Day 4: 20.2 miles/1:15
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” ~ Carl Bar
Toward the end of the day yesterday, Brandon turned up again. Amazingly, and to my pleasant surprise, he was very alert, clean, reflective and contrite. Having experienced the addict manipulation several times before, I was a little reluctant to engage. Except, this time his attitude was clearly different so I decided to play along. We had a great two hour talk about all the things we normally talked about; however, this time he demonstrated a willingness to internalize the message and actually referenced some of the ideas and thoughts that I shared with him on previous talks. Maybe some of my perspectives and guidance were actually sinking in. Since there was such a positive exchange between us, I decided that maybe it was a good opportunity to engage him again and explore the opportunity to help him once more.
I never really know if there are good decisions or correct decisions when it comes to love, tough love, or parental love. There are a lot of expert opinions out there; but that is what they are—opinions. Regardless of the situation, my children are my children. When they ask for help and are looking for parental guidance, there is only one answer—provide it. When I think about my role and my experiences as a parent, I often reflect on the scene in the movie Parenthood when Jason Robards is talking to Steve Martin (his son in this movie) as he discusses the intense feelings he deals with as a parent. And, how these feeling never go away no matter how old your children are. “There is no finish line, there is no end zone, there is no touchdown celebration.” I find that scene incredibly powerful.
Until you live the experience, the commitment, the unconditional love, and the continuous concern and worry that a parent feels toward their children, you cannot appreciate the depth of that commitment. That commitment stays with you until the day you die.
I found today’s quote particularly inspiring because it empowers me to look at the opportunity of the moment, of today. History and our historical experiences can often prevent us from accomplishing a great deal. Once we have experienced failure, pain, loss, distrust or disappointment in someone or something, moving forward without extricating ourselves from the source of those feelings is nearly impossible. In some cases, “burn me once shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me” can be relevant. However, in many cases we do not look at our part, our role, our behaviors, our communication effectiveness, our commitment, or our expectations as it relates to those failings. While I am not one to encourage people to blindly allow ourselves the opportunity to go through any experience like that again, I do encourage people to look at the much broader picture of what really happened, why it happened, and what could have been done, armed with the power of hindsight and honesty, to have made that effort more successful the next time.
Your future starts now. Armed with a sense of purpose and commitment, the opportunity to create new beginnings and new endings, even from old experiences exists and is very real. This is why I remain committed to working on finding a way to assist Brandon through his issues. While my wariness and reluctance and frustration grows, my belief in his ability to solve this issue and in the opportunity for a new beginning is strong enough to encourage me to continue my commitment to him. I do not know if I am the person who can help him and I do not know if or where the answers are. All I know is he’s my son and I am his father and I am going to work with him and love him until he succeeds or dies. That is my commitment to him as his father.