Dreams and Amistadt

This, is not a short read.

While I know the original use of this site was to act as a communication hub for our wedding.  A place to let people know some of what is going on, and what went on, I also intended it to be a site about our life after marriage.  About important moments in our life, the thing that make us who we are now, and who we will be tomorrow.

Unfortunately these important things, aren't always happy things.  Sometimes they are very painful pieces of our life, and I am going to talk about one of those right now.

Last night I had dream, I don't remember it very clearly right now, just one small piece of it stands out.  We decided we were going to open a little family owned restaurant, something that we could do as a family, something that could support the family,something that could keep us close, but apparently not something big.  I've always had big plans, wanted to be someone important, and I've wanted that for myself, because I've wanted to be someone my parents can be proud of.  More than doing something that has made them proud of me, I've wanted to be happy, my parents have told me many times that what they really want, is for me to just be happy.  So for me to give up some chance to be a great success in life, to be able to spend that time with my family, is a reflection of that importance of being happy in life being more so than that of being an important, successful person.

I am quite sure my father always believed that I would grow up to be a great person, and I, out of my love for him, have wanted that to be true.  Last night, the person I was talking to about why I would rather open this little restaurant, to be with family, than to push forward and try to be someone great, was my father.  I was telling him, he was not doing well, that at best, he had maybe two years to live.  That I would much rather spend that time being close to him, than to spend any of it, trying to be someone great.  It felt like today, not the past.  For those of you who don't know, my father passed away a little over a year ago.  So for me to have been standing there last night, looking at my dads face, looking in to his eyes, and talking to him, is an incredible gift, a painful gift, but one that I am very thankful to see these days.  I can not in anyway, convey to someone how much I love my father.  How much I miss my father.  How much I wish I could be standing there telling him I had two more years to be with him.

"You Found Me", by The Fray was first released sometime in 2008, and I think I first heard it in 2009, the year my father passed away, before he passed away, and I don't think I truly heard this song until after he passed away.  This song was purchased over 2 million times on the Internet, and has played many times on many of the normal rock stations people listen to.  I heard this remix of some of the best songs of 2009 on the radio before going to bed last night, and it includes a few lines of "You Found Me", one was standing out in my head last night, it's the first few words of the song, and my brain naturally was trying to finish the lyrics, it was, "I found God."  When I woke up this morning to an instant message from a coworker asking me about some problems some systems were having at work, I wasn't thinking about what I was dreaming last night, but this song snippet was still trying to become completed in my head.  After I finished working on the work issue, the lyrics began to complete themselves in my head, and I remembered the first time I heard the song after my father passed on, and what I felt, and I decided to go look at the lyrics again.

Again the lyrics raised very painful feelings, and I knew they were about how I felt after my father passed away.  And then, I started thinking about what I was dreaming last night.  The song is, for some people, just a song.  For others it will mean a lot more, and I think it means the most to anyone who believes in God.  For those of you who don't know, I was raised as a Catholic.  My father was always a Catholic, and my mother became a Catholic to marry my father.  My father was most certainly devout, and God, and Christianity meant very much to him.  I remember when I was young, thinking I wanted to become a priest.  I felt that the connection they had with God was an amazing thing, and I wanted to have that connection, and use it to help people.  As I got older, things changed, interests changed, and my ambitions grew.  I found computers, and started spending a lot of time working with them, working with software, and I found something I could just pour my time in to, and I have not been bored since.  I grew tired of going to church every weekend, and sitting there when I had other things I could be doing, and I had already heard the same things said repeatedly throughout my life. Both my mother and I stopped going to church, but my father did not stop doing so until he was in such a health condition that it became difficult for him to go.  I feel like I let him down by doing this.  But as I told him, I do not need to go to church to have my faith.  That wasn't really good enough for him though, I fear he worried about my soul till the day he passed, and I feel terrible for making him feel that way.

My own feelings about God, and Christianity have been important throughout my life.  I am a deep thinker, and I have thought very hard about things like the universe, how humans became what they are today, what it is to think, to exist.  And throughout all of that thinking I ask what role does God play, and yes, I ask, "Is there a God."  I don't think there is a time in any Christian's life that they ask that question with more conviction than when they loose someone as important to them as my father is to me.  That is exactly what this song is about, questioning God.  The fact that it asks such critical questions about God, and does so in the mainstream where there are believers, non believers, and anti-believers, makes this a controversial song.  To believers it can shake their faith, or help to identify with an already wavering faith.  To non believers it could steer them away from or even toward Christianity.  For anti-believers it could be offensive in that it talks about God in the mainstream, or they can even use it to further spread the notion of there being no God, identifying with the feeling the song brings up, and the lack of help from God it talks about.  It can also represent the loss of faith a person has when they loose something or someone that is so important to them, in not only God, but in themselves, in the world, in life.  I think this song really touches on feelings everyone has at some terrible moment in their life, and the affect it has on their life, and their mind, whether or not God is involved.  Looking at peoples comments about the song, I found so many people finding so many different meaning in the song, and I had to ask myself what the author was really trying to say.

The author did make a statement or two about what it meant, but did not go in to detail about what all of the lines of the song meant.  To paraphrase the author said that the song is about the feelings that someone has in the hardest moments in their life, and the questions it raises, and how it shakes their faith.  He said he imagined God standing on some street alley, just standing there, smoking like a rock star, with no consideration for what was happening in the world.  While I think this imagery represents that dark, angry place we might go when we loose, it does not go as far as the song does in that it does not talk about how those feelings are resolved.  What I really found myself asking is who is talking in the song.  A lot of the lyrics could be the man, or God, and it is not always clear who is saying what.

