A Mother’s Fear

She can feel it creeping up inside of him. His curious eyes have stopped wandering and are now fixated upon her gaze. He stares as if wondering what he should do next, but she already knows what happens next. A prophetic power only a mother has. 

Her son begins to cry. Unending screams of agony fill the void of silence; breaking the calm before the storm… and what a storm it is. She holds him desperately. Presses his soft head against her breasts. “Is he hungry?”she thinks. “No… Does he need a good changing?” She inhales but there is no pestilent smell to be found. Still, she changes his diaper and clothes, hoping by some miracle that this was his belligerent demand.

The echoing cries persist, deafening her resolve with their increasing volume. She starts rocking him back and forth whilst caressing his head. She sings softly… desperately:

Hush little baby… don’t say a word. 
Mama’s gonna buy you a mockin’ bird
And if that mockin’ bird won’t sing
Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring

Her voice begins to croak. Her tears of helplessness and solitude come to mingle with her child’s. Two streams of sorrow. A river of powerlessness. A Mother’s Fear


Her son is all grown up now. A man. She raised him as best she could; gifted him with a mother’s love.

He still cries at times. However, she is always there to help him. She has grown to know and understand him. She has familiarized herself with his different cries. She has learned how to heal is suffering in whatever form it may take. Her strenuous studies of motherhood forever motivated by a Mother’s Fear


She is old now. She has not the strength to help him as she used to, but she taught him well. She has given him everything that a mother can give.

He can feel it creeping up inside of her. Her loving eyes have faded. He stares, hoping to see a glimmer that once existed. They lock gazes. They both know what happens next. 

She preemptively takes his hands. She caresses it weakly then struggles to bring it to her chest. He begins to cry all the same, a cacophony of desperation. “Here it comes again” she thinks. A Mother’s Fear. The nightmare that has always haunted her. 

She knows she is going to cause him the greatest pain he has ever lived. Yet she smiles at him.

She understands that she will not be there to help him through this traumatic endeavor. Yet she finds the strength to sing softly… lovingly:

Hush little baby… don’t you cry. 
Mama’s gonna say her final goodbye
And if that goodbye ever hurts
Surrendering will only make it worse

Her voice begins to croak. She pulls her son closer. They are locked in a loving embrace. Her tears of pride mingle with his tears of despair. Two streams of devotion. A river of emotion. 

She whispers in her son’s ear, breaking the heartfelt silence: “You will always have my love. I will always be with you my son, but you don’t need me anymore. It is your turn to love. You will be a father soon.”

One of the two streams engulfs the other. He cries endlessly as he did in the past. “How can he become a father in a time like this?” he asks knowing he will not receive a response. “I am not ready…”


He is mature now. He has become a great father. He had learned much from his mother even if he had not realized it at the time.

His tears have dried up long ago. His anguish became dedication. His own sorrow was replaced by a fear that once haunted his mother. He dreads the day when his silly jokes won’t make his daughter laugh, when his embrace won’t quench her tears… when his love won’t heal her pain.

He can only hope to do as his mother did. She had given him boundless love and affection and he does the same towards his daughter.

A cycle of life and love.

Father to Son, Son to Father

These are words spoken from a son that is not yet a father. They are mere speculations of what the truth may be. They come from what I have lived and seen, from what I have been taught explicitly and implicitly. These words come from the reality I have lived.

Fathering a son seems to be a difficult task.

From the moment his child is born, a father must worry for the example he displays in addition to caring for his progeny. In other words, he must be wary of two different beings now. Two very distinct lives. How can a man ever hope to bare this weight? How can he keep himself and his child afloat in the maelstrom of life?


“For my father, this was simpler than you would think. He had always considered the lives surrounding him. He had always carried the weight of others drowning beside him. He had already built the strength needed to father a child.”


Inadvertently, your son will want to make you proud. He will crave for your attention and your approval. Ever seeking to inspire you, hoping to recreate the first smile you ever gave him; a smile sparked from the pride of creating life. How can a son ever measure up to such a feat?


“I am not proud to admit that I spent my entire childhood dedicated to this hunt. An eternal quest to please my father. To make him smile. To make him proud. He never knew, but he might have suspected it.
All my efforts and achievements were dedicated to him, yet all my failures were my own.”


