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wear the mask or forgive

The boy was dirty. He smelled bad. He had rolled around in the gutter of life and ate from the trough of despair. He cowered and was skittish. If you could bare to watch him for any length of time, you could see intelligence in his eyes. You could feel the desire to be loved and to love completely. Inside, he knew this wasn’t how he wanted to be but had no idea how to change it. He had grown to believe the taunts and hurtful rantings of others as they walked by, giving a wide birth. He was not worthy. He was a waste. He was slime.

“Oh, you will be a wonderful Christian soldier.” “You are a boy who is a leader.” “Come, and be with me and we will have a picture perfect life.” “If only you could see you as I see you.” Oh, the words she said. They felt good. They rang so different. They felt like someone was actually speaking his language for the first time. It almost didn’t matter what it was she said, he was ready to absorb it all. He felt as the lepers must have felt when Jesus touched them. Finally, someone told him he could be redeemed. All he had to do was become what this girl told him he already was. He wanted to be the person she saw. He wanted to be loved for filling that role. He wanted to see himself through her eyes. He wanted to not have to eat from the trough. He tried to fill the role. He wore a mask of beautiful white because he thought that spoke of the innocence he would need to be a Christian leader in a perfect life. mask3 He tried. He knew he would be unable to fully live up to expectations. He understood that the mask had to be protected and secured into place. Without it, he was not that person and surely would be unlovable. The mask was stifling. The mask burned his face. The mask began to crumble and the boy wanted to let it go. He was resentful at having to wear it. He was afraid of not wearing it. He cried behind it. The mask fell. The woman rejected what she saw and he walked away.

“You are so strong.” “You are so kind, so good.” “I love you so much for who I see.” “If only you could see yourself as I see you.” Oh the words she spoke. Certainly, she must be right. He was strong. It took strength to keep living. He was kind. He wanted desperately to see himself as she saw him. He started out just being himself. She seemed to respond and he was gloriously happy. “I don’t think you need to remember your days of filth.” “I wonder if the language you speak is true.” “I wonder if I see you.” He panicked. He worked harder at being the man she saw. He climbed, he searched, he held secret the pain. He hid behind a new mask. mask2IT was bright colors and fun. He tried to smile to match it. The pain he felt overwhelmed him and he had to drop the mask. He didn’t want to and it took a long time to fully let go. He loved the fun. He loved the woman. He wanted to be the person she saw. He just wasn’t. The mask fell.

“I wish you would see yourself like I do.” “You should be doing your life in this way.” “When you finally figure out the right way to do things, I will love you like you should be loved.” IT had been a long time since he had felt anyone really wanted to be with him. She wanted to make him a better man. She wanted a companion that could live up to the ideals she had created. He had struggled and fought to find out who he was without a mask. He thought he was equipped to be that perfect match. She echoed the sentiment. The mask was utilitarian.mask1 It was slate gray. It had little life, but followed all the rules. It wasn’t comfortable or fun, but it was exactly what he expected. He wore the mask, but his feet kept dancing and he shuffled right out the door.

He moaned that he couldn’t seem to become what anyone wanted. He was just himself. He was hurt and bruised. He ached to love and be loved. He knew the past would haunt him forever. He had made such monumental mistakes that no one would ever see past them. He felt lower than when he wallowed amongst the pigs. He looked to God and yelled, “I wish you could see me as you see me.” He cried.

God whispered back, “No, you don’t and you can’t.”

“Oh great, even God can’t get over my past.”

“No, to see you like I see you is both glorious and heart wrenching. I see your good and your bad. I see your heart and your fear. You don’t want to see the disparity. You don’t want to see the whole. You focus on either the good or the bad, never both. You can’t see you for who you are until you forgive yourself like I do. You won’t ever stop hiding and running behind the next mask until you are able to embrace ALL of you. My wish for you is that I wish you could forgive yourself as I forgive you.”forgiveyourself1

“I can try.”

“Let it happen, it is already there.”

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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in faith, journey, life

 

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up, up, and away

I was a pissy guy yesterday.  I had no idea why. I tried all kinds of remedies to shake myself loose from the torment to no avail. I treated myself to a dirty chai, I lit the firepit and sat outside, I went to a 12 step meeting. I talked to people, I prayed and meditated. Nothing. I woke up this morning with the answer and a hot air balloon analogy and two applications for it. So, instead of choosing, you have to read both.

