Posted by: AgingChild | January 27, 2017

Where’s the Empty Tomb? Where’s Aging Child?

I’m now right next door; stop on by – no need to wipe your feet, even… but do please keep your alcohol, tobacco, and firearms outdoors; thank you.

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Posted by: AgingChild | January 27, 2017

Update: Now Up to Date!

Good evening, reader(s?): as of almost 11:00 PM in my local time zone, January 27, 2017, I’ve finished moving all of my old WordPress blog posts to their new, more-easily-formatted home at BlogSpot… and am ready to start posting in real time… heh; all in good time.

“In good time” indeed – my first posting at WordPress was ten years ago tomorrow!

It wasn’t a mere superficial exercise in vanity; reading and reformatting each posting – was a worthwhile effort for me, because I was able to view the inner Aging Child… at an earlier age. And I remet old friends I haven’t seen or even heard from in years, and even had a good strong look at who I myself was, back then.

Here’s a posting I put up at BlogSpot a couple days ago:

Real Time… Coming Up!

Among plenty of other things I’ve been doing, these last few weeks, has been the transferal of my blog from its old site at WordPress to its new host here at BlogSpot – mostly to give me the kind of text formatting WordPress no longer provides, and which I have to have – you know I’m very visual, and need to be able to switch fonts and text colors (even sizes) in mid-posting.

There’s no handy tool or app that would let me bulk-move the whole thing, as I explained a couple months ago. So I’ve had to transfer each old posting, one at a time. But… this has allowed me to catch and correct ancient typos that had slipped by, various other errata, and to update hyperlinks (which I’ve done only in some instances… come on, guys – a lot of it is… old stuff!! )

As of this evening, I’ve relocated and spruced up two-hundred old postings, leaving just fifty-some more, and then the job is done, done-done-done dunnnn.

As I expected, I also found plenty of loose ends (besides dead links), and sketches of postings I’d hoped to write up and get out there… all those years ago. Some I may still do; we’ll see. In the meantime, it’s back to work – another week or two should do it; whew!

After that, yes, there’ll be back-and-fill even while I move forward. Most of that I’ll drop in, when I do, simply as background – stage props to strengthen the context and depth of what’s here and now… and where we’re headed.

Till then… ciao!

Heh; I certainly overestimated how long it would take me to get fifty-some blog postings… re-blogposted: just two days; not bad!

And of course I’ve changed, since 2008-or-so… less the occasional cliché and all, such as that one. If any – i.e., either – of my old readers wanders back here, and somehow finds the interest to visit the Empty Tomb’s new home, they may well see some of those changes. That’s not why I’ll write, or even what I’ll write. And I’ll be doing some recapping, I suppose… but I’d like to keep eyes more forward now.

This will likely be my next-to-last WordPress posting; I’m just next door, so stop on by if you’re still bored.

Posted by: AgingChild | December 3, 2016

Moving Day for the Aging Child

Good afternoon, loyal reader!

(…”loyal reader”, meaning “sole reader”…)

Last week, I set up this blog’s successor – well, transplantee might be a better term. For now I’ll mostly be moving over into it this old site’s postings, until maybe just this single page remains here.

That’ll take a while; I’ll drop new foolscap in here regularly as well.

This where to find me: http://1MT2mb.BlogSpot.com/.

See you next door!

Regards,

A. Gene Childe

Posted by: AgingChild | November 30, 2016

“It’s Only a Day Away”

December starts tomorrow! So remember:

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Posted by: AgingChild | November 28, 2016

Steps Forward

I’ve begun moving this blog, one posting at a time, over to Blogger. (I can’t move it all over at once.) Just my first sixteen posts have made it over thus far… leaving two-hundred-twenty-some. Well, [shrug], so I’ll be busy with that awhile.

I’ll try to keep this front end going, even while trimming off the backside, so to speak. I’m still busy with plenty of other things, including some backfill from The Missing Years.

I write first for me, not for both my readers… so it’s more like the cat watching its tail twitch, than jumping onstage and capering around. In some profound ways, I’m not the same person who was writing here regularly, most of a decade ago – pardon the cliché. And likely you’re far different from who you were back then as well.

A chunk of my own is in politics… or rather, what’s been guiding me in how I engage political and social issues – which came to a head most recently in the national election earlier this almost-over month. I’ll drop some more about that in here soon.

My faith remains strong, my longing for the monastery is undimmed, my commitment and devotion to those I love is unwavering… so in many ways, I’m still me, too. Yet I feel… deeper, and a bit less wishy in my washy; you’ll see – or have seen already.

Cheers, folks!

Posted by: AgingChild | November 27, 2016

The Missing Years

Catching Up, and Moving Onward

First Sunday of Advent (November 27, for the Gregorian secular), 2016:

I’ve blown the dust off this old blog and am pulling it back out onto the road. It’s been mostly dormant since early 2009, but it’s surprisingly roadworthy still; ditto the driver. I’m planning to transplant the engine and transmission and seats into a Blogger site, at some not-distant point. (For one thing, the formatting there is loads easier – plus fewer ads and fewer hands out.)