A father will see his son grow. He will see his son live through experiences he has already faced. He will want to warn him of these dangers. But there comes a time when a child does not listen to his parents. A period in which the teenager thinks he is smarter and wiser than he actually is. During this phase, a father can only hope that he has prepared his son well enough to make his own choices.


“Teenage years are a dreadful period, for the child as well as for the father. Happily, I was a calm kid. My father had shown me that it was pointless to speak loudly to get my point across. He had taught me to pick my battles wisely for others might not be ready to listen. I treaded with caution and selected my friends wisely. I was distant but still I followed a good path.”


A father will see his son rise and fall, many times. What action should he take then? What will make him a good father?

Is it to prevent his child from failing? To prevent his sorrow? If so, how will his son ever learn? Our greatest lessons are taught from our own mistakes. Mistakes we never wish to recreate.

Is the solution to drive his ambitions then? Push him to achieve greatness? What happens then if he does not succeed? When he tries to reach for the stars thinking anything is within his grasp. How can it not be if his father tells him so? He falls, the stars too far from his reach. If it was possible, then why couldn’t he touch them? He thinks: “Does the problem lie within myself? Am I the only one that cannot achieve greatness? What will my father think of me?”

What is a father to do? There are benefits and drawbacks to both these methods. An exceptional father will know when to shelter his son, when to drive his ambitions and when to catch him when he falls.


“It might seem a complicated task, but my father had already mastered it. He had found the perfect amalgam of encouragement and support. He lurked in the shadows, praised me lightly, guided me gently, held me softly. I made my own path, but I always knew that if I needed his help he would be there. That if I ever fell, he would catch me. He would do all those things without any judgment. He knew that it was the best way for me to learn. He knew mistakes were an important part of growing up. He knew the price of wisdom. “


Wisdom is a hard trait to describe and it is not easily taught. It may appear in various ways. However, it is up to the beholder to acknowledge its existence. Therefore, it is up to the father to open his son’s eyes.

A child will mimic without understanding. As a father, you must show him how to think before copying. You must teach him how to judge right from wrong by himself. As a rule, you must always display wisdom to infer wisdom.


“I consider my father to be a wise man. He is not perfect forto strive for perfection is a fool’s quest. However, to always improve upon yourself is a sign of wisdom and courage. His wisdom his displayed in the fact that he knows that he is flawed. It is shown every time he tries to better himself. I have seen my father fail and accept defeat. I have seen him rise up to new challenges, fearful obstacles. But I have never seen my father give up. He prides himself in his failures as well as his accomplishments.
He is a true inspiration to behold.”


Most of us know how to love endlessly, but it takes more than endless love to father a son. Too much love and a child may grow to be dependant. Too little and he will be resentful. How then do you manage the amount of love you give? How can you even control love?

Unfortunately, here lies the true challenge of fatherhood. It dwells in the intricacies of love. It resides in the mystery of wisdom and culture… Abiding to the ever-changing rules of society and the flow of time. You must discover how to be a good father and strive to become one. Fortunately, there are many experienced teachers that will gladly help you in this endeavor.


“I confess, I do not know the truth of things. Trial and error have always been my chosen method of learning and I have not yet tried at fathering a son. However, I do not fret at the future task. I have a hidden tool you see. An experienced teacher that has always been there for me.
Here is to a special dad. A master of the art of fatherhood. A man that has always displayed wisdom in his actions. A great role model and a good teacher. A loving man with a heart of gold. He has shown me how to be a great father by being one.
I will be forever grateful for my upbringing. Here is my promise to you daddy: As you know, I will always love and cherish you. However, I will also strive to continue your legacy. To spread the wisdom and courage that you have taught me.

Thank you, daddy
From your loving son,David Turmel


 

Rough Hands

6:00 am.
The alarm startled and woke the tattered old mechanic. “You’d think I’d be accustomed to this redundant lifestyle by now” he lamented. He slapped on the beeping machine with his rough hand dreading the beginning of his daily routine.

