Monday, November 3, 2014

A November Monday / What Germany Means To Me

Monday, November 3, 2014

I had a very nice time this past weekend.  I went out on both Friday and Saturday nights.  I went to dinner at my friend Carol’s house last night.  I also volunteered some of my time on Saturday night in support of the Phillips Eye Institute Foundation’s annual fundraiser.  So why did I feel so sad last night when I arrived home?  Perhaps it is simply a matter of all the change that has unfolded in my life in the last many months.  I don’t fully know.

I think that sometimes it’s a bit difficult for me to remain so ‘on’ in my healing process.  By that I mean it can be difficult to maintain immense momentum in a healing process if you do not simultaneously counterbalance such deep work with regular light-hearted fun.  Yesterday was a good example that illustrates the necessity for balance.

I took time on a Sunday to attend a short presentation (90 minutes) on the subject of end of life issues.  It was offered at the Basilica of St. Mary.  I found the presentation informative and thought provoking.  After the presentation was over I sought out the presenter.  I chose to attend this presentation because the issue of end of life care and planning is something that has occasionally been on my mind in regards to my relationship with my father.  I do not feel comfortable seeing my father again unless there is some sort of healthy resolution to the issues that bedeviled my childhood.

I have been very committed to my own healing process for some sixteen months now.  Not all people who face such tremendous dysfunction as I did in my early development will necessarily overcome the impacts of such dysfunction.  And even those of us who are strong will occasionally grow weary and need to find the equivalent of a rest stop as we travel on the path to a better life. 

I do not feel as if my healing process has completely stalled.  I still have enthusiasm for what I am doing.  I still have drive, energy and an extensive network of support.  October nonetheless really took it out of me.  Near the end of the month I temporarily felt some immense fear that I would lose much of the progress I had made.  But I realize that was distorted thinking.  The outer reality of my life might have appeared fairly fluid and a little shaky.  But my own internal focus remained.  I was determined not to be unduly swayed.

And yet I still feel sad.  It must be the confrontation with my family of origin which took place this past week.  It ended in the same way it always has.  It ended in stalemate, recrimination and anger.  So I very deeply realized I simply have to move on now.  I can’t keep repeating old patterns.


What Germany Means

Last week I wrote of my intention to write about Germany through the month of November.  I thought I would start the process of writing by providing a bit of an introduction to my own background.  Some of this can be found in the earliest of my writings here on my blog.

My parents met in the summer of 1970.  My father was studying in Vienna at the time.  He met my mother-to-be while exploring the familial ancestry of his own mother.  They married a fairly short time later.  My parents were married on December 29, 1970.

I enjoyed the great fortune of traveling to Germany several times during my childhood.  I thus never lost a firm sense that my parents came from two different (and yet simultaneously similar) worlds.  Both of my parents grew up in rural communities.  My mother came of age in the decades immediately after the cataclysm of World War II left Germany in ruin.  My father grew up in Arkansas in the 1940s and 1950s.  Anyone who has some familiarity with the American South knows that the South, as a region, has never been an especially politically progressive part of the world.  For example, Little Rock, Arkansas was the site of the forcible integration of Central High School in September, 1957.  As you would reasonably expect the influences my parents were subject to in their own childhoods played a role, from what I can tell, in who they would become as adults.

I have never held dual citizenship despite my German mother's citizenship.  I was born 'at the wrong time'.  Yet despite the fact that the law doesn't recognize me as such I nonetheless feel as much at home in Germany as I do here in the United States.

Post Script

Fifty Day Challenge, Days #38 (11.2.14 and #39 (11.3.14)

Day 38:

  • I attended a discussion on issues associated with the end of life presented at the Basilica of St. Mary
  • I enjoyed the sunshine
  • I took a day off writing

Day 39:

  • I exercised at the YMCA
  • I met with a dietitian to consult about my nutrition
  • I met with representatives of Allina Health about my work interests
  • I attended my German class

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!