I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head these days. Feels like around this time last year I was asked to preside over a wedding for a friend. I took a week to think about it, then I agreed. That day quickly approaches. So recently, my mind has been wrapped up on the topic of love, what it means, what it is. Me, a man who has been constantly mystified, and confused, about the inner workings of That Thing which is not a machine, yet builds, not a tool, yet assists, and cannot see, yet seeks.
What has dominated my thoughts, aside from what I should be doing, or want to be doing, or even need to be doing, is the day my father came into my room, years back, to give me the idea for a story. He had a composed tone that begged me to listen, and he outlined the idea as if he had taken great care in doing so. We didn't talk much in those days, a trend that has continued as such through the years, and that afternoon he had more words for me than he had during the entire previous month.
"This would be a good story," he told me. He was sure, like he's always sure, like he would probably say a man should be. I listened because there was little else for me to do. I couldn't tell him that the story was bad, that it wasn't "my kind of writing" or "up my alley." I didn't want to disappoint him, I guess you could say.
And to be truthful, I hadn't remembered the idea at all until this past week, when I was thinking about the stories that I had decided to write. There was a wide gap between chapters and I thought to myself "what do I put here?" I thought, and I thought, and eventually, I happened upon the dusty corner of my brain where I try to store the cobwebs. It was labeled "Dad's idea," because that what it was, start to finish he had given it to me, told me again that it was good, not unlike a prayer, and left me to write it.
I hadn't then, obviously. But I will soon. And that, being able to finally do something that he wanted me to do, sort of made my day. Not that I've spent my life trying to go left when he said go right. I just happened to have picked my own path, and just this once, the avenues are parallel. I'll say "Hey, Dad, I used that idea you told me about, years back," and he'll look at me, and frown, trying to remember. But he won't admit that he can't; he'll just say "Oh, well good," and that'll be that.
And I won't correct him, either. What is most important, in this case, is that he know that at that time, at all those times, is that I was listening.