Friday, January 27, 2012

Touch

There is a new television series on FOX that aired this week called “Touch.” It is about a broken man whose wife died in one of the towers on 911 and about their 11-year old son who is autistic. The boy has never spoken a word and lives in a world of numbers he writes incessantly in one notebook after another. He is brilliant and loving but lives isolated inside his mind. His father tries desperately to connect with him.

The first episode reveals that the boy possesses remarkable gifts and through a series of related events is able to influence the destinies of others. In his own limited way he wants so much to include his father in his silent life and make him a partner in his gifts. His father’s love and determination pays off and allows him to understand these gifts and eventually find a way to communicate with him.

I totally bought into the show and to the heroic attempts of this father to connect with his son.

Our children are our greatest personal resources. They are gifts of our love and they need so much from us and in return give us so much. The desire to connect with them is a lifelong process and if we do it right is rewarding beyond description.

I am fortunate to have two amazing sons whom I love with everything in me. They are grown men now busy with their good lives. But we manage to stay connected across the miles through calls and emails and through that sort of mysterious innate relationship of love that forever binds us to our children.

I now also have a granddaughter and a grandson who have become a part of the connection process that resides deep within my heart. Although they live in a distant city I feel their presence with me. I speak to them through the usual phone calls and video messages even though they are small and just forming their ability to communicate. But I want them to know I am here thinking about them, missing and loving them.

I have a daughter too, my 9-year-old princess, who carries the keys to my heart. Watching her grow up nurtures all of those old instincts of love we all hope never fail us.

Actor Johnny Depp has said, “When kids hit 1 year old, it’s like hanging out with a miniature drunk. You have to hold on to them. They bump into things. They laugh and cry. They urinate. They vomit.”

That may be the best description of a 1 year old I have ever seen.

Journeying with our children through all of the stages of their growing up years is a part of both the joy and terror of parenting. Sometimes they don’t make it; and sometimes we don’t. I have friends who have lost a child, and I know children who have lost a parent.

Life’s mysteries often haunt me. One of the things I least understand is the randomness of life and the loss of children to disease, to accident, to the violence and cruelty of damaged parents or to the insanity of war.

Sometimes this miraculous connection we share with our children and they share with us is broken or lost or interrupted in bitter, heart wrenching ways. This is a part of the unfinished business of life. It reminds us of how fragile this whole thing we call life is; and how precious the links to those we love, especially our children, ultimately are.

The autistic boy and his father in the new series “Touch” inwardly and outwardly strain to reach one another. With faltering, agonizing steps, their love reaches far enough to connect. There is so much more for them to know in order to keep the closeness they find.

Isn’t that the way it is for all of us?

© 2012 Timothy Moody

4 comments:

  1. Great words. Like you I have been blessed with my children. The father/son relationship is an amazing thing that gets better each year. Nothing causes me more pride or joy. My heart aches for those who have broken reationships with their children. When I meet the friends of my sons, it saddens me that so many of them have such a terrible relationship with their parents. We definitely live in a broken world.

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  2. Thanks, Terry. Marriage, parenting, relationships, it's all hard work. It can be so rewarding though. But it requires so much from all of us.

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  3. So sensitively put, Tim, about one of life's profound sources of meaning. Reading your essay not only makes me feast this morning at the table of remembrance of my own father, but also occasions thanksgiving for my own wonderful children. Keep writing-- you are good at it.

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  4. I'm so glad you had a great connection of love with your dad, Charlie. My father was a distant man far removed from any of his children. I know he loved us in his own private way. But he lost such an opportunity to connect with some great kids. That made me determined to truly know and love my sons. They are remarkable men. Anyway, so happy for your memories today. Keep cherishing them always.

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