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am I serious?

Today is my 48th birthday.

I am 8 1/2 years on the road of Happy Destiny.

I am 3 years out of a bad marriage.

I am 6 months into a “do-over” on my career and life.

I am about 3 days into the recognition that I take myself too seriously re-struck its disharmonious chord with me.

I have had a tumultuous few years and have had to start my life all over a few times before I could gain purchase. I even fell in love since the divorce, but was so panicked about loosing it, I lost it.

When I did a week at a counseling center in Arizona, the counselor suggested to me that I was way to serious and had lost touch with my inner child.  I had never been told I was too serious before. It was odd to me. I had lost my smile and the joy in little things. However, I thought I had been getting them back. I had moved and started teaching. I felt like I would be ok even though I was unsure how. This was one of the steps to get a license in Idaho and restart my medical career. Things were looking up. Serious? me? She thought so and suggested I go to Build a Bear and design my inner child.

“Ummm, really?”

“Yes, you need to get in touch with it and you aren’t.”

“I will, but I sort of think its stupid.”

“All the more reason why I think you should.”

Big T

I did. He rides around with me in my car. This is his, “Are you serious?” look.

Still I have been feeling lost and separated from myself for some time now. I am unsettled and lonely. I have gotten stuck in the quicksand of my past. I have screamed and hollered. I have begged and pleaded. I have not moved on. I couldn’t let go of what I knew for the unknown. I was scared of my life and of myself. I didn’t trust me or God. “You just have to know that God is protecting you, you are safe,” she said. “You will be ok,” my old life said.

I forgot to enjoy the present. I forgot to enjoy me in the present. I am not that miserable guy. I like to laugh. I enjoy to have fun and do silly things. I remembered in an unusual way. I set about the task of making my new house my new home. I was dismantling the shoddy shelving the previous owner built and was holding a jigsaw. I dropped it on my wrist and opened a gash in my arm. I stopped the bleeding and started looking for a needle and thread to sew it up. At one point, I looked at the wound and felt faint. I had to lay down. As I regained my composure, I giggled that I was thinking of suturing myself and I cant even look at it without feeling lightheaded. I called a friend to take me to ER, but said to wait about 5 minutes, so I could eat a sandwich. She giggled and said, “Are you serious?” I took pictures of the wound and posted it on Facebook so all could guess on number of sutures. I had fun in the ER, actually.

When I got home, I was going to hang those tennis balls to know how far to pull into the garage. I didn’t have any, but I did have all these Snoopy toys that I couldn’t figure out where I wanted them to go.  So…

snoopy chain

I giggle each time my windshield taps these.  You will notice that I also hung my old kitchen lights in the garage to spruce it up.

I was feeling lighter somehow. I felt like I recognized me. I had begun to trust that I would be ok. I recognized my perseverance. I recognize my character. I felt hope. On Sunday, in the education hour, we talked about Romans 5:3 and Romans 8:28. “From suffering comes perseverance, from perseverance, character, and from character, hope.” I was comforted and felt the hope. So I went to the mall and rode a motorized dog (it looks suspiciously like my inner child, Big T says).

dog ride

I am serious about hope. I am serious about life. I am serious about God. I am serious about hoping to have fun with my life and with my God.

Wanna race?

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in faith, journey, life

 

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precipice

The crowd gathers, staring in the sun, shielding their eyes. They gaze up. Thoughts and emotions vary.

A young man looks worried. He is full of hope. He dreams of a life soaring. Yesterday, he played with Matchbox cars. He dreamt of adventures and a life unknown. He thought of a wife and kids and a job. He dreamt of riches and glory. He never thought of pain or fear or suffering. Even watching now, he couldn’t fathom that.

An old man looks up, not impressed. He has seen the world. He has forgotten the dream of delight. He is jaded. The hurt is deep. The pain severe. He is alone, scared, and sad. He navigates the pain and winces as it surges. He hurt yesterday and will hurt tomorrow. He in uninterested, and yet curious.

A middle age woman yells for the man on the precipice to jump. She is angry and hurt. She ignores the journey. She ignored the crowd, she focuses only on the man and yells, “Jump.”

Surrounding her are kids, desperately trying to get her attention, clamoring. They echo her voice and look at her from an approving glance. They mistake her sneer for a smile. They confuse that with acceptance and love.

There are others: some ignore, some disdain.

The man is on the precipice. Yesterday, he heard the voices and felt the stares. He knew the faces. He remembered living a life in the crowd. He recalled smiling and pretending the fear and voices didn’t hurt.

Today, he remembers the journey. He recalls the ones who helped him climb the mountain. He revels in the sweat and tears. He feels his aches and enjoys them. He listens to the voices from bellow. He weeps at the woman and the kids. The pain returns. Suddenly, he feels the sun. He giggles. He isn’t there to jump. He is there to soar.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2014 in journey, life

 

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Alpha and omega

Its the beginning and the end. Its the Genesis and Revelation. It is the conclusion and orientation.

