Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Special Angel, Human Being

Black Bear Diner, Napa, California, USA

March 6, 2020


 Interstate 80 East between Napa, California, and Portland, Oregon, USA 

March 9, 2020

This essay, Special Angel, Human Being, is the ninth in an open group about my son Joshua:
  1. Joshua Is Doing Nothing
  2. Two Human Beings One Heart
  3. You Can't Hold On To A Wriggling Puppy
  4. Joshua Nelson Mongezi  Platt
  5. Source Of Action
  6. The Magical Breakfast Burrito Assembly Line
  7. Return To The Creek
  8. The Magical Breakfast Burrito Assembly Line II
  9. Special Angel, Human Being
  10. Boyne City, October 2023 III: Blonde Boy
in that order.

I am indebted to my son Joshua Nelson Platt who inspired this conversation and contributed material.

Selfie by Joshua Nelson Platt

Napa, California, USA

1:26:34pm PDT March 9, 2020
"Joshua in truck with car on trailer"
This is a BIG  move for him. My darling son Joshua is moving from Napa California to Portland Oregon. He's taking everything  with him. He's rented a U-Haul truck in which he's packing all his worldly belongings. The truck tows a trailer he's also rented, on which he's transporting his car.

A certain bitter-sweetness hangs in the air (ie my  air) as I help him pack, carrying endless boxes from his house into the truck's ample storage cabin. The mere fact that he's set this all up by himself and is executing his plan as if he's done it hundreds of times before, demonstrates I got more than a few things right raising him. His humanity crackles with an angelic flare as he works.

That's the sweet of the bitter-sweet. And the fact that his independent ability to run his own life well, now leads him to leave, is the bitter of the bitter-sweet. This I suppose is the paradox every parent confronts at some time or other in their relationship with their children: if you get your job done well while they're with you, they (the people you love most in the world) will leave. Ouch!

On a whim while stacking boxes, a bicycle, and tool sets inter-alia with Tetris-like precision, I ask him "Hey, why don't I drive to Portland with you? I'll follow you. We'll park my car in long-term parking at Sacramento airport, then share driving to Portland, then I'll fly back to Sacramento?". There's a pause. It's clear he wasn't expecting this (neither was I, for that matter). Then he says, "That would be great  Dad. We can have a father-and-son  road trip together, and talk a lot.".

I'll take a shot at recreating what comes forth in the conversation as we drive. Even if I skip all the minutiae and detail, the fact that it happened at all is valuable if not stunning. I'm clear that if people could be fully present to everything he and I experienced, it would bring forth entirely new worlds of possibility for family specifically, and for relationships in general, for everyone. As he drives with a steady hand, he asks about things which happened in the past (our  past), interactions which were cast into to the background, the kinds of incidents people are reluctant to talk about - yet undiscussed, they fester. He brings withholds and perpetrations out into the open and holds them up to the light. He does it in a way that not only clears up what wasn't clear. He does it in a way that allows new, total transparency between us.

As a result, unclear buried incidents in our relationship, become totally clear, understandable, gotten. We postulate "going back in time" (so to speak) to an era before things got confused, and then projecting forward from there, into the future from a different angle, by-passing (if you will) any confusion ahead, thereby living into another possible future which has no confusion. It's tangible. We can taste it. It's fabulous. The miles and hours fly by as if we're standing still, going nowhere, taking our time, just talking until there's no longer anything in the way between us, no hidden agendas, no dark spots. It's all completely transparent. It's all out in the open.

Something happens when two or more human beings openly face each other and speak until there's nothing in the way and nothing held back. At one time in my life I would've called the way that works "mysterious". These days I call it miraculous. It's really no mystery at all. The thing is it's got very little to do with what's actually said ie with what's spoken (although that's the conduit via which it travels) and it's got everything  to do with the experience of being human, face to face  with and fully present to another human being. It's an experience which lets those present experience who they really are, while experiencing who all  human beings really are.

Being present to this experience with anyone is nothing short of a privilege for me. Being present to it with my own boy is simply profound, miraculous, life-affirming.

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