2nd Footnote to Line 9

When I write blog posts there are two key things I try to keep in mind:

First, I tend to write things from specific times and places and events in my life, and those things intersect with the times and places and events of others, and other people have their own memories and feelings about any given set of events.

And second, that memory is distinct from truth because it is personal history, it is the history we write – and re-write – about ourselves.

Reading the original post, and the comments to the post and the prior footnote, I realized that I needed to make one point very clear:

Those events are decades old. Time has passed, and much more has happened in my life, and in the lives of my family than is encapsulated in that post, or any post; or even in any one recollection of events.

I also want to make it categorically clear, that I love my family, I love my dad VERY much, and I have learned much about who he is, and about who I am, by working to understand his personal history, and his memories, and what makes him tick.

My dad is a loving, caring, compassionate person who has a character that runs far deeper than I understood as a teenager. As a kid, I thought of my dad as essentially a two-dimensional presence; a combination of family history and household rules, and also the man who took us camping and hiking, and helped shape so very much of my own eclectic tastes in music and art and history and philosophy. When I was twenty-years-old I didn’t realize even a fraction of the impact he had on who I am, today I can hardly identify a fraction of who I am that doesn’t bear his imprint.

As I’ve discovered who I am in the face of my own backstory, I’ve discovered SO MUCH about who my father is, and how deep those waters run. I wish I had really known him better when I was younger, but as these things go, perhaps I can only truly begin to know him as I begin to face similar issues and write my own memories and personal history.

There is one other thing I want to clarify, while my father was struggling to find success in 1990, the next two decades saw him find incredible success. In some ways that success has created other dynamics that I have had, and will have, to deal with for a variety of reasons; but it would be a tragedy of history and memory to leave anyone with the impression that my father has done anything other than ultimately rise to and exceed the expectations placed before him.

How that ultimately affects me is a story still left to be written.

Footnote to Line 9

Sometimes, when I’m trying to write a larger series of things, I’ll get stuck by something that doesn’t work the way I want it to. Usually, the solution is to fix the thing that isn’t working. But, occasionally, the solution is to toss out what isn’t working and finally get down to what it is that I’m really trying to write.

Line 9 was the latter. The post that finally went up is something that I’ve been trying to write for at least the last four years. It’s personal, it’s still raw, and it’s going to end up significantly revised in the future. But it’s something about me that I’ve carried around and processed for decades.

“We are who we come from,” according to my family. And who I come from has been drilled into me since before I could walk. Family history is paramount, and the process of ingesting it, and digesting it, and retelling it has a lot to do with who I am as a storyteller, and who I am as a person.

I realize that Line 9 is long, even for a print article. Yes, I’ll eventually edit some out, change this, sand off that, add a sentence here or there…but it’s also about being complete. Perhaps too complete at the moment, but everything has to start somewhere.

Think of it as a draft. One of the hardest drafts I’ve ever written.

*Poetic Translation

As my wife pointed out, it would have been more meaningful if I’d have added the translation to the latin I was studying.  My problem is that the translation loses so much, especially since a five-hundred year old version of that passage in english is perhaps the most well known prayer in Christianity, and english from five hundred years ago doesn’t really speak to the intent of the passage as well as I’d like.

The latin is taken from the Roman Catholic Common Mass.  If I were to translate it myself, it would start something like:

Father of all things, existing above and beyond in a place outside of our dimension, we hold sacred even the invocation of our feeble human attempt to describe you.  May the entirety of creation come to know unity, and a transcendence of our mortal existence through an utter and all encompassing surrender to the perfection and peace that is your intent and plan for all creations in every shard and facet of the universe.

As a child asks for food at a grand dinner table, laid out with delicious things to eat, so do we ask for that which you have already prepared for us.  The request honoring the offer to provide that you have already made to us.

We ask that you will actively and personally forgive and redeem us from the failures we have stumbled into; both failures with the holy and infinite, and failures with others here in our day-to-day experiences.  As you forgive and redeem us, so do we seek the knowledge and grace to imitate and repeat that forgiveness with others who have failed in their relationships with us.

Guide us away from those things which will cause us to fail you and others, and when we begin to go down the wrong paths and blind alleys, we ask that you would lead us back to the best roads and the safe harbors that will help us continue to improve ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world.

That about covers the first paragraph, from “Pater noster” down to “sed libera nos a malo.”

The current Missal translates that paragraph as follows:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Yes, I realize my translation is more “wordy” but there’s just so much more poetry to the actual latin (and even more so with the actual source Greek, but that’s another post for another time).