Today I am celebrating the birth of my son from this side of razor wire. It is the fourteenth year that we have celebrated in this way. Is my sadness caused by the fact that my son is in prison? Yes. It is not the residence I had envisioned for my son. Is my sadness caused because in fourteen years we have not been able to find the key to unlock those prison doors for him? Yes of course. Even greater than these is the profound sadness that comes from being unable to spend time with the man my son has become. I have a finite number of days on this earth and to miss the opportunity to interact with this person I call my son is painful. He has grown from the naive boy with misplaced loyalty to "friends" who betrayed him for personal gain, into a man of wisdom and maturity and compassion. A seemingly impossible feat given his circumstance. To spend time sitting on the patio discussing the world; or to playfully tease and razz each other; or to work again side by side are in my imagination today.
It also causes me to wrestle with larger philosophical questions. What is accountability? What is equitable punishment? How do we mend the anger and venomous actions in our world? Are we best served by locking up a thief or are we better served by causing the thief to repay what he has stolen? The measure for measure concept (the old school version was eye for an eye) would cause the thief to return what he had stolen and one fifth more to repay the distress/loss that he caused. Does prison serve that purpose? What is prison for? Is it strictly for punishment or vengeance upon the wrongdoer? Is that healthy? Is that productive? And the even greater question, does it restore health and elevate the community?
There is hardly a place in the media today that is not speaking of violence, hatred, destruction, division and these sources are trying its best to perpetuate this destructive vitriol. Why are we so angry? What are we railing against and to what end? Why are we so divided? The answer, it seems to me, is simple. We have lost our foundation, we have lost our moral compass and we need truth. Real honest truth and not the partial truths that come from justifications perpetrated on us by those with an agenda seeking to empower their cause. This is the very reason that I wrestle with the questions stated above.
Jonny is a very good artist. We both admire the great artists of history. One of those artist's style portrays the evolution we need to achieve as people. Georges Seurat is famous for the painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" His particular style is based on his scientific understanding of light and color. He meticulously created this painting with points or "dots" of color that created each image. I had the honor of viewing this work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The shear size (7 feet by 10 feet) overwhelms you. When you stand close to the painting you can see the tiny points of color that create the shades, light and hues of color that eventually create the entire scene. We as human beings are the same as those tiny points of light and color, each meticulously placed in accordance to the rest to create an amazing canvas and image. Remove one point, darken one point and the image is marred, the landscape is corrupted. We are struggling to find a way to create an amazing canvas with all the different dots of light and color. For now our canvas is a mess but maybe one day it will be an amazing portrait of grace and beauty.
In the meantime, I sit on this side of the razor wire, most of the dots on my canvas in place, but with an entire section left dark. Happy birthday son. I love you and I am proud of you.
Follow this link to Jonny's Etsy Art Shop