On Fathers, Guilt & Search for Truth

What drives most of my day-to-day actions, and the overall trajectory of my life, is the energy created in a clash between two concepts that I internalized from the faith tradition of my youth: First, that no matter how hard I try, the deepest part of who/what I am is offensive to the only one who matters.  Second, that “the truth” will set me free.

These twin towers have formed the dialectic of my life, the never-quite-balanced foundation undergirding the limp I have taken into every room, and the dark backdrop of every conversation I have ever had.  Hours spent on the floor, contemplating and praising a Righteous Wrath deserved, and begging to know the mercy of a savior.

But Truth never came.  And had I found a community where Truth was sought, I probably would still be shaking in a dark corner of my basement reciting Pauline verse.  As a gay man, it was easier to find sex on the streets than an embrace in church, but it was far more rare to find someone interested in Truth.  And so I left to find my freedom.

For a decade now, every moment of self-reflection has seemed to burrow deeper into this dripping wound.  And when I finally reach a shadow of an authentic self, I find it in the mirror-image of those maimed by this harsh story.

I feel at home in the bloody trail of sweat drops where Isaac’s youth was spilled climbing Mount Moriah: with every step the weight upon my back reminds me of my name, reminds me that I was born to burn for the faith of my father.

I see the bastard poet take to the desert in search of his Name.  With delirium-thirst, he screams into the void until he tastes blood.  Only then does he hear a whisper in the wind: You are alone… be your own father… God is your father.  

My muscles ease when the Golgothan stench hits me in its horror: The Father’s love overcomes its wrath at the place where mercy and justice meet.  From that hill the poet felt the desert whisper’s deceit: God loved the world, and he loved it so… that the fatherless believe unto death.  He saw his curse, felt what it could do, and confessed to the original sin: Mercy for the fatherless! They know not what they do.

I see the knees of poor laborers bow to the blood-dripped god. The sacrificial scene above the altar soaks in the few hours left before the next shift scrubbing hotel floors.  Through long sabbath prayers, young sons make the forced sacrifice of their parents’ love.  The Spirit smells the fresh wounds of void, and the thorns dig in.

There is a beauty to the suffering.  Only the God who sacrifices sons and calls it “love” can quench the Abrahamic thirst for martyrs’ blood… for the energy of one’s youth.  But as for Truth, and the freedom it promises, I know two things for sure: It’s been thirty years that I have not made out a whisper in the wind.  And… I miss my father’s voice.


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