Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. ~~ Mahatma Gandhi
I received some criticism a few days ago. It was written in the form of a comment to my post last Thursday Half-Way to Thirty. It came from an anonymous writer. It was criticism not of my blog, but of me. Very personal criticism.
It was suggested that I would spend better use of my time, rather than writing a blog, by looking for employment. They wrote because I was unemployed and down-and-out — more than anyone would want to be — that I was portraying “a false image, one of sophistication and classiness [sic]. Little do your readers know you’re an unemployed loser who is too lazy to get a job.”
Well you might imagine how I felt. I didn’t know who this person was. I had suspicions that it was a former friend. I know, you gotta laugh. With friends like that, who needs enemies right? But read on. So I took a deep breath and wrote a reply:
I do look for work. In-fact I interviewed on the phone for a job a few days ago. I visited again just this week a local employment agency as I have been doing on a regular basis for a year now. In the last few weeks I’ve interviewed twice in-person. Within the last 60 days I’ve interviewed with two other local employers. There are several others in the works and I will be sending copies of my resume out early next week to people who’ve asked for it…
I left some things out, like how I’d responded to more than 100 job postings on Craigslist and didn’t receive a single reply. How I’d gotten my hopes up over two positions that I was a perfect match for, only in the end to lose out to someone else. I didn’t mention I had applied over a period of several months for every possible job available at one of the larger casinos north of Seattle — even a dishwasher position — and yet, not one interview. The H.R. lady there told me I needed to dumb down my resume. Well I hope you see the point. Laziness has nothing to do with it. I was the target of false accusations.
But the story doesn’t end there. Far from it. The writer wrote again, but this time it got nastier. Ugly, even more personal accusations were made. The type that no one wants to hear directed at them. Uglier still when they came from a member of my own family, because the writer revealed his identity. To say the least these bitter, scathing allegations were a hard pill to swallow when I realized they were the words of a son. My own flesh and blood who, like some of his siblings, apparently have so much disgust and contempt in their hearts they want nothing… zero to do with their father.
After 22 years of marriage I’ve been divorced for more than 13 years. I’ve paid a heavy price because of it. I lost friends and valued relationships that could have stuck it out — through the thick and thin — but they chose otherwise. Pressures and all, took the easy out, didn’t want to make waves, “out of respect,” kicked to the curb; even worse, under the bus. It used to bother me to no end. It doesn’t anymore, because as I often say, life’s too short. It took a while but I’ve put it all behind me. You find out who your friends are. Some among them have made all the difference.
Four years following the divorce I became the father of a daughter out-of-wedlock. I was excommunicated from my church because of it and rightfully so. It is the thing I am the least proud of. Something I deeply regret. Embarrassing is a good word. My son dared me to blog about this. It is, as you might guess, a deeply personal matter, but I made no effort to hide it from those most important to me. Soon after I learned about it I told my kids (the ones who would speak to me) and all my best friends know about my less than honorable and irresponsible behavior. I went to my church authorities and told them. Now I tell you.
Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.
After 13 long years the false, ugly, slanderous accusations still come my way. Those of you that have been the target of lies, half-truths and innuendo can relate to how those tactics makes one feel. How they can be spread, often believed and passed along as fact. There seems no end to having my shortcomings smeared in my face. Even when I’m no longer around there are those who enjoy doing it vicariously.
Some revel in gossip with no thought about its cancerous effect on people, their reputation, lives and relationships. Most of us have been guilty of it at one time or another. But then there are those who thrive in it. They take delight in denigrating others and pointing out their flaws while conspiring to keep secret their own and thinking themselves exempt from consequences. I guess for some, gossip is a lot more fun than reality. That’s okay I’m a big boy. Laugh it up, I can take it.
No one ever gossips about people’s secret virtues. ~~ Bertrand Russell
Before the dust had settled in this latest of a long string of similar events I received a new email from my son. He apologized for what he had written and asked me to accept it. I do. After all it’s not his fault his mind has been polluted by the words of others. He’s as much a victim as I am, but is unable to comprehend it.
I love my kids like any good father does. I’ve apologized and have asked for their forgiveness for not being all they deserve in a dad. I’ve made mistakes, yes. There were things I could have done better, both before and after the divorce. But today I’m comfortable with who I am and my conscience is clear. It’s not that I don’t have regrets. I do.
So maybe I am a loser. Maybe if I admit to you that I’ve been out of work for more than a year, that it’s been an extremely difficult time in my life, the worse ever; perhaps if I reveal that ten years ago I fathered a child outside of marriage, and that I lost my church membership over it, I’ll lose all credibility in your eyes. I suppose if I mention to you the rotten relationship I have with several of my kids you’ll be as disgusted with me as they are. As a result you might no longer want to visit this little corner of the blogosphere. You may no longer want anything to do with me. I understand. I’ll only say, thanks for the time you’ve spent here and wish you well.
I am who I am. I’ve revealed some of the chinks in my armor over the last couple of months in this blog. Some of it tongue-in-cheek. I had planned over time to reveal more. I hadn’t planned to do most of it at one swell swoop. But there you go.