Sunday, April 04, 2010

The angst (of March)

It has been a very difficult month for me.  Those of you who have been with me since the early years know that I have not been shy about laying my personal life out, for better or for worse, as my journey West has unfolded.  That journey hit a roadblock of monumental proportions in March.  But this time, the resiliency that had been my creed, was no where to be found.

A friend of mine, whom I have never met, but who became a friend from just reading me write about myself, my life, my journey, suggested that I go back to some of my early blogs and find the man that wrote those words, re-discover myself and find the strength, the source, the faith inside of a half-dozen years of sharing myself on these pages.

Enter this holiday weekend, Easter, 2010.  When I lived on the beach in South Carolina, when my kids were still just kids, Easter's were children chasing across an open field in search of hidden plastic eggs with cheap candy as their prize.  I watched with pride and joy, that even though this wasn't my holiday, those two innocent young girls just brimmed with happiness and contentment, how life seemed so simple, easy and wonderful for all of us back then.

Lost now in another time, another place, another lifetime, I search for the way.  Because what has evolved for me, in terms of a lasting, permanent, peace with myself and all that I have become, is as elusive now as it was when I left home, soon before this blog was born and the journey that I had embraced began being chronicled in this spot.
Angst: a feeling of deep anxiety or dread; typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general.
Sometimes it feels that this blog is my best friend, or maybe at times like these, my only friend.  How much sadder can life become that my only comfort is in writing these words, desperately in a long-in-the-tooth sojourn of personal discovery, finding only solitude, sadness, regret and memories.  Life can seem so tortuously cruel and meaningless.  Yet also so fragile and precious, like at those times long ago, with hundreds of screaming youngsters flailing across Kiawah's Heron Park, in search of hard candy hidden in plastic eggs while a bevy of proud parents stood in amazement of how simple and glorious their lives were at a moment filled with such beauty and wonder.

The beach was always busy on Easter weekend.  The weather in South Carolina was just turning warm enough to enjoy the afternoons of people watching and sand castles, beach chairs and puppies, all mixed together as paradise, a fleeting moment of perfection, where anything was possible and whatever paths we were on that brought us to that place and time, were flawless in their execution and direction, as were our collective lives, at that place, in that time, in those children who taught me how to love, unconditionally and forever.

Now it as come to this, come to pass that those moments are etched in a desperate memory, trying to evoke some reason to be, or some path out of an unwelcome malaise.  Distances can be measured in miles, or in time, or so it seems today, measured in feelings, spirit and detachment from faith, expectation, or desire.

A decade of Easter's has now intervened.  The beach and the kids are still there, but they are not mine, not anymore.  Nor am I anywhere to be seen, felt or found.  In my place sits the remnant of what could have been, but for a journey that intruded instead.

Who knows why we make the choices we do?  What takes over inside of us at crucial moments in our lives and changes everything?

Thoreau wrote, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."  And this, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...."   Is that not what I have become?  A man living deliberately, in quiet desperation.  There was never any assurance that my path would find a proper, fulfilling end, or that what I left behind, the beach, the home, the children, the paradise, would be left unscathed by my departure and the distance that has taken my place.

What is haunting this Easter Sunday, ten years past my girls' frolicking in life sublime, is the incoherence of my solitude, the empty, senseless culmination of a journey, fallen so hard and short, from deep in the angst of March.

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby


Martin said...

Dear Allan,

I want you to know that you have touched many thousands of your avid readers with you intellect, wit, honesty and your sadness.

I know that it is very difficult to see beyond where you are when you are feeling a deep sense of despair. I have been there. The only thing that seems to help me is the realisation that the place where I am at is not permanent and as in past it will be a phase that I will go through which I will come out of as I have done before

Best wishes


Anonymous said...

Allan...maybe it's time to chuck it all and Follow a Dream....Gotta live our life.....feeling the same way here. God Bless our Children...get's us thinking on this special day,

Anonymous said...

Allan, this is the best piece ever, ever, ever !!!

Anonymous said...

Allan, we are all tortured souls ...

as someone said, Life sucks, and then you die ...

Unknown said...

Allan, brand new to your blog...Thank you for this. Find 2 non job things that really interest you and have fun with them!

Anonymous said...

Iron John: A Book About Men by American poet Robert Bly, c. 1990. It analyzes Der Eisenhans, a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, in Joseph Campbell fashion to find lessons especially useful to men.

