Today I spent a little time with my former inlaws. My children were invited to a visit with some of their father's family from out of town. From what I can tell, they had a great time and then we all met up for dinner.
It was a bit odd at first, being among some folks I had not intentionally spent time with since before my divorce. My sister in law is someone I see occasionally because we enjoy many of the same things. But since the kids' dad couldn't find a way to make himself available, I had to facilitate things, and while at first I felt like once again I was stuck making up for his emotional ineptitude, it turned out to be a nice time spent with people who are as much a part of my children's constellation as I and my family.
While the kids were away for a few short hours, I ventured out to Kent to procure tickets for the Tim O'brien show next weekend, and ran a few errands. I stopped in to see my pals at the Gitterpicker String Factory and heard a bit of a pretty doggone amazing picking party going on. I went home, cleaned my ceiling fans, changed my furnace filter, replied to a candidate in Amsterdam, paid my water bill, and headed out to meet my kids and the ex's family.
This kind of stuff, maintenance, is something I just haven't done enough of, in my external or internal life. My life really is genuine. It's not glamorous. I don't get paid even half of what my ex makes, or complain half as much -- or at all, I have to say -- about doing my job. I have a really lovely and fairly wide constellation of people in my life. My children and I have a symbiosis that is rare and precious.
The more authentic I feel, the less tolerance I have for those wearing The Veil of Self-Importance, from the entire Bush Administration right on down to the diseased egos I bump into in my own life. It's sad that these April Fools, with so much invested into their overinflated sense of Self, have no real sense of self other than the Egos they flail about, even to the point of risking their greatest treasures. My daughter weighs less than 40 pounds, and yet evidently it's deemed acceptable for her to be placed in the back of a convertible with no booster seat. I'm not even sure it's legal. The distance between this kind of arrogance and stupidity and the hiring of, oh, say, Michael Brown to run FEMA, just ain't that great. The distance between one little life and thousands of lives, also not that great.
This April Fool's Day, stop and think how the fools in your life have affected it, wasted your energy, distracted you from acting with intention. Then, stop them. They have no rights, no power, no superior judgement, no exceptional privileges. Don't let their directionless, soulless vigilance to be a pain in your ass or a threat to humanity take up any more of your time. If you can, don't let it take up any one else's, either.
When I sat this evening with my kids' other family, they seemed not so much different from me. I realized that they had tired of the Veil long ago. Talking with them on this new basis where I owed them no particular line, duty, or behavior was very liberating. I had nothing to prove. What a difference it makes, living without that construct.
Home From The Forest
Written by Gordon Lightfoot; performed by Tony Rice; 1979
All the neon lights were flashin' and the icy wind did blow
The water seeped into his shoes and the drizzle turned to snow
His eyes were red his hopes were dead and the wine was runnin' low
Then the old man came home from the forest
His tears fell on the sidewalk as he stumbled in the street
A dozen faces stopped to stare but no one stopped to speak
For his castle was a hallway and a bottle his only friend
And the old man stumbled in from the forest
Up a dark and dingy staircase the old man made his way
His ragged coat around him as upon his cot he lay
And he wondered how it happened that he ended up this way
Gettin' lost like a fool in the forest
And as he lay there sleepin' a vision did appear
Upon his mantle shining the face of one so dear
Who'd loved him in the springtime of a long forgotten year
When the wildflowers did bloom in the forest
She touched his grizzled fingers and she called him by his name
And then he heard the joyful sound of children at their games
In an old house on a hillside in some forgotten town
Where the river runs down from the forest
With a mighty roar the big jets soar above the canyon streets
And the common con but life goes on for the city never sleeps
And to an old forgotten soldier the dawn will come no more
For the old man has come home from the forest
Lyrics provided courtesy of Bluegrass Lyrics.Com!