"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Monday, February 4, 2008

Feathers From a Father

I walked in the door Saturday after two nights away. It's the longest I've been away from Toby since he came to live with us six weeks ago. He did not look like the same dog I ruffled goodbye on Thursday morning. He was longer, taller, sleeker.

And I detected the definite beginnings of feathers. Wispy strings of real dog hair lining the backs of his legs. A cowlick of curl in the center of his chest. Longer thicker hair curling around his tail and finishing in a sweet piggy ringlet at the end.

Golden Retrievers are known for their feathers. The lush growth of fur that flows from their legs, cascades from deep chests and plumes from long tails is a standard of their beauty and breeding.

 Since I spent the weekend being reminded how important an impact our ancestors have on the lives we inhabit, I was drawn to look at a picture of Toby's dad, Beckham. I wanted to see the possibility of pup become dog. I wanted to remember the lineage that flows in his veins. 

Beckham comes from a long line of champions. Strong. Healthy. Gorgeous. Toby is well on the way to making his dad proud - if dog dads can be proud.

I learned something about my own father this weekend. The father I never met. The father I didn't even know existed until I was in my thirties. The father who killed himself seven years before I was told the man I thought was my father was not.

Through the loving, empathic and compassionate guidance of Ruth King I heard my father tell me he loved me and that I didn't need to give up my own life to be loved by him. I heard him tell me that he is the perfect father for me and that I am the perfect daughter for him. I felt his arms around me. I felt his love. I felt his blessings.

I come from a long line of leavers. The pain gets too much, you leave. Leave by packing bags. Leave by dying - slow or fast, depending on the level of despair. Leave into the heavy blankets of depression and madness. It's my legacy, and without knowing why,  I've believed that in order to be loved and accepted in my family- in order to belong - I could never be fully in life, fully a-live, fully not dead.

My father told me to live. My father who could not stay because the pain was too much to bear told me to live for him. My father loves me. I heard him as surely as if he had never left me. Every part of me believes him.

My father gave me feathers this weekend. Mine are of the flying into life kind. Toby's are the regal beauty kind. Maybe that's the same thing.

Photo of Beckham from Brown's Golden Delights website


kario said...

Yup, they're the same kind. I feel so honored to have been present with you when your father spoke to you. I will feel even more honored to watch as you spread those wings and soar.

Love, love, love.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Lord, have mercy, that is some powerful writing and revelations!

Love, love and more love. (Have to one-up Kario.)

Suzy said...

Gorgeous writing from a gorgeous soul.

I certainly understand the thought process behind thinking about Toby's father.
I knew more about my German Shepherd's father than I ever knew about my own and was actually jealous.
Your writing went straight to my heart and soul. Thank you for sharing a way to get beyond that.

Love to you.


Michelle O'Neil said...

Gorgeous post.

What a beautiful, sweet dog.

cvb said...

Such wisdom. A family of leavers and knowing and experiencing the true love of life. I, too, was there when you experienced the love of your father. It was a very real, powerful and blessed experience. Thanks for sharing.

Remember... God always loves You! ~Caroline

Jerri said...

You knocked me right between the eyes with this one, Deb. Gorgeous. Powerful. Filled with your spirit.

Fly, my friend. Lift those feathers and fly.

Jess said...

I'm so glad you had such a powerful experience connecting all this stuff. So great.

And Toby looks so much bigger!! Wow. Beautiful dog. Two beautiful dogs.

See you soon!!

FrecklesandDeb said...

Wow! Toby is really growing! Looks like a long, lanky teenager. His dad is handsome -- beautiful coat!

I'm glad you had such a powerful weekend. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your experience.

Anonymous said...

Riveting and beautiful Deb. Listen to the words your father spoke, and yes, you are ready to use the feathers to soar to new places now.

Toby is such a gorgeous puppy, and it is no accident that he is in your life right now.

La La said...

Yes, Deb, this is beautiful! Wow. Such a powerful experience to have heard the words of love and life from your dad. Your writing is superb!

Love you.

Kim said...

Just beautiful. The puppy, his father, the writing, the revelations...and most of all, you.

lo said...

This is beautiful!
Wish i could have been there.
found you thru Carrie

grammer said...

Nicely done, Deb, full of heart and truth. The writing that gets right down to it -- the section on leaving, for instance -- that's my favorite kind. Blessings & thanks. tg

M said...

Wow...your writing continues to be beautiful and powerful. I don't know the pain that you feel from learning the truth of your heritage, but I do know the pain of learning of the lie. I pray that you continue to find healing as you discover that a father you never knew loved you. Remember also that you have a family that loves you and that you have a Father who loves you who will continue to lead you on this journey. It won't always be easy, but His road will lead to truth and healing.

Know that I love you.