation, or the neglect. I am stronger now than the well fed, the inbred, the perpetually safe and satisfied. The adversity has made me strong.
Like thunder.

I would not wish the same for others,
but I thank God for it’s brutal intrusion into my otherwise tenuous life.