Joe Satriani - Until We Say Goodbye

Anonymous said...

Allan, you sound deeply disturbed, is there anything we can do ???

Anonymous said...

This is life...wondering about the choices we made or didn't; questioning what it is all for...moments of joy and depair all mixed up in a life.

I found my answer in God...the Easter story. Life makes sense, love makes sense. I have made mistakes, but I don't feel deep regret. I believe things happen for a reason. Not for everyone, I am sure; but I find great comfort in it.

Wishing you well...

Anonymous said...

Allan -
Your latest post mentions a monumental roadblock, sadness and children.

I do not know the details, but perhaps family is involved. And you mentioned "faith" as well.

Allan, I believe that families can be eternal. That for all of us - me, you, your readers, everyone - the family ties, memories, and relationships we create during our short time here can continue on into whatever happens to us after we leave this place.

I say "can" because - for me - having faith and applying strength in the toughest of times is what will allow my family to survive any challenge, trial, and defeat this world places upon us. And I believe that our reward will be remaining a family forever.

I wish upon you the ability to see and tap into the strength and faith that is within you to survive your trial. I can only guess, but it sounds as though your burden may be massive, crushing, or seemingly insurmountable.

Allan, I firmly believe we are given only what we can bear, and that you have the faith and strength within you to overcome.

Have faith and be strong, Allan.

t said...

No,Allan, you dont sound deeply disturbed at sound wonderfully human and real.exactly like the kind of person I would be proud to call my friend. as you have called me yours.

T.S. Eliot said...

Oh, I think you're wrong about March; T.S.Eliot said it best and it seems a most appropriate quote:

"April is the cruelest month,
breeding lilacs out of the dead land,
mixing memory and desire,
stirring dull roots with spring rain."
— T.S. Eliot (The Waste Land)

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Allan. It sounds like you're in a lot of pain.

Link McGinnis said...

A little late to this blog, I know. I felt an emptiness as I read about Easter and plastic eggs. Surely, there's more to Easter than just an event full of laughter and fun.

Allan, and friends of this blog; Easter doesn't exist except that God created a way for man to enter into full fellowship with him. We miss the boat when we look for fulfillment. Easter is the culmination of God's plan to restore man as the Bible says in this simple passage: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have eternal life."

So many are offended by the mention of God and Jesus. But, there is no offense in these names. God is the only one who can love unconditionally. Guilt and loss are removed and life is restored.

On the first morning of what we call Easter, Jesus was raised from the grave giving hope to all. We celebrate Easter because we know that He loves us!

Anonymous said...

Hosanna! (save now!)
Yeshua! (the Lord shall save!)

Alleluia! (praise him!)
Halleluyah! (praise the Lord!)

Anonymous said...

no, you religious folks missed the point of Allan's post. it wasnt about was about his feelings,his family,and losses and changes,and life.

but its ok. .....

I got it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Link,

Makes a lot of sense. You know, murder your child because you love the world so freakin' much. Ironically the world you created and the son you created. Ridiculous.

God, religion, whatever. It's all brainwashing.

Life can be good and bad with or without God. I don't need God for fulfillment of any kind.

I should confess though, I believe in three things. Friendship, entropy, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The FSM doesn't love unconditionally but he's got a damn good health plan so I've got that going for me...

C. J.

Link McGinnis said...


Thanks for the response. It is very ironic that God would give His perfect son for me - a sinner. His word says that I deserve death - complete separation from Him forever. And, a righteous judge (God in this case) can't just dismiss a wrong (or a huge collection of wrongs). Someone has to pay. Jesus did that for me and believe it or not he did that for you too.

Remember, this discussion started with a description of Easter. A resurrection doesn't exist in FSM unless the noodles have gone bad!

BTW, does C.J. stand for Christ Jesus?

Anonymous said...


The beach at Fripp Island, SC was really beautiful this past weekend. You ought to come back and visit.


Anonymous said...


I am very new to read your blog, infact this is the only blog I have read in 46yrs life.

I wanted to say that what you are experiencing is lack real purpose, IMHO.
God(whomever's) made only one imperfect thing and that is MANKIND. We try to achieve things that we think and believe will make us happy--but mind well those are superfecial and empty promises.
I am not a saint but I acknowledge only one thing can give eternal happiness and that is selfless act of giving.
You gave from your heart to your children, I would find eternal peace in being around them--again just (JMHO)