Life’s been busy, demanding, rewarding… and no-less-so now, today. The world and my little corner of it have changed tremendously, and I’ll be filling in some of the 2009-2016 blank areas of the map with backdated content. Pretty much anything here from early 2009 to late November of 2016 is backfill… or filler – or landfill.

On we go – and welcome back, my two readers! Still on board? Hello? Hello?

Posted by: AgingChild | November 27, 2016

Watch This Space

More to come shortly!

Posted by: AgingChild | February 16, 2009

Heart Followup: It’s Not About Me

Friend Augusta responded Saturday evening to the email that catalyzed the previous posting here, and weighed in gently on the heart-churning issues that have been occupying me: 

—–Original Message—–
From: Augusta Lovelace [mailto: AgustaLovelace@CondeNast.net]
Sent:
Saturday, February 14, 2009 9:02 PM
To: ‘Aging Child’
Subject: Re: Hi, Augusta!
  

Hi Gene, 

I was very happy to hear that your Mother is leaving rehab within a short time. That is wonderful news. It will probably be an emotional boost for her to be with your sister and get back to a somewhat more “normal” routine. I know when my Mother had been hospitalized and then came home, her whole demeanor changed. It was as if she took a deep sigh as if to say “ah, I’m home”. It did wonders for her to be in familiar surroundings with familiar people. 

Your brother Sarge will be in my thoughts and prayers. What a difficult position to be in. I feel sorry for his wife especially speaking very little English. She is fortunate to have all of you there to help and support her. I wish more people understood and appreciated the sacrifices that our military make. 

As far as the job hunt goes, I certainly hope that you find one soon. It is a difficult time to be searching for one. As i’ve said before, finding a job is like having a job. It takes so much effort. 

Now as far as your “rekindled” friendship with Guinevere. You sound as if you are stressing out more about that, than your job hunt. You are so fortunate – finding her again was a gift! As you have said, she has been through tough times in her life and for all you know she may feel the same way you do but is taking the practical route for the time being by following her head instead of her heart. “Oh ye of little faith”. Have patience – be patient. Many life-long relationships started out as friendships. I never knew of a kind and decent man ever running a woman off. 

As far as you being conflicted with your thoughts of becoming a priest, friar, etc. that is another whole ball of wax. I think that would take some soul searching. Although I believe there are many ways you could serve your “fellow man” that would be just as effective, if not more, than becoming a priest, friar, etc. “The color of the package has no bearing on what’s inside”. If the desire is there it won’t make a difference if you are dressed in robes, a suit and tie or bermuda shorts and a tee-shirt and if the desire is there – you will find a way – and who knows, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a partner along side of you to take the journey. I believe Guinevere came along in your life at this moment for a reason – maybe someone has a bigger plan for you. I say we all need to enjoy what is in the here and now – it will give us some wonderful memories to talk about when we’re old and dodgy. 

So now that I have forced my little “philosophical tidbits” on you, I will close for now and hope that you just enjoy the time you spend with Guinevere and let the relationship slowly evolve. Exhale! 

Talk to you soon, 

Augusta 

Guinevere and I had spoken that evening, and our short conversation lifted the great weight. Augusta‘s email supplemented the peace further; I wrote back: 

—–Original Message—–
From: Aging Child [mailto:AGeneChilde@YouWho.com]
Sent:
Sunday, February 15, 2009 12:42 PM

To:
Augusta
Subject: RE: Hi,
Augusta! 
 

Good afternoon, Augusta: 

And thank you for your kind words and support for the many things pulling hard at my heart and attention lately! 

Yes, Mother‘s certainly been itching for as much of a return to normal as possible – and the possibilities themselves, speaking of which, keep looking better. Her spirit is very upbeat; she has darned few “down” days, and has buoyed us nicely, as we can clearly see we’ve been doing for her. The change of scenery to something even more homelike than the already-homelikeness of her rehab facility… will bolster and encourage her (and us!) even further. 

My brother: Sarge was in greater danger in 1991 when he was over in that neighborhood (mostly Kuwait and Saudi Arabia) during Desert Storm. It was tougher on us then, since it was much harder for him to get word out to us (and harder yet for us to get a note to him). Now he has occasional access to email (long lines, but this is still so much better than before), and reassurances can flow much more easily… both ways, too. 

With a sudden, dizzying flurry of interviews, plus some upcoming shorter-term assignments already committed to, things are looking better for me jobwise – at the very least, several good possibilities are much more closer in reach. And every interview, even at very worst, is still real-world practice for the next, giving me opportunities to further refine how I present myself and sell my strengths to those companies that definitely need them. 

And re Guinevere… well, I was writing after a troubled night of lost sleep, and a heavy, unshakeable dread that my opening up to her that evening might have cast a doubtful light on my motivations for appreciating and valuing our friendship. (I hadn’t meant to unload on you… so thank your for those “little philosophical tidbits“!) More than once in my life I’ve put my foot (or heart) in my mouth at a particularly vulnerable moment, and suddenly found myself, head still spinning, standing in the ruins, alone. 