8:00 am.
Another late client. Punctuality seemed to be a dwindling priority. “Is my time not as precious as others’?” he thought angrily. Values were changing. The rise of technology foretold the fall of man; Some sort of twisted equilibrium. Still, the tired mechanic did not change his ways. He did not adapt. He did not give up.

8:30 am.
“Sorry for being late!” said the young man. “My friends told me you’re the best at fixing broken things! I hope you’ll be able to fix my car.” he added. He hoped to appease the old man’s stern gaze with his insincere apology and praise.
“What is the problem?” the mechanic asked bluntly.
“My car is making this weird noise. I think there’s a problem with the engine!” the young man exclaimed.
“That’s not what I meant.”
The client wore a puzzled look. He didn’t say anything, not understanding what the old man wanted of him. He watched him open the hood of his car and start working.
“I already know what’s the problem with your car. I heard the noise as you arrived. You haven’t been taking care of it, have you?… Anyway, what I meant to ask was: What is the problem that is haunting you? Why do you look so sad?”
The young man stood there, aghast. Tears started streaming down his face, flooding the floor.

9:00 am. 
“This might take some time. I do not mind working in silence, but feel free to talk to me. I can multitask. I am good at fixing things.” the mechanic said breaking the sobbing silence.
The young client felt compelled to answer, to evacuate all the sorrow that haunted his heart. “How did you know that… that I was sad?” he mumbled.
“People don’t take the time to look at people anymore. I can tell when a man is broken. I have seen many broken things. I have been broken too.”
The young man’s tears stopped flowing, startled by this sudden display of wisdom.
“I’m having marital problems… I think my wife is going to leave me.” he said pitying himself.
A small crescent smile stretched on the mechanic’s mouth.

9:15 am.
The young man finally mustered the courage necessary to explain his intricate situation. He gave details and examples of his problems. Reasons why he believed his marriage was failing. He talked and the mechanic listened. The latter never stopped working on the broken car. This did not deter the young man from unburdening himself. He felt lighter. He had shared his problems. He was not alone to face them anymore.

11:00 am.
The mechanic had not spoken yet. He had listened to the entire story. “You can’t fix something you don’t understand completely” he always told himself.
“Unfortunately, I can’t mend your marriage for you. However, I can help you do it yourself.” he said confidently.
The old mechanic spoke for two straight hours. Wisdom oozed from his mouth. Never did he stop to look at the young man. Never did he wait for his opinion. Never did he stop working on the broken car. Never did he stop multitasking.

1:00 pm.
The mechanic’s smile had spread. The young man was now jubilant. He was confident he could save his marriage. He knew how to renew his vows. He knew how to love again.
The mechanic stretched out his rough hand and dangled the keys in front of his client.
“How can I ever repay you!?” he exclaimed.
“700$ for the car plus the parts and a smile for the advice.” he answered with a grin.
“That won’t do! My happiness is worth much more than my stupid car!”
The young man advanced hastily towards the wise man and hugged him. Tears of happiness fell on the old man’s shoulder.
“Now you understand…” the old man whispered as he patted his client’s back.

1:15 pm.
The young man stopped abruptly as he was walking towards his fixed car. He turned towards his savior, the old mechanic.
“Hey mister! May I ask you something?” he said.
“Anything” the wise man answered.
“How do you know so much… I mean.. how do you know how to help people? You know… being a mechanic and all… How do you know how to fix lives when you’ve worked with cars all your life?”
The mechanic showed the young man his bare hands. Old hands. Scarred hands. Rough hands.
The young man’s puzzled expression showed the mechanic he didn’t quite understand his answer.
“My hands are like my soul you see. They have lived many years. They have suffered and bled. They have healed. They have experienced many things. They are scarred and frayed… but they can still fix broken things.” he added.

Fallen

Empathy… my gift… my curse.

I was the happiest kid on earth. My parents exerted incredible efforts to hide their sorrow from my immature eyes. I only knew their smiles. They concealed their tears and their anger from me. They were talented actors. I cherished the joy they showed me and the love they gave me. My parents simply wanted to protect their only child; whatever the consequences may bare. I grew up naive but happy; innocent but loved.

