I have done one great thing in my life, one thing that does not pass in the night and blow in the wind in circles before it crumbles and decays. And that is to be a great dad to a beautiful boy.
For all the pretension to legacy and art and all the material things I have possessed, and all the failures and poverty I have survived, all the moments of success and celebration, the accolades and applause, all the humiliations and foolish mistakes, all the many parties and laughs and orgasms and joy rides through life in big cities and small, with the famous and notorious, the unknown and fabulous, with righteous cause and utter abandonment, right and wrong, there is absolutely nothing in the end but the boy.
Nothing means anything but the boy and raising the boy into a life where he can be who he can be and have a shot at freedom from the world and from the baggage that straps and harnesses us into our little boxes of self-delusion, that he might have the tools to survive society, have a belief that keeps him going, so that he might pass that on to his children, bringing good to those around him, that he might feel as little pain as possible in this hard world.
I look at people now with cars and clothes and houses and material goods, with the ego and the illusion of a great life, and I laugh if I don't cry, shaking my head, thinking, we are but pebbles on a beach, and what is the point? I see people lying in doorways, cold and dirty, some drugged, some talking to shadows, and I see them all, the wealthy and the poor, as the same, the difference being what they will eat, where they will sleep and what they will wear to keep warm, the comforts of survival in this ignoble place.
I strive for none of this for myself, not the rich or the poor, but only for my son, for what I might leave him to help him, what life I might give him so that he can sleep and eat and learn better, to give him pride in his father and himself, so that he might have happy days in his life, memories to carry him through the darkness like my grandmother and father did for me, to protect him from the evil and the ugly and the dumb, shelter him from storms and give him a chance, so that he doesn't end up messed up and destroyed in this unkind place where we live, where right and wrong, fair and just, true and false, good and bad do not exist as absolutes.
I live for him to develop an inner spirit that will give him the soul to move forward, step by step, inch by inch, with a smile and not a tear, with the purity of his innocent youth.
He is the definition of love, the only pure thing in this world and in my pitiful life, where I have sinned and been blessed in success and failure, where I have been guilty and innocent of the good and bad, and like everyone rationalized my actions a hundred times over. Everything I have done in life, everything everyone has done in life means nothing and is nothing and is worthless, and will soon be forgotten, if ever even considered, but for the little goods and kindnesses shown to others when they were in need, when they needed help -- and our children need help the most.
They are the purpose and light in life. They give meaning where as animals we have none.
I pray for the strength to continue for the sake of my son and to do the best I can for him, not to be distracted and to be of clear mind, to make decisions, hard and easy, that are best for him, as I am nothing, nothing but what I am in relation to my son. He is the light and purpose and meaning of life. He is love. I pray I can be all this.
Bob Pfeifer's debut novel, 'University of Strangers,' recently was published by Power City Press. See the website www.powercitypress.com for more information. Pfeifer is a member of the band Tabby Chinos.
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||June 14, 2011|