February 20, 2010

Brownsville Revisited

Brownsville Revisited

You try not to be critical,
try not to revisit decisions that admittedly shaped who you are,
but your mind does it anyway.

You were a child,
at the mercy of 2 adults who were doing the best they can,
and, through today's perspective, bit off way more than they could possibly chew.

How do you decide to become a parent?
How do you decide to do it again two years later and two years after that?
So that in a span of 6 years your family morphs from 2 to 5.
Suddenly, you're not just bouncing from one job to the next
because you're not sure what you want to do,
but you're bouncing from one career to the next because you have 5 mouths to feed.
Every decision is strung around your neck like a noose
and you can't untie the knot,
tranfer it to another neck
or let it hang you.

Is this the right job?
Can we build a house,
find a church,
rear a family,
acheive some sort of personal satisfaction
in a small border town on the Rio Grande?

Looking back,
you can see the disappointment in his eyes
when he stares out at the Gulf from the pristine beaches on South Padre.
Back then, the whole island was empty,
and now its one high rise resort
and time-share condo
between t-shirt shops and restaurants.

When you question him on why he left after 3 years,
he paints it as if he really didn't have a choice.
He doesn't sound bitter,
and you know he's not prone to looking back with regret,
but you wonder:
"What made you think that going into the ministry would work?"
And when it didn't, why did you let it die so quickly,
so that it gnaws on you yet,
and you read the Bible daily
teach Sunday school
and talk about Christianity being the only religion that has love as its central tenant
but don't see yourself as a preacher
or a shepherd who has a flock to tend?

Some questions may never be answered,
may hang on your tongue like fruit that is just out of reach
because you dare not ask,
dare not suggest that this apple would have made life less bitter or even less sweet.
Asking them smacks of knowing the outcome.

Did he ever get to ask his father the questions he is answering now?
Did he stare into the morbidity of his own father and see the roles reversing:
the once strong, successful man
building,
repairing,
providing
being everything to everybody
and then watch his son become exactly the same?

You try not to be critical,
try not to revisit decisions that admittedly shaped who you are,
but your mind does it anyway.

You were a child,
at the mercy of 2 adults who were doing the best they can,
and, through today's perspective, bit off way more than they could possibly chew.

February 20, 2010

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