The moment they feared most finally came. They could not protect me anymore. They had to offer me to the clutches of society. I was horror struck by the chaos that unfolded before me. The screams, the rage, the tears… School haunted me for years.

I mostly kept to myself. I was the silent kid; the shy kid. I kept studying, not school subjects but people. Smiles became a rarity for me. All the kids played together while I stood alone. Friends.. a foreign concept for me. I was lonely. I felt sad, desperation slowly crept around me. It was engulfing me. Then he came.  The first of them. Out from the darkness, a light to show me the way. He held out a hand and invited me to play with him. He became my first friend. He showed me how to interact with other people. I still kept  mostly to myself. I kept analyzing but the fear of loneliness had vanished. He had saved me.

High school started. I had already matured at an incredible rate. I exercised everything I had learned from my surveillance of social interactions. I made many friends. We played together; our individual happiness amplified by that of the others. I had never felt such blissful joy. I relished in their jubilation. Every smile and every laugh I created radiated through me. I wanted to make everyone happy. I tried to extinguish everyone’s sadness by listening to them and helping them through their pain… By giving them love.

I quickly learned of all the suffering that existed in the world. War, hate, sorrow, for a time, they were all I perceived. I wanted to change the world. I had a special gift. A talent at understanding others. I could help them, the ones that suffered. I wanted to show people how easy it was to be happy. I could give them love. I thought it would solve everything. I thought it was going to be simple. I had ideas of grandeur. I wanted to be the next Jesus… the next Gandhi… the next savior.

Humanity needed a savior. And I tried to be what it needed. I concocted plans. I was a great visionary. Why stop myself at simply helping my friends and loved ones. However, I was young. A kid… and nobody listens to children. Why would they? How could a child know anything about life and its intricacies. How could a kid teach anything? My authority overruled by my age. If I could not save the masses, then I would have to find another solution. I resolved myself to help the world one person at a time. Helping people, one by one, to slowly save humanity from its sadness.

I helped others. I spread happiness. However, desolation was stronger than I could ever become. People kept asking more and more of me. Desperation was now the one that crept up around me. Its claws tearing through me, weakening my resolve. Dreams of failure haunting me. How could I ever save a world that did not want to be saved? My resolve was broken.

Then she appeared… Our salvation. A fallen angel who’s light radiated brighter than any sun. Possibly brilliant enough to burn away the shadows that grasped our world. Her glare could absolve any sin, her smile could cure any disease, her words could heal any wound, her touch… her simple touch could inspire love.

I stood aghast. Jealous, at first, of her incredible power. Then I saw it. My gift, my curse, it showed me what others blindly ignored. However formidable she seemed, she could not hide her doubt, her fear, her sadness from me. Her charisma was indisputable. She had the power to save masses at a time, but I could feel her strength was fading. Her resolve was withering, as mine had. She doubted herself. Anxiety ate at her. She feared what would happen if she failed. Her light was dimming.

By her simple presence, she gave me the most precious of gifts: Hope. She had renewed my resolve. I knew I could not save the world. Not yet. Not alone. But what if I helped the one who could. I vowed to protect this fallen angel. I vowed to make her smile, to make her smile, to never let her give up. I would give her hope as she had given me. I would fuel her wavering flame and together, we would save the world.

Image result for fallen angel

The Happy Man

Every morning, he walked around town, waving and smiling at everyone he crossed. Many laughed at him and others simply judged him in silence. They gave him many names: The clueless dreamer, the silent drunk, the happy dimwit…

One day, the richest man alive crossed paths with the happy man. The former was late for an important deal with his clients. He was pressed for time but could not help himself but stare at the smiling man that stood before him. The happy man waved.

–  Do I know you? asked the rich man

The happy man shrugged as a sign of confusion. Unsure of the answer. Unsure of the meaning of the question. The wealthy man starred at him. He analysed him from top to bottom. The ragged man in front of him wore stained an torn clothing. He had no other apparent possessions; no sign of wealth.

–  Why do you have such a tremendous smile? You are poor! You have nothing!

The poor man starred at him with concerned eyes. The rich man started to wonder. Why did this man continue to smile? The happy man had nothing while he, on the other hand, had everything money could purchase. Why was it that the man in front of him was the one smiling while he could not remember the last time he was happy. It seemed like he never stopped feeling anxious and pressured… empty.

