The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

Archive for June, 2017

to Recieve Your Gift, Choose It


Fathers Day. Day of Choices.

In this western society of ours, it is a strange and perverted phenomenon that seems to give Fatherhood the element of Choice. Many times the exercise of choice to the shame of a man. Dude chooses to head out the back. Dude chooses to treat his children in ways unsuitable for pets. Dude chooses to hide himself in anything and everything he can find besides engaging with his offspring. Dude never understands the shame he’s brought on himself until it’s too late.

My own experience is nothing like any of those. When I found myself as an infant alone at my maternal grandparents’ house, it was my dad who chose to fly at a moments notice, in uniform, across several states to come pick me up, fly me home, dry clean the uniform whose primary battle that day was my penchant for motion sickness – and to establish by whatever means he could a home for me.

As I’m spending this Fathers day with my son in the hospital again, I was speaking with my dad about his condition, which at one point the other day was very grave. Dad wanted to encourage me by pointing out how over the years we have fought for Our son.

My blind response, “What else would we do?”

It took a moment, as it sometimes does when wisdom speaks through me instead of from me, to take in the significance of the mental process that had just transpired. I have done what I’ve done because that is what I’ve known.

And so, by extension, I hope to pass this experience on to others. Does it sound self-congratulatory to speak about my choices this way? I feel differently. Someone has given me a cup of nectar, and not only do I pass it on after I’ve taken my share, but I tell the next person how good it is in hopes they too will taste, and be nourished, and pass it on to the next.

Mothers Day is all about loving what you’ve been given, a God-given instinct that can’t be refused easily.

On the other hand, Fathers Day is a Day of Choosing. It is a day of choosing to love that which you could walk away from, hiding from your gift in the folds of society’s hedonism. Mothers Day is a celebration of our humanity. Fathers Day is observance of “that of God” in us.

If you have a father who has chosen to offer it, take that cup of nectar, drink of it deeply, and with personal humility share it with those who need it most – your children. It will sometimes confuse them. It will baffle them sometimes. If the child you have chosen was not born to you, it may raise in them suspicion sometimes, of ulterior motives, of somehow trying to take from them, instead of giving. It is hard to speak well of something you’re doing without sounding conceited – make sure you remember that the gift you give doesn’t come FROM you, only THROUGH you from another, greater source. Do your best to ensure that from this day of choosing forward, your child only knows this. Smother them in your choice so that when the day their child throws up, or disappears, or tantrums, or falls desperately ill, they don’t have to even think about the choice. Give them cause to boggle, “but what else would we do?”

The thing in fatherhood worth taking from it is, oddly enough, only possible by giving. There is nothing else. There is nothing your child has that you can have by taking. This requires faith. The blessing only exists by giving.

Fatherhood is among the greatest of gifts a man can receive.

Choose it.

Give the gift.

Then, and only then, receive it.


Now I lay me down to sleep

Sometimes, when I am getting in late for the night on a trip, I find myself unable to bear the thought of enclosing myself inside a room just yet. My blood is still up, to keep out the cold, to meet the rush of the wind, to do the work that a rider does. These are not idle pursuits that I have. They require all of me, body and soul. And the soul does not always get off when the body does.

It is in these moments that I find myself lingering outside. I step a bit back from the freshly-unloaded bike, and stand in such a way as to admire its lines.

And because my soul is still on the bike, my body yearns to get back on, to continue into the night leaving baggage and gear behind – to just go.

But instead, I consider this bike. I think about what was done today, the mountain passes, the tortuous wending paths that we crossed together.

And I think to myself, “what a Beast”

I see it’s dents, and scuffs, and the bent pipe, and the loose bolts. I see the bug splatter and the road grime, splashed up from below or dripped from the engine. Or both.

I am not tempted to grab a rag and commence to wash. It’s not that kind of bike. We don’t rub one another down. Well… sometimes on a hot summer day, in the driveway when there’s no riding to be done. But not out here. This is a Campaign, the time for touch and feel is another day.

Indeed, what a beast.

And my soul says, ” hey, lemme see”.

And in this way, I entice it off the bike, back into union with the rest of me. And with a heavy sigh, we accept the stifling cocoon of civilized dwelling for a few hours.

A Word About Art

If I may wax a little philosophical about Art:
I’ve taken this photo from my trip last week, and removed the color. I then brushed it back in selectively as I saw fit.

It gave the photo some extra meaning to me to do it, and more importantly, the task at hand gave me a chance to ruminate on the meaning I was seeing.

It was a fairly simple process, I wouldn’t say much skill was required. You’ll see that I’ve only re-colorized some of the flags. This was done with intent that I discovered as I worked. I originally intended to recolor all of the flags. But it struck me that the story of our country is far from ended, and those who come after us are still coloring the purpose and meaning of America.

The inspiration for that came in the action. And what I want to say about Art is this: That it is the process of finding meaning – maybe for others, but maybe only for yourself. It is a way of learning, a dynamic process that can only really be taught within the construct of action. It is a very specific, unique method of learning about meaning in life.

And this is why it is important for Art to be included in schools, and deserves a higher degree of deliberate inclusion.

I find it harder and harder to accept that the gradual disappearance of Art from curriculum to be a simple lack of understanding of its value. The more I know about the process of Art – real art that is – the more it feels like it has been intentionally repressed and/or perverted into something with the same name, but without the same power to define ourselves. I don’t entirely know why, all the scenarios I can come up with are very, very dark with implication.  I hope I’m wrong.

But one thing I’m sure of: Art is a part of being Human. Parents, encourage your children to think – not just about a proper end product, but to FEEL the process of creating, to understand it’s effect in them, and to give it its proper place in their makeup. We can’t rely on schools to do it.  We can’t rely on our fractured society to do it.  Art WILL be created.  Whether it nourishes us or bleeds us of our strength depends on both the Artist’s dedication to awareness of inspiration, and the vision of us all to perceive meaning.

There. I don’t think that was too bad, was it?

Now go color something.