Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Wednesday, October 05, 2005  

The Sins of the Father

One of the greatest, if not the greatest, hardship is to be cursed with an idiot, a fool, a wastrel, a churl, and a jerk for a father.

We image God based upon our experience with our father (or lack of) as we develop as children. To have a weak, absent, or abusive father is to form an idea of God which is parallel to that of our sire. To have a decent, generous, moral man guide us is to become a fertile ground for faith to spring up, and a fruitful life.

I and my brothers and sister had the misfortune to be the progeny of a man who was weak, often absent, and generally abusive. That man, now nearly eighty years old, has become a King Lear figure in his own eyes as the father of wicked, disrespectful children. He is certainly a man “who knew himself but little“.

I, unfortunately, fulfill the Cordelia role of the child who speaks facts and sense to the childish father.

You would think that having grown a bit old yourself (I am in my fifties), you would be better equipped to deal with disagreeable and downright idiotic people, but, oh my soul, I am not so sanguine and unmired when dealing with the foolishness of my dad.

A bad or unwise parent is an emotional cross at any time of life. Talk about your mystic bonds of memory and connection -- none are more strongly rooted as that between parent and child.

We are every bit as imprinted to a mother and father as a chick is to the hen. We are chained with links of unconscious, primeval affection which are unbreakable; a tie of blood which is indelible.

Thus, we are wounded to the marrow when we have a venal or perverse soul at the other end of that consanguinal tether.

I am not a man who can freely harden his heart at will when confronted with a difficult relative. And part of my problem is that I refuse to bend my will to that of a bully who uses not violence but childish emotional reactions meant to effect submission to immoral, foolish, or capricious actions.

My father is a man who wants the approval of his children, but has never studied how to behave in a manner which might win it.

For example, he will send me a letter telling me how he never had any rapport with me as a child or man (as if that was something under my control as a child) and after insulting me ask me for a favor which costs me time, money, and detriment.

After giving me the back of his hand, he expects a submissive response when he has no actual power to compel it.

We see this time and time again in politics of one kind or another. Take the lefty who insults his country and people and then demands they acquiesce to his vision of life as if the reproof would act magically to transform the guilty reprobates into amenable vassals.

My father believes that belittling insults will have the positive effect of leading the sinner to repentance, and demands for forgiveness.

It is one of the worst kinds of offenses when a father attempts to use his power as a patriarch to willfully injure a child, not for the sake of moral correction, but to wheedle his way in a course of folly.

I realize I have not been very specific here, but the details behind this effusion are tedious yet ancient as a Greek drama. It is the kind of situation where the next word one hopes to hear about his dad, is that he is dead and will stop bothering you with absurd behavior.

But the damage is done. He has sown his seeds among my siblings and poisoned their lives and understanding. They will carry his bilious attitude and selfishness until either they are dead or finally repent of their character and habits.

The sins of the fathers are visited upon their children up to seven generations, indeed.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 12:02 AM |