The happy man took off his shirt and handed it to the rich man. A gift? Received without effort? The rich man put it on, the gift from a man who seemingly had nothing to give. He understood that he was missing something in his life; something intangible. Something he could not buy. His lips curled. He returned a smile to the happy man as the latter walked away.

The next day, the smartest man alive came to town. He too crossed paths with the happy man. As he walked past him, he stopped and starred at his smile. Curiosity, the pillar of is intelligence, got the best of him. He had to ask:

– Why are you so happy?

The happy man looked at him unflinchingly as tireless questions filled the smart man’s head. The man that stood in front of him did not seem to understand a thing. Did he understand the question? Did he understand anything? Did he ask himself any questions? Did he not possess a shred of curiosity? Did he already find the answers to all his questions?

A glimpse of concern flickered in the happy man’s eyes. Did this man understand his troubles? The burden of his unending curiosity? Suddenly he started to fling his arms around reaching for his armpits. He screamed and made monkey noises. He acted like a baboon in the middle of the street. Bystanders starred awkwardly yet the smart man burst into uncontrollable laughter. A profound cacophony of joy that he had not appreciated for some time now. He thanked the happy man as they both walked away.

On the third day, the greatest leader alive came into town. He too met the happy man and could not help but wonder why this man was so relaxed and content. The leader had acquired the respect of numerous nations. He had united people  and accomplished various other great deeds. He had achieved all he wanted to achieve, but he could never be satisfied. He never stopped. He had to be the best, the greatest and the most generous. Why was he not allowed to live peace and happiness?

– How do you live without respect? How are you happy while accomplishing nothing?

The happy man slowly walked towards the important leader. He held out his arms and hugged him. The leader had never enjoyed this kind of comfort. He accepted the gesture and a smile crept up on his face. He was allowed a small break; a brief moment of respite. For all the respect he had received, he had never welcomed love into his life.

The happy man walked away and he continued walking… his smile, impervious to external judgement… his mood, immune to greed… his mind, protected from unending questions… his soul… exempt from sadness.

The Soldier

 

Image result for soldier at front doorThe soldier walked back home. Home… such a distant memory. It has been so long since he last came here. He stepped up to his front door. He stared blankly at it, unable to make a move. Should he knock, or should he enter? Does he still belong here? Is he still welcome?

***

He spent his life with the army. Fighting wars upon wars. Defending the helpless. Attacking the corrupt. The strong always preyed on the weak. He had to be strong for them. No one else could. No one else would. However, the wars never stopped. The corruption spread. Was he making a difference or were all of his efforts pointless?

***

He entered. His family rejoiced; tears in their eyes, smiles on their faces. They embraced him, as a savior, as a revenant. They had changed. Everything had changed. They were old. Wrinkles cracked on their faces. He did not know them anymore. Had he changed also? Was this is real family?

***

He had made his own family in the army. Brothers in arms. He would sacrifice anything for them as some did for him. Their memories would never fade from his spirit. Scars that would never heal. A brotherhood of selflessness and sacrifice. 

***

He tried to make a living but he didn’t know how. He had learned so many skills, yet none of them were of any use to him. This society had so many rules and restrictions; things he had forgotten over the years.

***

Rules don’t apply to soldiers. Rules get you killed in war.

***

His friends found love and founded families. He envied them. He did not remember how to fall in love. His friends had it all figured out. The soldier had never felt so alone.

***

A soldier could not love. Love was weakness. A soldier could not be loved as he could not keep promises.

***

He felt constricted by time. Time he had used on a pointless venture. Time he wished he had spent on himself as all others seemed to do. He still could not find a purpose to guide him. Something that would drive him. He was haunted by his past, tormented by his troubles, sadened by loneliness and pressured by his lost time.

***

He quit the army. Hoping to find a new purpose. Hoping… that it was not too late.

***

Still, the soldier searches… for a goal, for something to bring him happiness, to bring him closure. He knows he will find it. All he can do is rise from this point. In his heart of hearts, he knows he willd still amount to greatness.