THE ARTIST AND THE ENGINEER

The insights in this curriculum may save your life, as it may have saved mine back in 1963, the year before I was born.  Mom’s chance meeting with “the door mat murderer,” is her remarkable story about facing a bonafide killer stalking into the back of her house. Mom was a living example of all that is good in “finding our power, and learning to use it wisely.” Many saw her as a sheep, but when the wolf was at the door, she showed her true character in facing the wolf to protect her flock as a sheep dog protector.

My parents’ relationship started my journey of learning. Thirty years of hard work and observation helped me build a bridge of understanding between two good people in conflict. I have become a translator between analytical people who think like my dad, and “people-people” who think like my mom. Mom could look into the eyes of a person and tell where they hurt. She had a way of talking with them that honored them where they were in their journey, and make them feel special. Her words would go gently but directly to the places that ached inside them, and she would make them better. I cannot watch The Green Mile and not see my mom in the character John Coffee as he inhales the diseases and afflictions out of people, only to exhale it as little flies or dark matter from his body. My mother found meaning in helping people feel better, and it was my job to help her get the flies out.

Dad understands technical systems exceptionally well. In fact he helped put the man on the moon. He was an Apollo Engineer and holds a special position in history as the lead guidance and navigation engineer for the service module on Apollo 11, the mission which took men to the moon’s surface, and safely brought them home. He can still talk through the schematics from the Thor, Gemini and Apollo Programs, but only now is he beginning to understand the land of human emotion. It has taken him time to learn how to sense human needs and emotion in others, but he has kept learning.

Recognizing that both analytical and human/emotional logic can both be valid,
in their own place and time, is a vital step in our growth as a caring person

When he was young dad did not understand my mom’s “people-person” logic relating to human interaction, and the needs of the human soul. Mom did her best to help him understand, but her smarts about people were driven by instincts and insight, not two dimensional schematics laid out on a table. They were internal guided by feelings, and as such they were hard to explain.

Mom got weary of trying to justify her sincere understanding of how to use your power wisely in the human realm, to my dad who had clearly found his power in the realm of analytical logic. Mom’s insight came from a deep well of knowing, but knowing something is entirely different than being able to explain it verbally – maybe that is why we are all not professors.

What she needed was a willing audience, and someone who loved her for who she was – awesome. In time mom got tired of extruding every feeling through analytical logic, and dad stopped working to try to understand her. Without any judgment on either of my parents, I became aware that when we do not learn, or are unteachable, in time it makes us unreachable, and their marriage ended.

Today, all these years later Dad has become one of my most patient friends, and I am grateful to have him in my life.