So often in my journey I’ve struggled to know how to communicate and process the feelings of pain and disappointment from my childhood. Having an absent father for most of my life has been a slow, arduous and ultimately numbing experience. In the deepest recesses of my early life I can distinctly recall my love and admiration for my dad. I’ve desired connection and relationship with him from the onset, and this phenomena is a universal trait in all of humanity. The limited and scattered times of connections that occurred in my adolescence feel like buried treasure. Extremely valuable but increasingly hard(er) to find.
Derek Cianfrance’s film “The Place Beyond The Pines” hit me like a ton of bricks. I feel like it touched the deepest nerve of my own story and I was transfixed on the characters throughout the entire film. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and book in a time to watch it immediately.
Without giving any spoilers away, the film beautifully yet painfully deals with the theme of generational sin. The idea that the choices of the parents have consequences for their children. This story immediately connected into a lifelong wrestle of my own.
Am I the product of someone else’s choices? Do I have any say on who I will become? Can I be grateful for the inherited genetic traits that make me, me? Can I also grieve the choices of my own parents that have marked me in negative ways? If trauma is inextricably intertwined into my story, how do you go about untangling? Do you rage against every thread, piece by piece and barricade yourself from any semblance of pain you’ve already gone through? Do you safeguard yourself to never allow yourself, or the one’s you love, to ever experience anything like that again?
The haunting reality of the human experience is we are unable to escape our pain. It will seek and find us out, and any incubating or hiding away only stalls inevitable confrontation. This song has become one of many ways for me to deal with this tension. To stare at it head on and choose to neither crumble nor flee. Often I feel tempted to write or create things that resolve and point towards explicit answers and hope. My Judeo-Christian upbringing and worldview makes it alluring to apply blanket statement answers to deeply troubling subject matter. This practice only masks and provides temporary healing. It’s not that I don’t believe in certain big picture truths of hope and restoration, it's just that I feel it’s more of an act of humility to surrender to the deep(er) mysteries of forgiveness and healing.
Grief isn't a welcomed companion to anyone, but it is one of the most consistent threads in all of our stories. What if instead of running from it, we chose to sit with it and allow it to find its place in our heart? To allow grief to harmonise with the joys of being human? I wonder what new things grief has to teach me before i'm so quick to silence it with more pleasant melodies?
The chorus of this simple, honest and vulnerable song is an echo of a future I want to believe in. This is a future reality that no token phrases or ideologies can ensure happens, but one that must be discovered through the pain and sorrow of my own journey. A future that holds my past in one hand and my destiny in the other and chooses to roam in unchartered territories.
To roam in the place beyond the pines is an active, painful and liberating pursuit.
Here’s to stories full of roaming.