So the heavy depression – despair, almost – surrounded and enwrapped me so much of the day, and this is the shape I was in when I wrote. But that evening, while I was visiting with my mother, Guinevere called (I am so glad for cellphones lately), and we chatted just a couple minutes. She talked with my mother a little – they’d charmed each other gently and sweetly at Guinevere’s visit up her last Sunday – and remarked in amazement at how more clearly my mother was speaking even than just last week; she was really touched. 

That simple, two-minute call lifted my spirits tremendously, simply through its very mundane nature (other than my mother’s particularly delightful share of it, of course), and that it was a not-in-so-many-words reassurance that all was/is well. 

Sometimes it’s the little things. 

I’ve felt greatly relieved, and so much better and at peace, since then. Inside, I’m also very carefully and delicately seeing what ways I can very gently detach some of my more vulnerable feelings, ones that can stand in the way of simply enjoying the relationship as it is, absent and ignoring the attraction. Small steps, little things… and hands folded. 

Thanks again, Ada, and have a great remainder of the weekend, and upcoming week! 

Gene 

To my astonishment, gadfly “Eric had for some unfathomable reason actually read the posting; he’s as kindly, loving, empathetic, and sympathetic as always; I’m doing him the kindness of not including the Who-Is and email address my blogserver provided on him: 

—–Original Message—–
From: eric [mailto:EricIdol@YouWho.com]
Sent:
Monday, February 16, 2009 1:43 AM
To: AGeneChilde@YouWho.com
Subject: [MT2mb] Comment: “It’s a Heart Ache”
  

New comment on your post #854 “It’s a Heart Ache” 

You seem really lonely and desperate for some romantic love. Have you considered dating (like actively searching for female companionship)? This chick seems really complicated and if you’re so terrified of scaring her off then honestly you should just keep her as a friend and find someone *else* to fall in love with. You obviously badly want and need a woman in your life and the whole priestly celibacy thing seems like a cop-out. Like, if you can’t find a woman then you’re just going to become a priest and then it will be like you didn’t fall in love on purpose. Yeah right. If this “Guinevere” was as crazy about you as you were of her then the whole “white collar” thing would be history. So maybe be a little more honest with yourself about what you want…what you NEED and what you can do to GET it. Crying, blobbing, sending emails, and praying is definitely NOT going to move you closer to satisfaction. 

Quite the gentleman; thanks for your two cents’, sir. Best response might have been to delete his note, or block him out of my blog. So I emailed back, instead… not bothering to point out that some of us men – even those living or contemplating the celibate life – do prefer the company of women who are “really complicated”, and so prefer to engage these women with the emotional and intellectual parts of our being even more than the mere, uh, nether hookups. Or to quote Murray Head, “I get my kicks above the waistline, Sunshine!”. 

—–Original Message—–
From: AGeneChilde@YouWho.com
Sent:
Monday, February 16, 2009 10:32 AM

To: EricIdol@YouWho.com
Subject: RE: Comment: “It’s a Heart Ache”
  

Eric, there have got to be far better and more worthwhile sites and blogs out there for you to be reading in the wee hours of the morning than my own at-times-troubled musings and ponderings. And just about anything else out there is much more interesting. 

The essence of the priesthood is to serve God and His people – both in the Church, and beyond – through bringing and opening up His word to them in the scripture, the Church’s teachings, its sacraments, and ministries. The world is hungry and badly, badly in need of God’s cleansing love and compassion; each priest serving Him stands as one more clear conduit of this love and compassion. 

The key, pivotal word there is “serve”: the priest is serving people in need – all people – and the God who has put us here and is our ultimate destination. This kind of service must be one of selflessness: “Not my will, but yours”, “Ad majorem Dei gloriam (To the greater glory of God)”, and so on. 

By blunt contrast, the pursuit of interpersonal, intimate love is by definition anything but selfless: it is seeking the pursuer’s worldly desires first, and not the needs of another person. Other than the massively ego-driven, who dates specifically to bring God’s love into the world? Those folks “on the market” are looking for one (or more) other person to “complete” their lives – and are in it for themselves first. 

This is antithetical to selfless service. 

In trying to be selfless, the aim isn’t to be a saint, or to be holy, or to clutch for a halo to wear proudly in public. The objective, rather, is simple humility. 

The concept, in fact, is so simple and basic that most people can’t grasp it. 

Here’s another one: that we have hearts and minds, feelings and dreams, clearly shows that we were not created for this world, and – as the cliché goes – are briefly passing through, entering empty-handed and leaving the same way. We are told, and not just by Christian teachings, that here we are to prepare ourselves for what comes next, and to not get lost in the distractions and demands of this life. 

Most of us still get lost. Why? Through stubbornly casting and following our paths to serve our own wants and needs, putting others no higher than second place. By seeking what we see as our own greater good first. 

