Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Cat's in the Cradle

Cat's in the Cradle is the title of  a 1974 song, sung by Harry Chapin. It tells the story of a father-son relationship. The storyline is of a son who wishes to interact with his Dad, however, his Dad never has the time. The last verse sums up the relationship, when the Dad attempts to interact with his son, who now has no time for him.

I watched a young man give his testimony at a youth conference and at the end he got out his guitar and sang this song as the punctuation to his story. It was touching and real and painful. He was for many years defined by that lack of relationship with his Dad.

I remember growing up with this song and as a youth how it resonated with my relationship with my Dad.
At the time I did not realize how poignantly the final verse actually plays out in reality. That which we build in our youth remains as a bulwark in later years. The avenues of relationship are built and reinforced while we are yet still young, and the strength and will to alter those avenues diminishes as the years pass. The most favourable circumstance for the development of long and enduring relationships is in the beginning and it is unfortunate, but time does not forgive that which 'has come to pass'. We cannot redeem time.

We all come through life scarred. Physically, emotionally, spiritually we are damaged goods. How we respond to the future is predetermined by the extent of the damage done to our psyche. What a dilemma, What a responsibility. It is not the end-life that counts, it is the life we have getting to the end. I remember encouraging my Dad to get involved with his only Grandson, to which he responded, "I will get to know him when he is older". Sadly and without apology that never 'came to pass'. Whether my son understands how it came to be, but, his interactions with my Dad were never what they are with my wife's Dad. As an observer it was not difficult for me to speculate on how each relationship was going to play out. Sadly I am right.

"Our personality and worldview is influenced by and symbolized by evocative childhood memories. Primal memories are often loaded with emotion, good or ill. Some have suggested that these early childhood memories affect our theological beliefs. For example, W. Paul Jones makes this claim explicitly in his book Theological Worlds. Jones suggests that early childhood memories set up and represent our obsessio, what we find perplexing about life."

There are thousands of excuses, and you can ascertain the validity of an excuse, if any such validity exists, for behaviour and attitude which fails, really, to accept responsibility for relationship and/or refuses to be motivated to develop those relationships. In the end the remorse for what is lost is without apology or justification. It will be, what it is.

The random chances we have to be Fathers, Sons and friends are unrepeatable. The choices are made which determine relationships, however, many disregard the import of their personal involvement with others; the trauma or comfort; the associated emotional anxieties or disquietude's; the empowerment's and/or the ability to accept the myriad consequences of a particular situation. It is unfortunate that relationships have such power to inform our future decisions and are a direct influence on our attitude and life view. Such is the power of relationship.

I have been less than stellar in my relationships with others and have wasted away many opportunities to be a good Father, a good Son, a good friend. I cannot redeem the time.

However the time for change is readily available. The opportunity to begin new memories starts now.

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