I need to build a bridge to my son. He’s over there somewhere; I’m over here somewhere, and there is a wall between us. I built the wall, brick by brick, by avoidance. I’m the one who can remove it — or maybe together, we could build a bridge over it.
Chandler is confronting by nature, and I mean that in a good way. He says what he thinks and expects you to do the same. If you don’t, he doesn’t have time for you. I don’t always say what I think, and he knows it, so he doesn’t have time for me. I am not confronting by nature. I avoid confrontation at all costs — and the cost is high — it’s the cost of a relationship. Did I just say I would sacrifice a relationship to avoid confrontation? That’s how bad my isolation is.
I think that I am protecting myself through isolation but I am only making matters worse by adding to the wall. Oh I’m safe alright — hard, brittle, but safe, and lonely, without a son.
I desperately need to heed my own advice (Tuesday’s Catch), but I need to act on it, not just write about it. Being vulnerable is truly what is called for, but that means coming out of my isolation booth.
Not only is Chandler confronting, he is intimidating. He is bigger than me now, and stronger than me, and that’s not only physical. He’s just so sure of himself. I feel wimpy next to him. All the more reason to avoid confrontation and put another brick in the wall.
He has his own language and he thinks I understand it so he won’t take the time to explain himself. And since I don’t want to work hard enough to find out where I can understand him, we pass by on either side of our wall.
We had a brief talk last night. We talked about our spiritual connection, and I asked him to think about how we might find it again. At his treatment center we were famous for our spiritual connection, but nothing has been done about that since we got back. I know there is a way, but it’s going to be a way through my vulnerability. All of my tried and true ways don’t suit him and the way he thinks.
For instance, I would love for him to ask me questions, and I would be the spiritual answer man, but he doesn’t want that, and that would not make me vulnerable. I would love to teach him theology — Who is God? What’s the problem with man? How do we know the Bible is the word of God? What about the Trinity? — but he doesn’t want that either. Those are not his questions. Or I would love to teach him my favorite passages of Scripture, verse by verse, but he doesn’t learn that way, and besides, none of these methods travel through my vulnerability. They require very little of me. I can teach in my sleep. But he doesn’t want me to teach; he wants me to connect with him and what he already knows. This connection is going to have to be entirely new and creative — something I’ve never done before. That requires me to be totally vulnerable to the way he thinks which is very different from the way I think, but if I want to build a bridge, this is the bridge.