So my struggle over Guinevere is to, first, ensure that the focus of my feelings and appreciation for her remain heavily on the non– self-serving side of the slate, that I be a trusted friend, sounding-board, advisor, confidant, listener, sharer-of-time. It’s not about me. (Try saying those four words yourself, Eric, about anything/anyone of importance in your life: “It’s Not About Me”. Say them again. And again. Can you? Do they sound stupid to you? Why do you think that is?) 

It’s not about me. It must not be about me. Or I am not a friend. 

Second, part of the struggle is, yes, to rein and direct my own, very human and understandable feelings of attraction over to more selfless ones of what I can do to make her own struggles more bearable, to lighten the things that worry her and keep her up at night, and to be of a good, positive, supportive role in her life. 

That itself may be, or become, the environment within which a healthy, one-on-one love could indeed grow and be nurtured, if we both so desire it. Can it be done selflessly? I think so. But it takes two, and it’s not about me. It can’t be. 

So: Conflict One for this Aging Child is to be a friend first and foremost, and not be focused on myself when I’m with her (whether in person, on the phone, online, and so on), or when just dwelling on my thought of her. This is not easy, not for anyone with genuine emotional depth, even with a clear inner commitment to respect her first… or how else am I to maturely respect myself? 

Conflict Two follows on that: if Guinne and I both decide to open ourselves to something far deeper than the friendship we each need, then I cannot be the priest/monk I’ve wanted to be for some years now. 

I want to skip that celibacy non-issue for now; you and I will have at it some other time – I’ve been meaning to for a good many months now; concerns of my mother’s health and my own intense job-search are of greater immediate need of my attention, as are other family issues, and pondering/taking further cautious steps (together with Guinevere, and alone) with this friendship I’ve been discussing. 

For now, in a nutshell: A married/dating priest by definition cannot be a selfless servant. His life-partner will be shortchanged, or his God and destiny will be. 

My challenge for you, Eric, is to do something today for someone else. Want to toughen the challenge, if that sounds easy? Do something particularly kind for someone who has been mean, rude, even hateful, to you. Further challenge: give something you value (money, property, time) to a complete stranger… especially someone in no position to give back. 

Take a peek at selflessness. And then look more closely. Can you step up to it? 

Regards,

A. Gene Childe 

Maybe I should also have inquired politely how many years now he’s been happily married. But that would have been petty. 

Further, on the “then I cannot be the priest/monk I’ve wanted to be for some years now”: I was many years reaching the point where I’ve been more and more prepared to turn my life over to the Church, and serving it. This is a facet I would not release easily, though I find, most interestingly, that some part of me remains open to doing so, if I can still serve the Church and my God through a non-avowed/-professed life; this is referred to as “lay ministry”, and does include the deaconate (which is a professed-religious life); deacons may be married. 

Oh, and Mr. Idol: don’t give me a hard time over the word “lay” in “lay ministry”. Grow up, sir.

Posted by: AgingChild | February 14, 2009

It’s a Heart Ache

It’s entirely coincidental – really – that I post here on Valentine’s Day a pair of emails dealing with a deep struggle of my heart, one that’s had me terribly engaged and distracted, battling even tears and genuine, hard depression. 

The intimate, one-on-one love between man and woman is a beautiful treasure that comes too rarely into one’s hands and life, and seemingly too easily dribbles out before we can clutch it to the heart and appreciate it for all its worth. I’ve been there, I’ve done that… and gave up on it with true regret over five years ago. (Meaning, of course, that I’ve stopped dating and am celibate, not that this is anyone’s business but my own.) 

Something also of great value, even more underrated and overly ignored, is simple friendship, especially of the deep, buddy-sort: a freeness to speak honestly, with little or no sugar-coating; a non- self-consciousness over dorky laughter, even the occasional accidental release of inner digestive gases; mentally, emotionally, and even physically leaning on each other as may be needed or just happen to happen; and just simply finding good, relaxed (yet rewarding) company in the other. 

It can be real eggshell-walking when this kind of special, too-rare friendship spans the gender-divide. Yet the comfort to the heart can also be especially deep.

Online-friend Augusta emailed me yesterday; I haven’t been in touch with her, and she wanted to catch up: 

—–Original Message—–
From: Augusta Lovelace [mailto: AgustaLovelace@CondeNast.net]
Sent:
Friday, February 13, 2009 7:33 PM
To: ‘Aging Child’
Subject: Hi A. Gene

Hi Gene, 

How are you?  How is your mother.   

We are all fine now but everyone has been battling the stomach virus or flu-like symptoms that have been going around.  Hopefully at this point, everyone seems to be feeling all right.   For awhile there I was starting to feel like Florence Nightingale.  I was glad to see everyone finally feeling better.  No sooner did everyone get over their illnesses and my sister and brother came up to visit.  My brother had to come back up again to take care of some business so they came up yesterday and left today – whew!  I’m tired.  So now that it is calm and quiet I am spending a little time getting caught up on e-mails. 

