Monday, April 26, 2010

Anthony in all his innocence

I often look at this picture and ask, was I happy, sad, or just shocked that somebody was taking my picture? My scrunched forehead, a facial expression that I would exhibit well into adulthood, seems to forecast a storm on the horizon. 

This picture captures a sunny day in the Savannah in Trinidad with my parents, months before they would create a geographical chasm within our family. But at that moment, on that day, in the midst of riding my beloved tricycle, I was looking through the lens at the eye of someone I trusted to be there and would eventually break that trust.

It is the same look of confidence at the consistency of a parent’s presence that I see in the eyes of my children. And I could fathom no reason that could stretch my imagination to trample in that confidence. But that is now. Only God and my parents know what pressures existed that led to the decision to create a barrel child.

I often think how life may have been different for that young boy in the picture if my parents had decided to tough it out in Trinidad or bring us with them to the U.S. Would the pressure they were under in Trinidad resulted in a vastly different outcome? Would the challenges of raising two small children in the U.S. during the 70’s prove overwhelming? I do not deny that my current social address is a blessed one. And that crying over spilled milk often denies you the pleasure of enjoying a new freshly poured glass. Still, the tug of enhancing the relationship with oneself becomes increasingly strong as one gets older. On occasions that tug is undeniable and can be as palpable as a lingering migraine.

Although that niggling tug can be anxiety filled, its immediacy can be dampened by focusing on the here and now. For everyday blessings have their own way of acting like aspirin or Xanax. However, the years between when this picture was taken and now, is a landscape that warrants investigation. The experiences, context, and decisions beg the question – Why and for what reasons? Like a child being told “you can’t go out to play with your friends right now?” - I want to know why and for what reasons.

So this journey for understanding and clarity continues. It is my quest to know how past decisions beyond my control have shaped me into who I am today. It is looking at this picture and asking "where will your journey take you young boy?" It is looking into the eyes of that young boy and seeing his scrunched face say “I certainly will tell you later!”

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