Red Winged Blackbird

Dear Daddy,

Happy Father’s Day. Rivka and I both read your Redwinged Blackbird story last night. I was thinking of it as a metaphor and Rivka referred to it as a parable. It bothers us both a little bit that the heartless character is a woman and the love character is a man, but despite that it conveys a deep emotional expression, especially considering it’s having been written at the ending of your path through the seminary. I love your description, in the inscription, of the meaning of your life having largely been expressed by this stage of your existence and I feel good to have my family as a large part of it. That you see me this way is something I’ve been aware of for a long time and it has at times been both a daunting responsibility in which I’ve let you down and an ambitious invitation toward greatness.

Some of the people who I associate with your admiration are Martin Luther King, Harpo Marx, Tom Vezzetti, Hildegarde Van Bingham, JS Bach, Garrison Keillor, Louis Armstrong, Bill Cosby, Mark Twain, George Gershwin, Fred Astaire, Joan of Arc, Daniel (in the Loins Den), Tom Oliveri, Jimmy Carter and Mom. Pretty impressive group of role models.

Entering middle age, the meaning of my life is also coming more into focus and at the same time as I finally accept the likelihood that both fame and artistic greatness may elude me in this life, I am learning to be in the moment and offer love without becoming paralyzed by the fear of how much work and sacrifice a lifetime of service will be.

In your story, the castle of mirrors which reflect not reality, but only ones fantasies doesn’t even seem to offer a reflection on hopes and fears. It offers safety and comfort without any actual relationships. At least not emotional or intellectual ones. Possible the heartless woman represents the purely material aspects of society. The man represents God, or the True Self, and the journey across the ocean represents the seeming impossible task of representing, in our lives, the boundless essence of our being. The necessary strength comes to us as we put ourselves in the position of needing it. I imagine the reuniting with the Love as symbolizing a state of enlightenment. I like that the most treacherous and final leg of the swim is through molten copper. Did you chose this metal for it’s association with Love?

Although I see the story as not fully mature, I’m glad you are putting it out there and will probably refer to it over the years, partly in exploring my own roots. I’m lucky to have expressive parents and you and Mom have both offered so many insights into making practical sense of life’s joy, suffering and mystery. Thank you for being so brave in facing your many health challenges during my lifetime, including the current developments. I look forward to further writings from you as you explore the old age of life.

I will aim to be detached in pursuit of the impossible achievements I imagine you expect of me.

Thank you for inspiring me to write this letter. I love you very much.