Hope all is well with you and yours, 

Augusta  

In my response, I found myself unloading as well about this very personal issue, which I’ve thus far kept nearly fully private; I bcc’d friend Spartacus because he’d e-peeked in on me a few days ago, concerned about my near-silence of late, and he deserved to know the latest: 

—–Original Message—–
From: Aging Child [mailto:AGeneChilde@YouWho.com]
Sent:
Saturday, February 14, 2009 10:36 AM

To:
Augusta
Bcc: “Spark” le Klaus [mailto:SpartaCuss@Yabbadoo.com]
Subject: RE: Hi,
Augusta!  

Good morning, Augusta: 

All’s well, overall. Mother may be released from rehab within another week, most likely for a time staying at my sister’s home (not as many stairs to contend with, day to day) before coming back home here. This is great news – the rehab folks let me know yesterday, and not everyone in the family even knows yet; I still need to get the news out. 

My older brother, Sarge, went off to Iraq with the Marines at the end of last month, one-year duty. His new wife speaks very little English (Korean only), and so my sister and my other brother and I take turns dropping by their home once a week to help out with errands, bills, maintenance, and so on. I do worry about Sarge; he assures us that he’s in a safe, cushy desk-job far from any of the dangerous areas, but of course we’ll keep worrying – and praying – until he’s back home again next year. 

Besides for my brother, and for my mother, I’ve been doing heavier praying for my own job-hunt, and am seeing God’s grace and compassion yielding a good several interviews lately, including one yesterday. For the last few weeks I’ve been working evenings and weekends (the shifts I’ve desired least) with a relatively easy job doing research surveys over the phone. The pay is low, but it’s still money coming in to pay for groceries and the car… although just barely, if even that. I’m grateful for it (probably not enough, I admit guiltily), and also look forward to not being as dependent on it – i.e., these interviews yielding a full-time, daytime job at a much higher wage. But nonsensibly dread almost every shift. 

Further personal stress comes from a new, very heart-warming relationship I hadn’t expected and am now inwardly finding this heart of mine in some ways seriously chewed up over. Guinevere and I had been gentle friends back in the early nineties, at a very different and extremely difficult time in our lives (and briefly a bit more than friends), before falling out of touch when I transferred out of state in 1993. I’d always worried how life had turned out for her, and with some persistence found her online in 2005 and briefly emailed with her, before losing touch again. 

Late last year we reconnected again via email, and met up again to say hi, the first we’d seen each other in nearly seventeen years. There was an immediate warmth and delight there as we sat in Pizza Hut talking; I gave her a book of hers she’d loaned me way back when (and I’d been holding to return to her someday), some music, and a magazine I’d tracked down and bought for her in Germany in 1993 and never gotten to give her (again, always hanging onto for her). 

It seems we’ve found a nice friendship – more new than renewed, I personally believe; we’re both rather different people now, though the younger two-of-us still occasionally peeps out of our eyes, I think. I’ve visited her at her home in [a large nearby city] three times now (including yesterday evening), and she was up here last Sunday for a stroll through some of the nicer parts my own town, and to meet my mother (and bumping into my younger brother). And, yes, all has been G-rated. 

The stress I mentioned, though, comes to me from finding that one wide facet of my thoughts and feelings for Guinevere are much deeper than friendship-only, even while I know there is also a genuine friendship and respect for her in my heart too. She herself, owing to a particularly rough life and ongoing challenges (unemployment, and some other issues she’s only been able to mention indirectly), is likely capable only of friendship-level feelings and responses. 

It’s not that we’re looking at a huge imbalance between us; it’s more like an extreme struggle strictly in me at times, wanting to preserve that friendship against anything that might make it more vulnerable (e.g., going deeper – or just trying to), rather than strengthen it further. My struggle is to keep a lid on these deeper and more intense feelings in me, since I deeply value Guinevere’s blunt honesty and candor, and so badly need that in a friend, and am genuinely frightened of losing her/our friendship through motivations that would be merely superficial, self-serving, and stupid. If I try to direct us into taking that path, it would put an absolute lie to all the focus and motivations I’ve permitted thus far, and – again – would cost me a relationship utterly unique in my life today, let alone for most of the past twenty years. 

I didn’t plan on this attraction, never engineered or deliberately fed it (I think)… and have not found myself so attracted, either, for nearly those same twenty years. I keep it reined in, yes, with some difficulty… but there seems little more I can do about it – certainly can’t kill it, and it’s not likely to starve or fall into a coma anytime soon. This is very far out of my recent experience, and I am very, very close to being in deeply over my head… at least in over my heart.

And the struggle has an added, heavier dimension: indulging my deeper feelings for this good, sweet, fun, and patient (and spiritual) woman is totally at odds against my prime motivator for many years now: to turn over the rest of my life to serving my faith and my Church, either as priest or professed/avowed religious (i.e., monk/friar). That’s the selfish-versus-selfless struggle: be a little something for many people, versus just try instead (with a lousy track record, and rusty skills at best) to be something for one person… and with no guarantee at all, and the frightful risk of ruining something new, treasured, and unexpected. 

The only resolution, of course, for all of this, is for me to keep that deeper interest banked, and simply enjoy her company when we’re together. (And my heart wrings its metaphorical hands over how long before the next time I see her.) There’s nothing wrong in valuing a friendship, nor even in there being much deeper feelings and desires for this person, so long as they don’t control, don’t overburden, don’t distract, don’t detour me – nor us. 

There’s the crux of it for me. I’ve lost hours of sleep over these feelings on more than one night (including last night), and at times find myself deeply depressed and helplessly/hopelessly vulnerable. Much of this I must keep to myself (Guinevere and I did discuss a bit last night, and last Sunday), since I know it would put an unfair burden on her, and on our friendship… given especially that her level at comfort – and her understandable concern over how much even of my friendship-feelings may derive from simple loneliness, and a desire to seize hold again of something from my/our younger days (not true, by the way) – is much more fixed and content at the friendship-side of it all than my innermost heart is. And, in cold, hard, fact, this friendship is new, and so still has much of that just-hatched, new-colt fragility throughout. 

The inner stress and struggle have sapped me a good deal, and lately have been affecting my other outer expressions of inner self, such as my writing (both blog and novel), and my focus on my future: mapping out classes to take once the income is coming back in, detaching myself further from this world; also even on some stuff around the home (painting, winter garden-maintenance, etc.). 

Even gathering info on your ancestor’s German stamps has been almost impossible to put some needful focus on, so I can get them identified and back to you for his album. I do apologize for that (they’re still here on my desk; I will get on them as soon as I can give them the attention due)… and for how needlessly long this email’s gotten, too. 

So let me close for now by asking that you keep my mother and brother in your prayers, and me – and Guinevere, too. We each need it, and all. 

Always,

Gene 

And to a gentle followup question from Spartacus, I answered at even greater length: 

—–Original Message—–
From: Aging Child [mailto: AGeneChilde@YouWho.com]
Sent:
Saturday, February 14, 2009 2:34 PM
To: “Spark” le Klaus [mailto:SpartaCuss@Yabbadoo.com]
Subject: RE: Girl, and Buoy
  

This wrenching struggle I’ve kept almost entirely to myself (since it’s strictly confined to my own heart and will), sharing just a Readers’-Digest version with my mother – who was warmly charmed by Guinevere, and vice-versa, this past Sunday – and sharing also just some of the more difficult parts with Miss Guinne herself. 

This extreme sensitivity’s had me nearly at tears, now and then, these past several weeks… including while visiting with my mother this morning, and skimming off some of the choppy froth of these tossing waves to share with her.

She’d asked how yesterday evening had been (I’d brought “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” along to Guinevere’s for us to watch and munch popcorn over – and though I’d left at close to midnight, we – I – had as always stayed completely G-rated). And Mother even asked “Did you break up?” I forced a chuckle and told her there’s no dating to break up from, and that I’d probably be back down there (or Guinevere up here) again next weekend. (Maybe; last night Guinevere also said that next weekend’s “up in the air”. Far from comforting… but I’m not about to push.) 

Just because she’s recovering from a debilitating series of strokes doesn’t mean my mother’s blind. She saw how a couple times my lips pressed shut tight and I looked away as my eyes began to fill a little, and heard my voice needfully pause and catch itself. She sent me home right before lunch, and told me, “No more tears.” I hugged her there in her wheelchair, and kissed her fluffy hair. 

Spartacus, the tears and depression aren’t over anything Guinevere’s said or done. She’s been warm, welcoming, and friendly; honest and utterly BS-free where only sincerely open friends can be; she has a big sweet heart that will inevitably have her smooching the nearest fuzzy four-legged critter, whether her own or one passing by on the sidewalk, or even peering out a neighbor’s window. 

The ache feeding the tears (kept at bay, although that’s just barely upstream from here) is from the seemingly irresolvable three-way, entirely-inner struggle between a) cherishing this friendship I seriously need, plus holding fast to an unshakable commitment of my heart to take care of this unexpected gem of a rare kind of friendship and not wreck it; b) a staggeringly powerful yearning to cast down my inner walls and let myself simply fall in love with her… but quite obviously this would require the same of her (and she’s had too many emotional roughing-ups since childhood; and has in not-so-many-words gently explained that she’s in no emotional shape for anything of a beyond-friendship nature) – this yearning really wants to pilot me to where she and I would be/become everything to the other; and c) an unwavering (well, okay… near-unwavering) commitment of soul and spirit to continue detaching myself from the world – and relationships – and take on the tonsure or white collar, thus giving my heart and life away to all, not to merely one. 

b” and “c” are of course absolutely mutually exclusive, and even “a” and “b” not at all necessarily hand-in-hand allies, since “a” requires a strong degree of selflessness, and “b” by its nature is a kind of selfish thing. Only “a” and “c” can work together with certainty, and these mark and define the path my intellect and soul want me to keep to. 

Brother; I’m so incredibly over my head and out of experience in this stuff! Azey (2003) never had firm hold of my heart, so we just fizzled out, though she was there when I needed help through my grief over my father; the girlfriend before her (oddly also a Guinne – well, Gwen – and same city, too, 1999) never got off the ground; before her, Lannie just outside the Poconos (1996) lived too impossibly far away, and also never had my heart; and before that, PauliPortia‘s mom – did indeed have all my heart at the end (1992), but it was too, too late… and that one will never stop hurting. And it was then – 1992-3 – that today’s Guinevere first passed through my life (including, admittedly some brief intimacy) when I was hurting badly enough to rationalize a little selfish reaching-out. I had no heart left to give her then, nor did I receive hers. 

Now this same heart of mine is almost throwing itself against the bars of my chest to get out to her, even though there’s no clear, discernable perch inside Guinevere for it to land on. Said heart responds poorly to reason, chafes at restraint. 

Again, this struggle is entirely internal – I’m not fighting her for her own heart, nor even (I sincerely hope) trying to make a case for the dating/love scenario. In fact I really have told her, when outlining (considerately keeping the toughest details to myself) to her a bit of what’s going on inside here, that I don’t want my being open/candid about this to be a thing of even the least pressure on her, that I’m only showing her what’s inside so she can know a bit more about me as I am today. 

One of the keep-me-awake-in-the-night thoughts/fears is that, deep inside herself, Guinevere may never get past a hunch (incorrect… but how do I prove it?) that the foundation of what I feel for her now – friend and crush (a feeling I guardedly admitted to) – is founded on a passing-though-needed friendship that back then had a patina of FWB I am rather ashamed to recall, other than lovely ivory skin, and a beautiful body the years since appear not to have badly marred. 

It may help me (but would it hurt the friendship?) to sit beside her and let the tears flow. I’ve cried in her presence already, although this was at emotion-saturated scenes in “Mr. Holland’s Opus” and “What Dreams May Come”. I don’t know. 

(Playing incessantly in the background – I really don’t need this! – is Robert Palmer’s 1991 cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy, Mercy Me” – just the second half, where medleys into “I Want You (to Want Me)”.) 

Thanks, anyway, for the thoughts and wishes. I have to work on this myself, and thus deeply appreciate (and can definitely use) the bolstering. 

Gene

Update, 5:36 PM: I dashed over to Mother’s rehab facility after posting this blog, and sat with her a while — even mentioning what I’d put up here in this posting. Just before I left again, she looked at me and said, “It’s good for life.”

Topics had changed a couple times; I didn’t know what she was referring to now. “What’s good for life?” I asked.

She answered: “Friendship.”

And I nearly started crying.

Posted by: AgingChild | October 25, 2008

“In what distant deep, or skies…”

Mrs. John Bosco – his former owner (or ownee) – was on the send-to list of yesterday’s note on Tiger; she has a very deep and compassionate soul, and shared with me her own measure of sorrow: 

—–Original Message—–
From: Mrs. Bosco
Sent:
Friday, October 24, 2008 5:05 PM

To: ‘Aging Child’
Subject: RE:
Burning Bright  

Gene, 

I share your sorrow in Tiger’s passing. I thank you with all my heart, for giving him such a loving home to live out his life while I tried to be there for [some strong family demands of my own]. I did get to see Tig during a visit just prior to your Mom taking ill so I know he was a happy kitty with all of you. I know too that these companions are not people; but, special comforters sent by God to bring some measure of unquestioning love into our sometimes bleak lives. I thank God for the joy of Tiger, and all my other pets over the years. They have been great, helping to soften sad times and heighten the happy ones. We have been blessed with them in our lives. 

Thanks again for being Tiger’s adoptive family. 

Love,

Mrs. B 

I wrote her back: 

—–Original Message—–
From: Aging Child [mailto:AGeneChilde@YouWho.com]
Sent:
Friday, October 24, 2008 10:41 PM

To: ‘Mrs. B’
Subject: RE:
Burning Bright 

Good evening, Ms. B.,

And thank you for you kind words – at least as much on my mother’s behalf, and my daughters’, as my own. It is through you that he came into our home, and your prior years of loving care for him (and the dogs’ attention on him also!) certainly prepped him for the sideshow Mother‘s home can sometimes turn into… as you well know.

I did tell Mother about Tiger this evening – and most interestingly, she very much seemed to know already: she was crying, and asking how Tiger was doing… so I gently told her (choking up badly, I admit), and we talked about him for the next hour. I suspect he may have passed by her room on the way to his next home, and purred something in her soul’s ear, waiting with her a while until I showed up.

At Mother‘s request, I posted on her bulletin-board a large Tiger-picture that Shellie took a while back and Mew had printed up. Mother said it would make his passing easier for her to bear, not harder, with his big fuzzy face right there by her bed.

I agree deeply with your sentiment: There is no question that God gives us these companions to serve as additional conduits to us of His unconditional love. And they teach us as well about responding to such trusting hearts, and expressing love and devotion ourselves. I get annoyed at certain priests, and other religious figures, who insist that our animal-friends will not be there in Heaven – these men likely never had a big slobbery snout slathering their cheek, or a warm fuzzy curled up next to them on the couch, purring away in contentment and closeness. (And they take their scripture far too hogwash-literally and narrowly.) 

