I believe in silence of the transparent truth. Silence can often bond people together like music can. I believe in silence as a place and time that is more powerful than sound. Though words are powerful I believe that true power lies between words, in the places where words stop and the transparent truth begins. The truth is sometimes hard to listen to which is why it is best kept in silence, so that it may grow into its own being and not be forced into the open air. Truth is similar to bread in that if left out, it will become stale and not worth eating.
My father too is like bread, a piece of bread soaked in tea. He is steeped into generations of Irish immigration, born into a world of poverty-stricken food stamps and raised by his alcoholic abusive parents. However his words are like windows. They are often something I need to look through in order to find their true meaning.
When I was younger we would go camping and have campfires. With the smell of rain in the air, my mom and brothers went to sleep leaving my father and I by the fire. The smell of smoke became less noticeable as the fire started to dwindle. All that could be heard was the noise of the nighttime. Then my father asked the question. I call it “the question” because it is a drunken question, one that he often asks me late at night. “So how’s life treating you kid?” he said. Without me giving an answer he somehow heard a response. “Good,” he said “good, well that’s nice.” Then with a sigh he would continue to stare at the fire.
Though my father is an alcoholic, he is anything but abusive to his children. He instead chooses to abuse himself with alcohol. He knows he has a problem but will not, or perhaps cannot, do anything about it. By keeping the truth of his alcoholism in silence and looking through his words, I have become closer to my father.
While we sat around the fire he would often tell me about his childhood. He told me that his childhood did not last long; though there were times when he truly enjoyed being a kid, he often was moved from house to house. He told me about the places that he lived and the people he lived with.
The houses were often government-provided and sometimes lacked water and heat. I learned about his abusive parents and his relationship with them. After telling me his life’s story, I expected him to become angry; however, he continued to calmly sit in his chair. I was amazed that after telling me all of this he didn’t keep talking, and move on to a new subject. Now I see that he didn’t need to change the subject, that my father was comfortable enough with his past to leave it as it was and to just let me absorb it. I admire the way that he is not ashamed of where he comes from, and that he wants to make sure my future becomes brighter than his past. I also admire that though he had a difficult childhood, he often laughs when he shares it with me.
It seemed that despite his hardships, he still found that he was able to laugh at himself and was able to learn from his life experience. My admiration of him was developed through time. In between those times when he spoke, I was able to look through his words. I was able to see him for the good person that he is, instead of defining him by the issue that he has. Our relationship is one that has the undefined qualities of music, but the strength of a silent bond that lies in the strange truth of acceptance. Acceptance is something that never becomes stale; it grows in the power between words, where words stop and the transparent truth begins to grow into its own being. This, I believe.