Sunday, June 15, 2008

Compassion for Chaos

On this Father's Day, my pops is wrapping up all the menial work of maintaining his 40 acres, before he and my mom fly off to Kauai tomorrow. He's rolling around in the dry South Dakota dirt, fixing the water well he broke yesterday while installing a sprinkler system. He's Hank Hill, with a little of Tim the Tool Guy thrown in for good measure. But those petty chores are no big deal, in comparison to the big stuff that's happening this month. In a week or so will be the first of what he hopes will be three golden weddings for the Vulcan girls. My sis is marrying her Hawaiian surfer on a beach in Kauai -- the daydream she's had forever coming true. If all us girls get what we want, then i will someday have my gorgeous dark-haired photographer by my side, ready to follow me around the world. He of course will speak several of the languages that i don't speak, so between us we will be able to talk smack with about half the world.

It seems like a casual daydream, that may or may not come true -- but more and more i am learning to listen to the little voice in the back of my head that forecasts what the future holds. In fourth grade i told my teacher i would someday be a writer and a teacher. As an adult, those are the professions that have fed me. In college, the little voice told me that i would live in the woods of Oregon and have a baby. The same voice told me that i would be shouting a little girl's name -- from the driver's seat to the back of the car, where the little rascal was acting rascally. That name is now what i call her, and she is indeed a rascal. The voice also told me that i would be raising her alone. I didn't believe the voice on that one, until a couple years ago. I thought i'd found the man who would do his art in the basement while i wrote in the office upstairs, forever into oblivion; but it all just got too complicated, too tainted by mismanagement and disloyalty. So in the end, the voice was right about the single mama stuff.

Today that man is spending his Father's Day in a hospital bed. I am overwhelmed by the timing and the karma that is at work in the current events. Seven months ago i called the cops on this man, after he got out of hand and left me and my car in disrepair, his daughter in terror. He's been in a mess of anxiety and chaos ever since. On Wednesday, the court case that started in October was finally dropped, after i dropped out of the fight to prosecute him. I learned that the legal system is not out to protect me -- it's only good for sapping money from the unsappable, and further victimizing the victims. Then the very next day, that man started having stomach pains more overwhelming than the ones that have plagued him for the past few months. He went to the hospital and they admitted him immediately. They put a bag on his gut and are draining the contents of it right now. So after months of anxiety, the profound mental and physical pain he's been in had to be released by a trained professional. I cannot help but think that his chaos was so intense, that it was the only way it could get out of him. I wonder what it will take to release my pain -- which i admit is more about pain inflicted upon me than it is guilt about inflicting it upon someone else.

Still, i do not claim that i never dished out pain, and i do have guilt of my own for how our relationship went. The forces of retribution are strong -- hence i continue to sleep with a little blonde one in my bed, instead of a dark-haired companion who exists only in dreams. I am condemned for taking the first love lightly -- so now i sleep alone, and take everything seriously. For her father, the retribution seems to be even stronger. I am afraid of its power. It's another of those little voices that you don't really believe, until they slap you in the face.

You might not believe that actions have consquences, and they could follow you for the rest of your life. I never believed in the real evil of big media until i was able to see it for myself. The evil in it is not that we are all horrible people out to propagate our horrid agendas. The evil in this job is more that we are taught, and hold our haughty heads high because we firmly believe we are being objective. We hold our heads so high that we never see that the media machine does not set us up to be objective. We may think we are 'asking the tough questions' of police and politicians -- but it is in the talking to them that we lose objectivity. We forget the people whose voices don't come to us in a press release -- the people who have no voice at all to speak about their troubles. But i would have believed none of this unless i learned the hard lesson for myself, after years of toil at this job.

Likewise, i would not have believed so firmly in karma had i not experienced what i have seen between me and baby daddy over the past several months. I still don't really want to believe it. For me, he committed a number of cardinal sins, and i still can't fully forgive him just yet. But i don't want karma to get him this bad. I don't want my daughter growing up without a father in her life. No matter the disappointments, the lies, the shoddy, absent parenting, the girl is better off with some father in her life than no father. I have to come to that conclusion. And he loves her. Lately his own struggle has made it hard for him to say it, but he can still hold her close and tickle her back and make her feel loved. I can't think that a person who she loves so much can be all that bad. I am praying for him, on this Father's Day, to make it through.

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