This is not what I started to write about. I was going to contrast the two church services I went to this week. my fingers seem to have something to say and so I will just let them go . I hope its good.

I have been hitting the reset button for a few years now. In reality I started about 8 years ago. I put down my beer and picked up a new life. It was painful. It was strange and new. There is a scene in Narnia. One of the boys has developed scales all over his body. He meets with Aslan and wants to be freed from his affliction. He is sent to the lake. I imagine he is hoping the water will free him like a baptism. Aslan takes a claw and swipes at the boy. Some of the scales fall. He is in pain and bleeding and Aslan swipes again. And then again. The scales fall away and the boy is freed. He must heal and be clean. The boy is in pain and has to start again. It is the end of the pain of hiding in the scales, dark and hidden. It is the beginning of something new.

8 years ago, Aslan took his swipe. The scales of the bottle fell to the side. I was bloodied and in pain. I wasn’t done. I began to heal. I thought I was clean. 2 years ago, the darkness crept into my life again. I had hidden it behind the healed wounds. I didn’t see it, but I had not let Aslan finish the job with the first swipe. The recognition of my wounds, my scales hurt again. This time I knew I wasn’t done. I had the pain again when friends and family turned away from my bloodied and cold , naked body. I was not done and Aslan swiped again, stripping the trappings of life, my false idols. I was freed from me. Many had left, I had surrendered my career, my business, my life and stood ready to grow and be. I prayed the only honest prayer I know, “Help me.” He did.

I paused frequently. I let myself be lead into strange and unusual situations and careers. I felt the calmness and warmth of the lake. I knew Aslan was with me. When I surrendered for the third time and decided to finally let my career choice go by the wayside, He gave it back. It is a new beginning. It is the end and the beginning.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2014 in faith, journey

 

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2 years and a BB gun

ITs been 2 years. 2 years since I left my house and family. 2 years since I practiced medicine. 2 years since my ex sent a letter to all my family, friends, pastors, and patients detailing what a bad guy I was. Its been 2 years since some of them passed judgment on me and stopped talking to me. Its been 2 years since my kids have said, “Happy Birthday, Dad.” or “Happy Father’s Day.” or even, “I had a good time, thanks.” Its been a long two years.

I had decided this father’s day would look just like the previous ones. My youngest daughter is with me this year for a few weeks over the summer. I had decided it is just the way she needs to heal and to ignore it. We were going to be taking my father to the airport and so had to leave the house a bit early. I got her up and nothing. She was pretty tired, so I ignored it. We ate breakfast and she got ready. Before we left, “Happy Father’s Day.” I stopped in my tracks. I made sure I heard what I thought I heard. My internal workings steamed up with the revelation that she had said it. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, as to not scare her away like a rabbit on the bike trail. I answered, “Thank you very much.” On the way to my Dad’s house, I fought back tears and the urge to explain in painful detail why that meant so much to me. I was able to stifle my impulse but did say, “Thanks again for telling me that, it meant a lot.”

I figured we were done. Later that evening, I went to change into my swimsuit. Next to my bed was a card and a crumpled piece of paper. I opened the card and read it. It was pretty funny and said, “Happy Father’s Day”. The crumpled piece of paper had a ribbon on it. I opened it and found a ghost keychain inside. When you pushed a button it made a sound (I assume it was supposed to be a ghost sound, but it is more of a squeaky wheel) and its eyes lit up. I just sat there. My heart leapt and my face fell.

Ive had some good presents in my day, but this is my Red Ryder BB gun with a thing in the stock that tells time.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in life

 

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flubber-gasted

I have worked the last few months as a short term hire teacher. I have been teaching Math to 8th graders. Their original teacher had to leave for family issues. They had a long term sub that quit when the kids tormented her. They ran off another one. Then an ex marine was there for about a month. She was very strict and did pretty good staying alive. It must have been the training. Then there was me.

About a month or two prior, I decided that my life needed a bit of a kick start. I had crumbled my former life and it lay in ruins about my feet. I had managed to not get crushed by the weight of the walls of Jericho. I had some scrapes and bruises. I learned much about how I had mislaid the bricks that protected me. I saw the flaws in my foundation and structure. I set to work, well I bent to my knees and asked for help from God. I needed to rebuild correctly this time. I needed to grow. I took a job as a school bus driver. It allowed me to stay near my kids, trying desperately to have a relationship with them despite the onslaught of maligning that has taken place. I enjoyed driving the bus. I think I miss that job, actually. Some days, more than others. I decided to apply for a teaching license in Colorado. It seemed to get hung up in the same snags that many of my other tries did. It was going down for the third time when I applied in NM. I was bewildered when the lady on the phone said I would have my license in 3 weeks. I didn’t really believe her, but applied for jobs anyway. I got a call the next week, accepted a job, and started working 3 weeks later!

