“We’re close, we’re, very close,” my publisher kept saying as he meticulously and skillfully prepared the Print on Demand Edition book cover of GOING NAKED BEING SEEN. It is beautiful. In his care and attention, I could finally rest, and trust, and release this book into the world like another birth. It was so gentle really, even though the labor in living the story and writing the book was often painful and slow. The whole process of rejection by agents and publishers was worse. Although it was all part of a grander design that I can feel now, it hurt because I felt like I had to push myself harder, that the book wasn’t good enough, and that it would take longer to “earn my stripes” as an Author. I reached the breaking point, more than once. Tonight, I am so grateful that I didn’t give up, and that I gave in; to a new idea based on collaboration, and generosity and creative risk taking. I stayed true to something mysterious that had always moved me, because that mystery is real. That mystery is intelligent design and love.
Today is the death anniversary of my Father, Elmore C. Fry. To those who knew him, he was Al. Although I dedicated this book to my mother, his Spirit lives in the fabric of this story too, in the part about redemption. Although I was present, together with my siblings at my father’s bedside when he died, there were still things that felt unsaid between us. Even with my gifted rose quartz crystal found in his bathrobe pocket days after his death, I still felt unresolved about some things in our relationship. On Christmas morning, we opened our gifts as a family, including the ones from “Dad” and it was bittersweet, because he was dead. He had gifted me with Este Lauder “Beautiful”, a perfume he apparently liked, and the first time he ever gave me perfume. I wore it for years after he died, and I felt close to him when I did. They say that the sense of smell is the closest linked to memory, and that has been true for me.
When I was consulting with my publisher this morning, it became clear to me that this book might be uploaded into the Amazon Store today, although it may take some time before it is available for purchase. I wept, and I felt my Father’s presence like I haven’t in a very long time; as a blessing.
Later in the morning, I patronized a local store where there is always a TV blaring. While I don’t like TV, I did catch a commercial in between the News stories of the day. It was of a beautiful bride on her wedding day, wearing Este Lauder “Beautiful” perfume. My rational mind said, “Why are they advertising this perfume, in a wedding scene, at this time of year?” And, then my heart took over, and I cried. Many tears of joy. I felt my Father blessing me; reminding me that we didn’t need to have that conversation after all, because it wasn’t time back then, and we didn’t know how.
My Father was very even and fair with his affection for all of his children. There were no favorites, and I respected that about him. But, he told me often that I was “special”, and of course it felt good. But, it set up a pattern of very distorted and destructive relating to me with men. There’s more to the damage than that, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s just that I thought I had to be available to you, at my expense; to perform well, to look well and remain in that fragile and elusive, lofty sphere of unreality, in order to be loved. In fact, that wasn’t being loved, it was being used. Now, my Father did love me too, but it would have been better if I never got that attention; that way. I am not special. No one needs to be to be loved. Because if I am special, than maybe you aren’t. It’s a judgement, and God doesn’t love that way.
So, in healing from alcoholism and depression and other unconscious patterns, I began to realize the freedom of choice I had in matters that seemed to dog me before. And, I have forgiven my Father too. I feel a love for him today that I didn’t think possible after this much time has passed. And, I am glad he never knew me as an active alcoholic or as a very sick depressed person either. We wouldn’t have been able to talk about either of those things, because his world didn’t include a language or permission to be less than okay himself. You see, it all makes sense now. He wouldn’t read my book, because he didn’t read any books. But, somehow he knows I overcame some really hard things in my life, and that I carried him with me; healed, and to the other side. He came back this morning to say hello, and goodbye in a way. I’m so glad, and moved, and I love him so.
Redemption is more than a flashing moment of Grace. It is also the often painful work of atonement; facing things as they are or were, and not as I wished they would be. And, being at peace with all of it because a greater love alights a new life; a new vision, and a freedom to be truly loving. No matter how long it took, or how old I am. I have a good shot at beautiful today, in every area of my life.
I’ll give information about the print version of the book, on my facebook Author page, and perhaps through an update of this post. In the meantime, I’m reposing K D Lang‘s Version of Helpless because it was a popular post of mine. She speak’s of Neil Young’s integrity and vision as an artist, and that inspires me. I strive for the same. And, helpless is a good word to describe the wonder I feel of the beauty around me tonight.