Father and Son

Father and Son - Cat Stevens

Father and Son - Cat Stevens

It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to know

One of my favorite pop lyrics is Cat Stevens’ Father and Son (1970). “You’re still young, that’s your fault.” It’s the kind of line you struggle against: “How can it be my fault?” The older I get, the more I understand. I realize that youth was, and still is, my fault.

Being young is not a choice – it’s how we come into the world. But remaining there is certainly our fault. Maturity, the process of growing out of youth, is a choice.

One night, when I was 18 years old, I stayed out until 3 AM with a woman after being told not to.  I opened the front door and there was Mike Larson, the man who’d consented to be my father for a time.  He was sitting in front of the door, in his bathrobe and slippers.  He was wide awake; I don’t remember a book in his hands.

“I don’t understand you, but I love you.”

That’s all he said. Then he hugged me, and went upstairs to bed.

I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy
To be calm when you’ve found something going on
But take your time, think a lot
Why, think of everything you’ve got
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not

“Think a lot.” Don’t be governed by emotion.

“Think of everything you’ve got.”  My hormones raged, but I knew I was blessed.  I had a home, plenty to eat, and someone who waited up for me in bathrobe and slippers.

All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it
If they were right, I’d agree, but it’s them they know not me
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away

And so I left. I moved out of Mike’s house. (I was young; it was my fault.)

But Mike stayed with me, bathrobe and slippers, sitting somewhere between my head and the door to my heart.

“Just relax, take it easy.”

He’s still there.

Chris and Mike