It has been a glorious adventure. The kids are hyped up and disoriented. Like a blind hound dog on a fox hunt. The have faltered and that has resulted in misbehavior. So, they did what any teenager would do. They tested me. It was pretty funny to see. They would implore for grades, break rules, drink from the wrong fountain, and take their time returning from the bathroom. Sometimes, they would cuss under their breath, other times not under their breath. They didn’t hand in homework. (I asked if they thought, “This will get him”?) They cheated on assignments, and tried to on tests. Sometimes I would bust them, other times I’d ignore it. I told them I didn’t care about the answers as much as getting the process correct. (I didn’t tell them that if the process was right, the answers would be.) I said I wouldn’t grade any papers that didn’t show work. Grades plummeted briefly.

Then I made flubber. I split the class into two teams: red and green, to match the flubber. I made a grid on the floor with tape. Each team had to try and bounce flubber into the grid. Each person got one try to land on the 3×2 foot grid. Then I explained that they had just made a scatter chart with flubber, and showed them the x and y axis of the grid. I placed a stick among the plots and described the line of best fit and the resultant slope. I found the mean and boxed in 50% of the points: 25% above and 25% below the mean. Then extended sticks to encompass the range and explained box and whiskers. At that point, the kids grumbled that they just wanted to play with flubber, not learn….suckers!!

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2014 in journey

 

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cowbell

Today I feel like crying. You know that feeling where you need to sneeze, but it doesn’t happen? That is the feeling I have about crying today. I didn’t sleep well last night and maybe that is it. I am nonplussed about the lack of moral fiber in America, as seen recently in a few colleges. Maybe that’s it. I won’t say it out loud, but I feel ‘small’ again.

I want to live out loud. I want my life to be that hysterical cowbell skit. I want to be able to listen to God telling me, in his best Christopher Walken voice, “I have a fever, and the only cure is more cowbell.” I want my heart, mind, soul to soar. I want to recognize the day and rejoice in it. Instead I “walk around like Charlie Brown, full of hope, eyes to the ground.”

I have been stuck, recently, thinking of what glorious triumphs and adventures I should undertake. I have been creating a scenario of reviving aspects of my life.

Unfortunately, I have been dwelling on the ‘have to’s’. I am tired of suffocating under that weight.
Enough of the preamble. Starting a few years ago, I leaped out of the boat (stepping is for wimps). I was told, by God (yes, I know it sounds crazy), that the life I was leading was not what was intended for me. It was not even really living. He wanted abundance and I chose absence.

Prior to this experience and really for a multitude of my life, I have not enjoyed crowds. I really don’t like parties. I don’t even like dinner parties with people that I don’t know real well. After this leap, I felt like I had to give it another try. It was OK. I certainly didn’t feel the need to run away. However, I was always longing to be back home. I continued to feel the anxiety days before the party. I was just a little better at talking to God about it. After forcing myself to do that for a few years, I became less and less willing to do it. The difference is that I don’t make excuses, I just say I don’t want to go. Really, I just don’t want to worry about it 3 days in advance, and spend the time with my skin crawling.

The problem for me is that I had a family that loves socializing. They get fed by interactions with people, where I get starved. They are rejuvenated, where I am exhausted. The quandary: is there a fair balance? Does everyone’s cowbell have to sound the same? Should I make my gong ring like those around me? Should they have to work around my peccadilloes? Why are there locks on 7/11, they are open 24 hours?

And God spoke, “I need more cowbell.” The humbling, tear-jerking reality for me is that while God speaks, He also whispers, “I need your cowbell.” I feel softly touched and held. Who I am is important to Our Creator. God wants me for me. He wants me to live abundantly as ME. What a beautiful noise.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in journey, Uncategorized

 

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Fall rides

I needed to find you, to ask you questions. I tried, but the noise of life stifled your response. I prepared for my bike ride, thinking of you. I slipped when using my tools and was bleeding from my fingers. I was frustrated, I was in discomfort. I didn’t seem fair.
I finally got underway. I rode the 5 miles on pavement to get to the trail. The air was cold. I pedalled steadily. My knees turned red, my breathing quickened. I was losing my mind in the ride. Despite my bandages, my fingers bled through my gloves. I am only with me. I had glimpses of you. I could see you wanting to hide, but I caught the glances and the longing. I cried some. The sunglasses hid my tears. Any passerby would think I was tearing up from the cold, I figured.
I arrived at the dirt. 20 miles of dirt to meditate. 20 miles to be free. 20 miles. I thought I saw you up ahead. I surged to catch you. I chased you, caught you, even passed you.  I methodically considered you. I thought about what holds you down. I considered your self-imposed condition. I dreamed your dream. My legs cramped. My heart beat. My breathing rapid. I felt your pain. I see you. The more I rode, the more I wanted to be with you. The faster I went, the sooner I wanted to melt into your heart and mind. The miles went quickly. I came, I saw, I conquered. I was ready to let you know, you are what I am going to fight for. You are worthy, and beautiful, and special, and free.
I rode home the 5 miles. I pedaled smoothly and steadily. I cried. I had come to find myself. I had found myself. I miss me. I need me. I want me. I love me. I do like a good ride.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2014 in journey, life

 

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