Letter to a Son

Never let me forget the day I saw clouds. It was the day I noticed a speck of dust shining and floating for the first time since childhood. It was the day, my son, I thought of you, my oldest, and remembered the pain I have caused you.

Never let me forget that on the day of the clouds, of the speck of shining dust, I realised why I have often hated you and hurt you. What I saw is not easy to explain, yet it is so simple. You see, I have never been a man, and perhaps only now, by Gods grace, may I become one. Not being a man, and feeling the misery of my lack, I have tried to stamp out in you, any signs of that enviable state. For that state of manhood grows in one like a plant, and if its seeking stem is broken, its promise of leaves and blossom can never be. So I ground upon the tiny green shoots of your manhood with my violence, envious of my firstborn, seeing him reach toward the manhood I could not attain.

So, my son, I ask you to forgive me. Not in words, but in your deepest self. For only in that way can you redeem me, and expunge from yourself the scars I have written upon your soul. Because in some strange way, the destinies of parents and children are thus linked, that you must redeem my sin that is yet your own.

But what is this state of manhood, and why should I not have reached it, even at this late date?

Let me say first that manhood, or womanhood, as the case may be, is a very beautiful thing. Beautiful and mysterious, for it reaches into the lives of others and enriches them out of itself. Yet manhood is not our own. It is the out flowing of life within us. Invisible life, unknown, unseen, only felt, grows manhood in us. It grows in us all. But it can be twisted, broken, held back, made hateful, by the evil in men, or the ignorance. I have suffered this just as you have at my own hands. Here is why, having a mans body I have not been a man.

If life is allowed to fulfill itself in us however, then the beauty of manhood can be realised. This beauty is shown as the power to give of oneself to a woman of ones choice. To give freely and lovingly of ones body, of ones flame of succouring manhood, that is lifes gift, of ones sympathy and arms in trial, of ones steadfastness.

My son, you are a piece of my body, and I love you. I hope you will understand when I say that when life is allowed to renew itself in us constantly, to forever continue its growth, we find resources of love for each other. This love, at its first stirrings from the soil of your being is sensuality. As you grow and develop the organs of manhood, it becomes sexuality. In our own age, it is at this point that its growth is capped or maimed. But just as sexuality grows out of the secret places of sensuality, so out of the loveliness of sexuality comes sympathy, understanding, self-sacrifice in loving service, a warm heart to mankind. Only then, as the blossoming from these, comes the spirituality and godliness that so few men have.

At this point, all the others remain, but they have reached up from the earth to the light. While between the earth and the light is a sweet flowering of our human possibilities, wrought not by us, but by life in us.

Reading this, do not misunderstand. None of these things do we have to strive to develop. Our striving is in the sphere of surrender to life or God, that it may be wrought in us. In this way our inner growth is as gentle and unselfconscious or unaware as our physical growth, or the growth of our emotions in adolescence.

This is what I saw on the day of the clouds. This is what I ask to remember through my experience in and beyond this life. This, my son, I pass on to you. This, I hope, your children to, will remember with me.

Your Father

Copyright ©1969 Tony Crisp

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved