I wish I Could Say...(Deseo que pudiera decir...)

November 3, 2019 

Because of leeches, we should always pray.  

I was never a leech growing up. I was once called one. But, I wonder: Do leeches have fathers that exit the home each morning on their way to work? Do leeches thirst for water and affection?  

I wish I could say that I prayed each night for things to be different. I did not. I simply expected, hoped, and longed for a better tomorrow. Walking near a bus stop in the upscale theater district of downtown, I swore one day that I would stand in that briefcase, high-end suit strewed line to go home one day.  

Don’t throw your prayer away, Joshua. I am encouraged by your six days of meditation, learning that strategic planning requires great meditation. And, great meditation wins great battles. Those who pray without ceasing are so rich.  

Back to leeches. Medically, these parasites have value. Per the human metaphor, they do not.  

Certainly, a man who squanders his responsibilities seems to “sponge” off life without a worry in the world. Carefree has seductive qualities. My Battle of Jericho was and is a desire to be anything other than the fatherless kid that did not choose that loveless existence.  

It was a difficult run sucking meat from bones without meat. At six years old, I was a latch key and very self-sufficient. My mother struggled all that time, not bothering to file child support while Dad lived across town in his middle-class existence. Unselfish struggle is the powerful opposite of surrender.    

I was surrounded, not with the constant molding, but I learned from my test-filled surroundings. Life. Come to think of it, life and “lift” are one letter’s difference in the chained alphabet. I learned from the liberating lack of opportunity.  Not every lesson encountered was understood or a good one. These damn leeches are promised to the land, going obediently beyond the skin to annoy.  

The human leech live on the surface as their name would imply. Miraculously, they eventually become fathers, testing even logic’s imagination if it had one. Society often talks about the offspring of a man who does not teach his children to hunt. There is a danger there as they will leave one day only to finally know what they don’t know.    

Today, my eyesight is better than it was, literally and figuratively. Eyesight has power and influence. Influence has legacy, and legacy is baseless without sight.  

Seeing is crucial for being educationally aware. As a father of three, I refuse to be absent. Each day I see my children, I am reminded of the promises broken by a man I never knew but wanted to, a man that seemed to live such a good life while we went without food. I never got to wear his sandals. 

There is a deep void from all that hardship, the South Central LA-ism, and motel nights filled with the voice of a man begging for his life for well over ten minutes before finally dying. In the 8th grade, I skipped school for the first time, trying every year until that point to be the good son who never was one. Irony would have it that the “Bloody Fifth” would be the unlikely redemption place of sorts.  

All I know is I tried to be what I thought my absent father would want me to be. Therefore, I write - about a man who could possibly have been like a best friend, one that chastised me from time to time. Oh, how I looked forward to discipline.  

I had to build that on my own with some help from others. I do not and did not surrender. As a recovering workaholic, I pledge to be there for each of them faithfully, encouragingly…like water. I learned to hunt, drink water, and man up to responsibility, but I never did learn to be a leech.