Passover. Listening?! I don’t listen well. I don’t really know how to listen. Even when I get away for one of my retreats – I do a lot of thinking – and a minimum of listening.
I’m going to try again. Just going to get on the couch and try not to sleep. Going to find a passage on which to meditate for a few minutes and then simply try to hear….maybe that’s the difference! I’m trying to hear something rather than just listening to what’s there.
That was a q relatively quiet Friday morning, and what I heard was: “get up and go visit the places where you grew up.”
So I did.
I left work and drove to North Seattle and visited the Lake Forest Park home where I spent my youth from about 5 years old until I was 11. So strange. Parts of the neighborhood are so different now, and yet parts are so familiar. They put a pitched roof over the original flat roof on our home. But the decks, tool shed, and I think even the play house (now a storage shed) are still just like I remember them. Of course, everything seems smaller.
I received no major epiphanies.
The memories I re-lived were almost all good ones. It was a pleasant, if slightly surreal, feeling to be there.
I sat in my car. Just kept telling myself to “listen”, and didn’t really hear anything.
I moved on. Went up the road to the old elementary school, now Korean church. (Talk about surreal!)
No one was there, but I poked my head in the old Gym (now Sanctuary) and peeked in a few old classrooms. Followed the trail that we took through the trees to the road where the school patrol (crossing guards) did their duty. That was a real thrill for me in the 5th grade: being asked to be CAPTAIN of the school patrol.
I crossed the street and over to the “Nike Site” (an abandoned Nike missile base that we played in, now a city park) and recalled some distant memories. But the actual landscape has changed there. There was a reservoir that I had forgotten about. And I saw a view of the Seattle skyline that I never knew existed. I thought about the trail from our neighborhood that lead here…
As I came back up the trail to the former school I thought again about the school patrol, and how I stole the blue and red lapel pins from the storage lockers. I wanted those tokens of my success so badly. I wanted approval so badly. Attention. If there was any doubt that his battle for approval, recognition, attention and affection is a LIFE-LONG battle, there is no longer any.
I remembered for the first time in a while that this period of my childhood included regular bed-wetting, mysterious pains in my legs that I honestly cannot recall if I invented, my Mom invented, or were real, as well as thumb-sucking up until I was 10 or 11.
I remember Lee C. – my good buddy – she NEVER made fun of me for that. She was the only one who knew my thumb sucking secret – and she NEVER used it against me. Never. Thank you, God for Lee.
But it seems that I NEEDED more attention than just one simple, loyal and courageous friend could provide. I longed for it.
I recall lots of creativity: Many “shows” super 8 movie making, fantasy games; turning my closet into a super-hero lair, actually running around the neighborhood, IN COSTUME with Stan S. as my sidekick, looking for crimes to thwart. I think we actually committed a few crimes so that we could later “solve” them somehow.
I moved on from that house, and after only a couple of failed tries, found the house we lived in when I was born. Had some distant and foggy memories of the place. It was so small. It’s being re-modeled and no one was there so I could peek into the windows with impunity. Yep…that’s the place.
I tried to call my brother and my Dad on a whim to share the moment with them. Neither answered. I took that as a sign: shut-up Dan! Listen!
I listened some more. Still good memories, along with blurry “bad” ones. Conflict. Shouting. The older girls across the street: their house.
Listening. Speak little boy.