Thanksgiving Day was an interesting one for Nate in Phoenix – perhaps the first adventure where he learned more about himself than his city.
Thanksgiving 2014 was a quiet day. Nate baked a pie and put up Christmas lights at his childhood home. There was a baseline comfort of being home coupled with a rising discomfort with what is “home”. The solitude of the moment exacerbated the emotion. The quietness of North 29th Avenue pierced the heart.
The placement of Christmas lights was a challenge. It was a challenge to agree on the placement. It was a challenge not to take control on a house that was no longer his. It was a challenge to meet creative proposals of change with resistance. It was a challenge not to be frustrated and immediately disengage from the entire situation.
It was matter of the eternal juxtaposition of the male and female way combined with the inherent familiar resistance to change in his maternal clan. In that case, only Uncle Mike would understand in that intimate, empathic way. What Nate wouldn’t have given to have one more call, one more laugh. Sadness overcame.
God felt distant. Father felt absent. Would Nate ever felt like he had one again? Would Nate ever be a good one? Would Nate ever be one at all? Feelings of doubt and mourning came like a thief in the night.
It suddenly became clear that Nate is living in the tension of growing up and wanting to be a grown up. For possibly the first time, Nate feels estranged in his own family, but in a healthy way. Rather than feeling abandoned, he is feeling called away, called to have a family of his own.
To date, paralytic father wounds and fear are status quo. Without doubt, those lies will eternally linger in the background, flaring up intermittently. Only God can equip Nate with the tools to walk in the confidence that a better way is possible.
The journey into Phoenix was no doubt an initial success. Nate quickly became surrounded. The words of Jack Schull now haunt him nightly. “Live the connected life, not the surrounded life”. The next step is becoming connected, which means becoming vulnerable - real talk - with himself, strangers and the future Mrs. B, whoever she may be.