The dream recounted in this poem was a real breakthrough for me in the course of what has proven to be a journey of many years toward greater reconciliation with my experience of my father and a more complete comprehension of who he is (and was) as a human being, with his own fears, failures, dreams, and disappointments.
In the years since this dream came to me, I’ve gradually worked my way to a deeper, fuller appreciation and understanding of the circumstances of my father’s life, which has helped me heal myself in relation to my inner father, the father I internalized as a child and carry with me at all times. But my relationship with my outer father, the man himself, has never improved, and I don’t believe it ever will.
This is a paradox I hadn’t expected. I would have thought that being able to see my father’s life through his eyes, as best I could, would have gone a long way toward improving the relationship between us, but I finally realized that a deeper empathy and understanding for him on my part did not imply the same from him for me. Ultimately, I had to come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t going to change, nor was his treatment of me going to change, no matter what I did or how I transformed my view of him and his life. At that point, I knew my outer relationship with him was over. But my work on the inner relationship continues, as I expect it will for the rest of my life.
As I wrote at the conclusion of “Broken Bones and the Father Wound”:
… his life continues to influence mine, even across the distance of time and space, in ways both obvious and mysterious, as I continue to work toward resolution and completion of my relationship with him, that distant point on the inner horizon of my psyche toward which I am always aiming and always moving, but may never reach.
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Poetry on video: “easter” by Rick Belden, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.