The Triumph of Will—A Personal Note

This summer has been absolutely amazing for me and my very small family.  Frankly, we did what most would have thought impossible.  We spent a peaceful summer together, interacting with each other every day, spending time together (Father, Mother, and 17 year old son) almost every day.  There was no conflict worth talking about, no lawyers, no serious tension, only a family living together, at least during the daylight and most of the evening hours, going out to dinner and movies and shopping, tending to medical issues both routine (our son’s wisdom teeth) and extraordinary (a scare over kidney abnormalities, which turned out to be pretty much nothing.

For anyone who knows us, or anything about my wife Elena, my son’s and my own history (Charlie was born on August 23, 1992, in Palm Beach, Florida DURING Hurricane Andrew), he or she would know what an amazing thing this terribly ordinary summer really was for us.  PEACE, DETENTE, GETTING TOGETHER, being as near to a family as three people can be whose lives for many years, but especially in some intense episodes during 1995-1998 and again in 2002-2006, was totally dominated by fighting and conflict, lawyers and motions, constitutional issues and above all, separation and tension.

I can only call this a Triumph of Will for me and Charlie because I am not sure how much Elena wanted it, although her mother (Charlie’s maternal Grandmother) Nina seems to like and enjoy it a lot.   It does not appear that Elena and I will ever be back together “as a couple” or anything.  But that is only because of where we sleep and what we do or do not do behind closed doors, which is absolutely nothing.  To our son and the outside world, we appear as a family, planning his first year in college, at St. John’s in Annapolis, Maryland, a school I had considered attending nearly 40 years ago, but turned down in favor of Tulane University in New Orleans.

It has taken me and Charlie four or five years to break down the barriers which the evil Domestic relations system of Texas created in 2002-2005,which I made the subject of several federal lawsuits, and which I still intend to make into a lifetime career for reform.  But my wife has turned to me again for assistance and support.  She has eschewed the lecherous Hungarian scab who has been waiting in the wings all these years for our marriage to finally die.  I asked her not to take money from him anymore, and she has not.  Rather, we have been planning our son’s present and future together.

It is gratifying in the extreme, because I know that my son and I have both wanted this kind of peace and “detente” (one cannot call it an alliance or true reunification, because it is not, but it has been like Nixon’s trip to China, compared to the “cold war” of our divorce and custody battles, which sometimes exploded “hot”, just like the cold war between Communism and the West 1945-1990, which shaped both my childhood in London & Dallas and my wife’s childhood in Athens & Detroit, and every place in between).

These have been years of struggle over identity and ideology, religion and politics, and the right way to raise a young man.  I am happy to say that our son Charlie IV is by far the most intellectually accomplished, cosmopolitan, and well-rounded of any of his peers.  He is an expert in history and several languages, and yet has excelled in science and music.  And now Charlie will attend a college, St. John’s in Annapolis, Founded in 1696 as “King William’s”, that my mother had suggested to me as the greatest remnant of the Mediaeval and Renaissance Education she received at the University of Chicago under Chancellor Robert Maynard Hutchins.  He has a full scholarship (we will pay for his books and insurance, and travel expenses, which all in all add up to plenty, but his first year tuition and housing are covered, and not by loans either).

Somehow, this summer, we buried all our tensions and just worked towards the future.  All three of us talked about Nietszche and Freud, education and class hierarchy, competing political theories, about drugs and other problems facing Charlie and every other American youngster.  We neither reminisced nor recriminated about the past.  It was almost as if the past 15 years had not happened.  Whenever subjects came up which would have inevitably led to discussions, we simply eschewed those subjects.  It was marvelous.

We all see only through a glass darkly, and none of us has the gift of prophecy, but somehow I think we three of the Lincoln Family (Four with Grandma Nina Kourembanas) achieved something of that forgiving, tolerant love which St. Paul defined in 1st Corinthians 13:1.  And we did so IN SPITE of all governmental, legal, and social pressure to the contrary.  Yes indeed, our collective wills to have peace in and among ourselves, at least for this little while when Charlie is about to turn 18 and pass over from childhood to adulthood, have triumphed over all the experts and social planners and sociologists from the Brave New World think tanks who told us all what to do, and whom I particularly chose to ignore.  Just as in First Corinthians, there is Love, but it is neither as simple and earthly as the “Eros” that brought us together as young people and created our son, nor was it as complex and unearthly as the transcendent love of God known as “Agape”, but perhaps THROUGH the power of Agape-motivated human will, Elena and I have achieved, and presented to Charlie the possibility, for himself and for all the futrue that even former enemies could be “brothers and sisters in Christ”, in the love and peace of friends.  It is “OK” for former lovers, former enemies, former litigants, for a long time separated but never quite completely divorced, to settle on an identity of “Philios” (brotherly love).

Of all the Gospels, St. John’s focuses least on the life of Christ and most on the Holy Spirit.  And somehow, although I was Baptized at a Church called St. Thomas in NYC, attended children’s classes at All Saints in London, sang in the Choir at Incarnation & St. Michael’s in Dallas, and was confirmed at All Saints in Beverly Hills (after confirmation classes at St. Thomas in W. Hollywood), and Elena and I were married at what I always called “The Church of Santa Claus” (Hagios Nikolaos) in Athens, “St. John’s” has always been in the background, even aside from my mother’s nostalgia about the resurrection of Mediaeval Learning celebrated at Hutchins’ Chicago in the 1930s and 40s.  When I had first met Elena in 1985, I tried in vain to impress her with my recitation of the Gospel of St. John from memory in the Koine dialect of Biblical Greek.  She said my pronunciation resembled not any Greek she had ever heard in the least, but she recognized it when I wrote it down.  (I had one prizes in High School for my recitation….).   More recently I’ve been involved in some terribly trying times in St. Johns County, Florida, and at the start of my archaeological career, my first study of archaeological ceramics concerned White Mountain Redware and St. John’s Polychrome from the Zuni and Northern Anasazi regions of New Mexico and Arizona during the Chaco and Mesa Verde periods (Pueblo II and III).

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