Other priests – e.g., the saintly Benedict Groeschel – express their own feeling that, since God’s grace and love accompany us beyond this life, so too will those literal, walking and wagging loving friends He’s given us. The Bible itself states unequivocally that at Jesus’ name (which means “God will save”) “every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth” – and St. Paul doesn’t write “men’s and women’s knees”; last time I looked, every animal had knees, from grasshopper to goose to… Tiger. 

The poet Charles Laurence Dunbar wrote (and fellow poet Maya Angelou embraced) the words, “I know why the caged bird sings”. I think that’s why dogs’ tails wag, and Tiger purrs… it’s not just because there’s a ball or brush in someone’s hand, either. 

Gene 

My daughter Shellie had written me shortly after I spoke with her about her “baby”: 

—–Original Message—–
From: Shellie Childe [mailto:C.Shell@YabbaDoo.com]
Sent:
Friday, October 24, 2008 6:45 PM

To: Aging Child
Subject: RE:
Burning Bright  

Thought you might like this: 

“No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat, and no amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his fur from your couch.” 

:] 

quotegarden.com has a whole bunch of quotes about cats – mostly hilarious and so very true 

…prompting from me: 

—–Original Message—–
From: Aging Child
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 11:08 PM
To: ‘Shellie’; ‘Portia’
Subject: RE:
Burning Bright  

Thanks – especially for the laugh. Almost nothing is as funny as a cat (although you come darned close, and then some) being him/herself… just troll YouTube for funny cat videos. 

P.S.: I did include Tiger’s brush with him – I wrapped him in one of Grandmother’s soft couch-blankets (but the pillow was too large) – and added a dingle-ball, his Morris catnip-pillow (freshly doused a couple days ago), and that colorful chair-tied mouse he’d beat mercilessly for no obvious reason. 

Love, 

Dad 

She answered: 

—–Original Message—–
From: Shellie Childe [mailto:C.Shell@YabbaDoo.com]
Sent:
Friday, October 24, 2008 11:10 PM

To: Aging Child
Subject: RE:
Burning Bright  

Awesome. Make sure you save some catnip/food/treats. I feel a need to leave some for him the next time I’m over. 

I’d heard pretty quickly from “Chuckles”, complicit scriptwriter for this blog, and at one point a near-enough neighbor to my mother that she visited with her and Tiger on a regular basis: 

—–Original Message—–
From: Chuckles [mailto:Chuckle_Wilson@Scooby.com]
Sent:
Friday, October 24, 2008 10:59 PM

To: ‘Mrs. Bosco’; Aging Child
Subject: RE:
Burning Bright  

I believe God lets us know when something happens. My mom knew when her sister died and kept asking for her that day. Couldn’t think of anything else. I miss that big ball of fur too. Strange how he touched so many. 

giggles 

And fellow contributor – no stranger to the love and devotion of furry companions himself – Spartacus wrote as well: 

—–Original Message—–
From: “Spark” le Klaus [mailto:SpartaCuss@Yabbadoo.com]
Sent:
Friday, October 24, 2008 5:59 PM

To: Aging Child
Subject: RE:
Burning Bright  

I’m sorry to hear of your loss. 

Pets may “not be people”, but I maintain they are just as much a part of our families as anyone else, and it is entirely right/natural to mourn their passing. 

Tiger was lucky to have such a loving family to call his own. 

…eliciting from me: 

—–Original Message—–
From: Aging Child
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 11:28 PM
To: ‘Spartacus’
Subject: RE:
Tiger, Tiger…  

Thank you kindly, Sparks. 

And I appreciate your perspective – you can see by the email traffic I’ve been bcc-ing you on that it’s a common and reassuringly inescapable sentiment, too. I’d be the last to put a sweater on a dog or cat (although I did send Tiger off in a soft blanket), yet I agree with Twain’s sentiment that a house just isn’t a home without a cat or three in it… ditto a slobbery dog, too. 

(P.S.: If the subject-line’s origin snuck past you (e.g., Chuckles didn’t recognize it), it’s from the first line of Blake’s “The Tyger“.) 

And this afternoon I took a call from Dr. “Mitchell Tiermann”, DVM, owner of the veterinary office where Tiger was taken care of. (Not too long ago, he was also Chuckles’s boss.) He had the rest of Tigers’s test results. First: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. That is, his heart had deteriorated, and swelled greatly – he was within days, at very best, of sudden death. And second, he’d indeed had a kidney infection, as seen by the blood in his urine. 

My sister Mew, who has had to say goodbye to a number of sweet cats herself over the years, takes this to point out a likely kidney failure for Tiger, had he had no heart trouble. 

There is, of course, some genuine closure for us in knowing the reasons why the poor fluffy fellow’s heart finally gave out. Again, it’s quite likely the stress of leaving home for the clinic, after the discomfort of his failing heart and kidneys, was a bit too much. Yet he did have the comfort of being back home. 

And we had – have – the comfort of his being part of that home.

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