This time last year my brother and I received the call that our dad had died. He passed at the height of the winter solstice.
We both knew his death was coming—then suddenly it was here...ushering us into a grand initiation of the highest degree.
This is what has come through my heart on this holi-day, this first night of the Jewish festival of lights.
There are many ways for a boy to become a man.
Each sacred, profound, and holy.
For a boy to become a man.
He must lose his father
For some that loss happens before birth
For others, during life.
Some fathers will lose their sons
Sons whose lives were too short to be granted the initiation of loss.
For a boy to become a man he must become a father
Some boys never become a father
Even if they bring a child into this world.
Some sons become fathers
Even without the offspring of their seed
Some sons, still boys, bring life into this world
But never stand erect as father.
To become a man is a privileged initiation
Granted by Grace to some, but not all.
Some are birthed of a void
The void of the father that never was
Loss hardwired into the architecture of ones being
Normal…as the setting sun…as the rising moon.
Other are birthed of a void
Blessed to know nothing
but presence and connection.
To be immersed in a sound bath of frequency
the heart beat of the great father
Manifested as the man who holds you to his chest
Who rocks you to sleep in the great ocean of life.
Who blankets the tender shoots of your being with love
A love as infinite as the darkness of the sky
More abundant than the grains of sand across earth.
To know and feel the hands and heart of the man
Who activated the egg that would become you.
Is a privilege and a gift
Granted to some sons
To be a man...
Who consciously carries the seed of life
Which has the power to materialize the mysteries of the cosmos
As the cosmic child born of the egg of the great mother
In all her beautiful forms
Is a privilege
Granted to some sons.
Boys become fathers, but not all fathers become men.
Not all who lose or have lost are initiated.
Not all who create or will create are initiated.
To be a son is a gift.
To be a father is a privilege.
On this one year anniversary of our dad's death...
I honor the man he was.
and the man he wasn’t.
The man he could have been, but never became.
The boy, the brother, uncle, friend, partner, and father.
I honor his failures and I honor his successes.
The life he lived, the life he wished he lived
The life I wish he lived
I honor his vision, his passion, his unrelenting strength.
I honor his devotion and his piercing prayers.
I honor what he taught me.
Through his words.
and through the words I wish he had spoken.
I honor his storytelling.
The sort that would enthrall you and exhaust you.
I honor what he taught me.
Through his actions.
and his inaction.
I honor his heart
as much of it as I could know.
I honor his love.
Where it fell short.
And where it was more than I knew how to receive.
I honor his unconditional love for us, his sons.
His encouragement and his radical authenticity.
I honor the countless lives he touched
With his smile and his presence
and the lives touched by his absence.
I honor the inner child of Alan Fried.
And hold him close to my heart.
Offering him the love made available to me
Only after this initiation into manhood.
I honor him.
I honor who I am—and who we are
because of who he was—and who he wasn’t.
I honor the ineffable mystery, complexity, and great riddle that was you.
For the countless hats you wore.
Thank you Dad.
For the treasures of your heart.
For teaching me to see
the sacred ceremony of life.
Thank you life.
For the medicine of the cosmic heart.
I cherish and savor the moments of connection
In the space between
What was and what is.
Who you were and who I am.
Who I was and who you are.
This time last year a great soul left this plane.
My teacher departed.
I honor the boys you knew.
And the men you never knew
Until we were born of your death.
We, your sons, honor you.
We, the men, honor you.
We, the fathers, honor you...as son and father.
We, the ancestors, honor the light of your heart within the flame of the candles lit on this night.
We feel you, etched into the pulse of our hearts.
We smile with you during the symphony of the morning birds.
I hear you dad...in the distant echo of the midnight locomotive.
Steaming forth into a new unimagined world.
The world of my young heart.
Your son...Kenneth, Kenny, Ken