Below are the lyrics, along with who I think is saying what.  I will put the speaker in *asterisks* and commentary in (parenthesis):

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*Man*
I found God
On the corner of first and Amistad     ( I read that there is a street in Denver, where the artist grew up, )
Where the west was all but won       ( named First Street, and a church named Amistandt on in.)
All alone, smoking his last cigarette   ( Yes, I am 100% sure he means god is smoking a cigarette. )
I Said where you been, he said         ( it's okay, I don't think God will get cancer. )
*God*
 ask anything
*Man*
Where were you?
When everything was falling apart
*God*                                                       ( God is saying he was there waiting for the man to come looking for him )
All my days were spent by the telephone   ( But that the man never even looked until after everything was so bad )
It never rang
And all I needed was a call
That never came
To the corner of first and Amistad

*God*
Lost and insecure    ( When you finally found me, you were already lost and insecure )
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor   ( You were at your lowest point, surrounded by all of your demons )
Surrounded, surrounded
Why’d you have to wait?   ( Why didn't you come to me before this time )
Where were you? Where were you?
Just a little late   ( If you had looked for me sooner, I could have saved you from this pain )
You found me, you found me

*Man*
In the end everyone ends up alone
Losing her, the only one who’s ever known
Who I am, who I’m not, who I want to be
No way to know how long she will be next to me

*God*
Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Surrounded, surrounded
Why’d you have to wait?
Where were you, where were you?
Just a little late
You found me, you found me

( I feel like the conversation is in this dark Alley at night, and now, the Sun is coming up )
Early morning, City breaks
*God*   ( I've been trying to get you to come to me all your life )
I’ve been calling for years and years and years and years
*Man*   ( How many times have I wished God would just give me a well lit neon Sign )
And you never left me no messages
You never send me no letters
You got some kind of nerve, taking all I want

*God*
Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Where were you where were you

*God*
Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lying on the floor
Surrounded, surrounded
Why’d you have to wait?
Where were you, where were you?
Just a little late
You found me, you found me

*God*
Why’d you have to wait?
To find me, to find me
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A year after my father passed, and this song still brings back the same feelings, the same questions.  Even before he passed, there were times when I just felt terrible.  When I was there with him, I wouldn't spend all of my time with him, but I did spends a good amount, and he seemed happy.  When I left, and came to New Jersey I think I took with me his best friend.  Mom was working, Grandma passed away a year after I left.  I feel like he was alone.  I felt like this great man, who loved me so dearly, and wanted nothing of other people than that they be happy, was there alone in the last portion of his life, when he should be surrounded by the ones he loves.  I felt like I was not there for him, when I should have been.  And that I was doing so, to try to do something with my life.  To try to make myself happy, for him.  But there he was, most of the time, just him and his thoughts, he gardens, his home.  It all felt unfair, like I was being unfair.  Leaving him there, while I went to live my life.  I always thought there was going to be a tomorrow.  That there would be a time when I could really go spend some more time with him.  I was sure he would make it to my wedding.  And I lost him, just two months before Janet and I were married.  The disease he died of had been robbing him of his memories, I wonder if he even remembers the last meal he and I sat and talked over, when he was here in Jersey.  He loved it when we would share a meal at McDonalds, just he and I, and discuss things like Life, the Universe, and Everything, and I am not even sure that he remembered that last moment we had, when he passed on.

If I had known, when he was last here, it would be the last time I would see him, I would have spent that entire time by his side.  Talking with him about every last thing he wanted to talk about.  Trying my best to put his face, and his voice in to my memory as I could.  I wish every time I heard he had to go to the hospital for something, I would have dropped everything, took off work, and flown down to be with him.  But every time, I thought he would pull through fine, there would be a tomorrow.  But then, that time, he was okay, and I was booking flights anyway because there was a good chance he would not pull through, and then, then I get a callback, and it's too late.  I can't say another word to him that he will hear.  And to make it all worse, I would have to go watch him die, and be there, and he wouldn't hear me.  I would just have to see what I had lost.  I would have to see him suffer.  It was terrible.

He didn't deserve to die that way.  I couldn't help but feel that none of this fair.  That it was like, he was being punished for bad decisions I made.  That I had the right to demand God give him back to me.  I can not begin to tell you how hard a moment like this is for a person.  How terribly it shakes ones faith, in everything.

But I could not forsake God in this.  If so, more than anything, because of how much my father loved God.  And I would be forsaking my father, to not ask God to be there for him, and for me.  And to not try to find comfort in what God had to say, and to not seek Gods help in this time, would have been against everything my father wanted.  And it did bring me comfort.  And just thinking that I am asking god for help, even now, I feel like, I feel better.  I feel like I can survive.  I feel like looking to Janet, and our life together.  I feel that everything will be as my dad wished for me, if I can focus on my life with her, and on making ours as happy a life as I can.

If there is anything I can get our of this.  It is that I want to spread the word that what one should focus on life is happiness.  For themselves, for others.  That we should hold on to the ones we love.  That we should not let them forget how much we love them.  That we should not loose anytime we can have with the ones we love, because one day it will not be a later.  One day you can no longer say, I am going to be able to really enjoy time with them tomorrow.  One day it is too late.  For everyone this is true, it is not a simple pessimistic notion.  It is not this fleeting idea of just making the most of today, because you could be hit by a car.  But instead, to remember, than car or not, there is one day when time will run out.  And there is no going back.  Nothing left but regret for what you didn't do, and hope for what you will do.

I miss you, and Love you Dad.
And I pray to God, that you are happy in Heaven, and that you will get to watch us all be happy in our lives on Earth.