“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.” –Proverbs 25:25 (TNIV)
I’m not precise as to when it began, but I’m very clear as to when it ended.
It’s not easy carrying a burden, especially when it’s a burden you aren’t aware of having carried. I’m certain it wasn’t my fault; how could I have had any responsibility in the matters of my family when I was never intended to be the head? Could any of this in some way have been my doing? Could I have unknowingly, unwillingly wished or willed all of this on us? Perhaps through my own manifestation of who I was to become, I created a world in which everyone else had to exist.
This isn’t folklore or some fairy tale; it’s truly how my life has been. The joyous days spent with my brothers, the love of my grandparents, friends to whom I’m truly indebted because of their love and support. All this love that has surrounded me all my life and yet, there’s always, ALWAYS, been an emptiness—a void that simply couldn’t be filled.
Go on, take the ball. I dazzle one as he approaches quickly, and I spin past him with the ball. The second approaches, and I bounce the ball off of a wall, put a smooth move on him, re-gather the ball, and zip past him. Now there’s but one to conquer. I’m a bit hesitant because I’m not certain I can do this. Suddenly, a burst of energy, and before I’m aware, I’ve made it past him as well. I’ve beaten all three at their own game, and an awareness comes over me that I’ve never felt before. An awareness that says, “It’s not your fault!”
As we retrieve our ball, they gather me to them and say, “you’re great and you did it!” I realize in this moment—they are my brothers, and I’ve been released. The void is filled! It’s not your fault, it’s mine, and you’re welcome! Straight from Him!
4:18a.m.—March 21, 2010
“I am a creature of God, and he has an undoubted right to do with me as seemeth good in his sight. I rejoice that I am in his hand—that he is everywhere present and can protect me in one place as well as in another.” –Ann Hasseltine Judson (1789 – 1826)
“Don’t ever say that to me again!” Not exactly the words a mother would expect to hear from her most beloved son in response to her having said “I love you.” That is, however, how I responded to my mother as she left my father’s house and I stood on the steps watching her go. My parents had divorced and I elected to live with my father while my three brothers left with my mother.
It was done, the collapse of my world that is. In this moment, my three brothers leaving with my mother, I believe I realized that nothing would ever be the same, and I blamed her, so I thought. It’s a strange thing how in a single moment you can take full responsibility for your life and never realize that the moment had just occurred. The thing you realize later is that you never had control for which to take responsibility.
I’d like to share my story with you, but I first want to convey that I’m blessed in this life beyond what one man should or could expect. I have a beautiful wife—you’ll meet her in just a moment—wonderfully supportive friends, and such a strong faith in my God that I’m certain has always been with me. I’d also like to say that I understand this is my story from my perspective. There will be people who have shared in the story with very different perspectives which I appreciate and respect. My story, my life, my perspective.
I’m going to let you in on my little secret before I get started, but you have to promise that you’ll share it with anyone you love or care about. Sometimes I misread things that aren’t what I expected, so let me say again the last portion of the previous sentence. Promise that you’ll share it with anyone you love or care about. Promise? Here goes…the journey my life has taken was never, not for an instant, been a mistake in any way. The heartaches, the joy, the pain of loss, mistakes I’ve made—none of it. Every step taken, every breath I took, every triumph and every failure was meant to be, and it was never my plan nor was I ever in control.
4:18a.m.—March 21, 2010
Key Lime Pie
“Enjoy life with our wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.” –Ecclesiastes 9:9 (TNIV)
She’s leaving tomorrow afternoon to be with her Granny, who’s in the hospital. Granny has had challenges with her heart for some time, and with Amanda’s mother in the Holy Land, she is going to go be with Granny and take care of her.
Amanda, that’s my wife. She is, without doubt, the most beautiful woman God put on earth for me. She’s kind, thoughtful, talented, loving, very supportive and, most importantly, a woman after God’s own heart. I’m quite certain I wouldn’t be telling my story had she not come into it at the planned moment. It’s intriguing at times when we look back at when or where or how something comes to us and why God blesses us the way he does.
“Will you marry me?” The question wasn’t meant to be taken with any measure of sincerity, but I suppose somewhere deep inside, I knew I meant it. I’d never tasted Key lime pie and believed I probably wouldn’t like it, but I’m here to tell you, it was fabulous. That’s when the love affair began.
In March 2005, Amanda and I were working together at an office furnishings company in Cincinnati, Ohio. She had graduated from University of Kentucky in 2004, after which she relocated to Cincinnati having been raised in Bardstown, Kentucky three hours south. I was raised in Cincinnati but had been in San Diego for nearly 19 years and was returning home to find myself at the office furnishings company as Marketing Manager, for which I had little to no experience. As I mentioned earlier, it is intriguing how God blesses us the way he does.
Perhaps the best way to describe our relationship is joyful. Amanda and I bring great joy to one another’s lives while taking tremendous delight in sharing our journey together. We love being together, whether hiking, sitting at home with our dog Bridgette or working on our family budget. It really doesn’t matter what we’re doing as long as it’s together and we’re supporting one another in the attainment of peace and love.
About four years ago, after we’d been married one year, Amanda discovered that I’d not been honest with her regarding finances. I had challenges in my past which kept me a prisoner to debt, and I hadn’t been forthcoming regarding the debt. Upon discovery of this transgression, although upset and disappointed, her reaction was to reach out with love and compassion. We quickly worked through the debt and thereby lifted a tremendous burden from my heart, which allowed me to come to a place of heightened honesty and trust. This was, to date, the greatest gift of grace, love, and compassion I'd ever been given.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” –Ephesians 4:32 (TNIV)
4:18a.m.—March 21, 2010
My story will continue to unfold and I will share more as the weeks and months pass. Thanks for visiting and I hope you've enjoyed the beginning of my story. Have a blessed day!