Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Father's Response to a Son's Confusion

Dear Josh,

I'm at work, so can't be long, but just wanted to thank you for your openness and kindness in putting your heart out there in the web of cyberspace to connect w/ me and Mom! Sorry I had to run out yesterday, but a Dad has to do what a Dad has to do and, quite frankly (and with a tip of my hat to Aristotle and those wise ancients...), it was fun to take Ms. Leah to her art class and hang w/ her all morning at class, shopping and having lunch together. As you say, that's the cat's pajamas (depending on her mood, of course...).

And you ain't wrong about life's phases, as you work your way through them, you'll find out there are about as many as there are of the moon. You've gone through some of glife's most trying, endearing and important, but you ain't even half-way through yet, so enjoy the journey! As you note, you've done an exceptional job through the rough and tumble of childhood and youth as you now enter young adulthood. But, this, too, is a trying stage of glife -- at least it was for me, too, when I was your
age (and older, as I've noted...).

Finding one's profession, partner, life-long friends, home is all a demanding mix of growing up b/n 18 and 25. There are many first steps, mis-steps, halting steps and exuberant steps along the way. In a way, it's a testing time. You are forced into so many new situations, new people, new experiences all the while trying to keep your eyes on the prize while, at the same time, trying to figure out what that prize is for you and your glife. Ain't easy, my son, my friend...

Your longing for home, us, Leah, Nepal is all right and joyous and true. We are you as you are us and we are all together. (as the Beatles sang...) Even if we can't just jump into bed w/ each other all the time and pull the covers over our heads and wish that the big, wide world outside didn't exist. It's there, alright and full of riches and risks. Remember Cavafy's poem 'Ithaka'! It's the journey, man! The destination is the same for everyone, no matter where or how they live. You know that.

Georgetown is one stage in the path. It's a good stage for your growing maturity, intellect and worldliness. Drink deeply from this well and enjoy, as much as you can. This too will pass (George Harrison, "All Things Must Pass" -- great album!) and you'll want to look back on it w/ affection.

Nepal, like Ithaka, will always be here for you. It is yours, honestly, as Grammy would say. You come of it, have drunk deeply in it and may return to conbribute more to her some day. But, as much as you want to be w/ us, you also need to form your young and potential life.

This summer we will all indulge our joy in living together as a family for those months here in our home. You'll have time w/ Leah and us. Although, as you'll see, we are also busy in our lives, creating, working, engaging the world as best we can. We can't live each other's lives, but support each other, respect each other and love each other.

Nepal is a gift to all of us, even w/ the terrible traffic, the stomach disease, the air pollution, the selfish and short-sighted politicians. It's a terribly governed state that is trying to break free of its past and create a modern future. Not easy within itself or b/n the twin behemoths who just want to eat from her while so many Nepalis flee to better locales.

You'll see and learn a lot w/ a young man's eager and insightful eyes this summer. Much you'll experience to take back w/ you for your studies and professional growth.

After all, you don't have to belong to America, if you don't like now or in the future. Altho, again quoting Grammy, 'you come by her honestly'. She has her gifts, as well, for you to learn from and indulge. As you note, the magnificent nature protected by the wisdom of its leaders, your cousins who love you and an open society in which to think and critque. For your studies, you are a fortunate young man to have such a fine university in which to learn and grow without all of the politics, lack of resources and unrest that harms higher education here.

All I mean to say in my sober rambling is that we LOVE you (you know that)
and that you have choices beyond your wildest imagination ahead of you. Keep your distant, cool eye on the prize of a quality education upon which you can build a glife and career in which you will find fulfillment. Work provides one of the deepest and most lasting joys of glife (it took me a long time to realize that...). In our modern world, education is the basis for those options. Therefore, tough and lonely and demanding as it is (I'm sure your buddy Aristotle has something to say on this, too..), your quest must lead through this period of study, reflection, learning and growth.

We are there, always, in your heart, especially when you need us the most.

love, Dad

ps: you write beautifully when you write from the heart! if you don't mind me saying, i see so much of my inner confusion and torment when i was at Amherst. Mom wud recognize this letter as being me, as well... We are, after all, father and son, thankfully so... xoxo, me

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