Monday, September 2, 2013

Bring him home

It was supposed to be a quiet Saturday. Danielle and I in to clear up some things we hadn’t been able to get to yesterday. Then I look outside and see Sean surrounded by all kinds of stuff. Parked between Barney Greengrass and the church. I take a breath and go over. 
He is apologetic. I notice he’s got a new chair. Someone’s given him a shitload of clothes. Would I mind holding them for awhile? Well, no, OK. And would I mind running an extension cord out so he could charge up his cell phone and camera. Camera? 
Yeah, I like to mess with the shit....
Look, don’t bother with the cord, I’ll just take them inside and charge them up, OK?
Anna drops by to say hi, share some concerns.
RL is hoping to actually use his studio for some rehearsal time. 
I need to get out, take a break, get something to eat. Then I see the phone, the camera. I look outside. Sean is gone. Damn.
Much later, I’m ready to wrap it up. Head home. One of my people walks in. Very distraught. Has received a very disturbing medical report. It’s left him feeling alone. Afraid. Doesn’t want to see his tears. I remind him that the shortest verse in the Bible is Jesus wept. (John 11:35)
No regrets about the military career. What he did for his country. But aware that the marine he became pushed aside the boy he had been. Stories of his love for his mom. His sister. Her tragic death. And the death of a son in war.  The stories are detailed. But details best kept private. He has a natural story telling style, like a Texas story teller or a tent show testimony, everyhting builds to a  moral. The point is, how to get past the marine, back to the man?
We stand on the steps. Watch people getting on and off the buses. Like them, he says, all I want to be is human. Just human.
I ask about his younger daughter. His face lights up. We talk more. So you’re not alone. You have someone  who loves and cares for you. Maybe like you gave to your mom, your sister, it’s time to let her give to you. Let her know you not as a superman but as a vulnerable man. Let her give to you. That’s the greatest gift you could give to her. 
He looks at me. Intently. Goddamn it. I hate you for that. You’re right. You’re right. I hate it when someone’s right. And he gives me a tight, almost crushing  hug. I can feel his strength. I’m very proud of you, I say. It takes guts to come out, let yourself be known. I know it’s scary, but you are being brave. Show your daughter that courage.
That marine always protected me. And he’s gone away. All that’s left is me. (He names himself in the third person.) ________ wants to come home. _____ wants to come home.
I look at his face. See the frightened 14 year old under the grizzled warrior’s tough Texan face. So being him home, _______, bring him home. 
Another hug. I’ll be in mass tomorrow.
I begin thinking about how to change the service to speak to the place where he is. 
Yes, bring him home.

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