It was three years ago yesterday that I committed my mistake. IT lead to the dismantling of everything I knew to be. IT would be today that I would be asked to leave my home and kids. I would live in the basement at my brothers’ house for several months. The job would end, the business fail, the marriage erode, and my kids would turn their backs on me all together. I would lose everything I had know to be true. Well, most things. I would lose my family, but I would grow very close to my Dad and younger brother. I would lose my business and career, but gain humility and the understanding I am more than what I do. I would lose many friends, but discover what true friends are. I would lose my identity, but gain an understanding of my perseverance and character.

The first analogy is thinking of the past as a hot air balloon ride. I have been stuck in the past the last few days and forgetting to admire the beauty of the ride. I started the day of the past very early. I unloaded my gear and began the process of checking out the contents. I opened my hot air balloon and spread it out on the grassy field. I put in air and then added life to it with a firey passion. The sand bags of remorse hung over the side of the gondola as the balloon stood up in the air. I strained against the remorse and used more heat, hoping to overcome it. I had left the ropes attached, fearful of letting go. I wanted to be aloft and I feared it at the same time. I held onto the past, making it fit the present. I strained to reduce the passing of time to make it more 2 dimensional. I was holding on and wanting to let go at same time.  I stopped fighting it. I eased on the heat and addressed the fear. The fear was attached to my insecurity, my poor self esteem, my false pride, my ego. I addressed it and thanked each anchor for having kept me safe at some point in my life. I acknowledged its usefulness at that time, and then unhooked the ropes. I lifted each bag of remorsefulness. I looked for the messages of shame and rejected them. I saw in the bags the growth edges and the bags I had already dealt with. Again, I dropped the bags of shame. I kept the bags of stumblings that I could work on.  The balloon soared into the sky. The bright balloon against the blue sky. The dark cranes flew by. The remnant of the moon sinking in the west. It was beautiful for what it was. I let the past drift away, grateful for all of it.

The second analogy that came to me was the balloon as relationship. I have been trying to heal up from a relationship that I messed up. I was afraid, but deeply in love. Truth be known, I will always love her as a memory and person. The balloon of the past has left and I doubt we will cross paths again. It was beautiful for what it was, and I am grateful.

Early in the morning of the relationship, you begin to unfold all the equipment you both have brought. There is excitement and anticipation and some hidden expectations. The anticipation is palpable and electric. You fill the balloon with hot air. The hot air can be the result of the lies issued from the masks we wear or it can be the heat from the passion of true intimacy. It boils down to communication versus contact. I have had relationships of both kinds. I have faked it more often then communicated. I feel relief to be out of the contact variety, I feel regret from the loss of the communication one. I was afraid and misguided in my fear. Either way, as you board the gondola in the relationship, you can either handle the weighty issues and the self imposed limitation ropes with discretion and discernment, or you can throw them overboard and cut the ties with careless abandon. I have tried to discern and deal with them. I did better than I ever had before with the recent relationship, but still tried to ignore some issues without really dealing with them. It lead to a shortened flight and some resentments. The relationship is aloft and it is thrilling . Being present in the moment is the importance at this point. Enjoy it for what it is. Rejoice. As you land, don’t think of the end of the thrill, remember it for the memory of the adventure, the joy. You are still in the relationship even when the balloon is packed away, you are building on the closeness and thrill everyday, even when you don’t float on the clouds. The relationship is the ups and down, the sand bags and ropes, the packing and unpacking. The storing with care, the attention to the beauty in all of it. I will miss that balloon, it was beautiful , thrilling, scary, sometimes painful. The experience and time together was beautiful for all of it.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2015 in divorce, journey, life

 

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intimacy burn

I am an intimacy addict, I think. As I trudged through this time in my life, I have been treated to some introspection. I believe we all have a God Spark. I think we are all given a Spark that set the foundation of who we are. IT is warm and attractive. It glows and seeks to unite with other Sparks. Its job and function is to relate to others, ourselves, and God. As soon as we are able, we start to hide it. IT makes us feel vulnerable to have it exposed. People seek to extinguish it. It is fragile, but real and so we protect it. WE hide it under Shame. We bury it under Hurt. We choke it with Fear. WE escape it with addiction.

I had lost my God Spark. It wasn’t ever out, it cant be, but I couldn’t see it. I didn’t think it existed. I had hid it so well, escaped it so thoroughly, lied about it so completely, I didn’t recognize it anymore. And since it didn’t match what I had lied about, I didn’t respect it when I saw it.

However, the Spark was there, clamoring to relate. It wanted interaction with its true self. I lied about what it was and sought interaction. I wanted intimacy and affection, but had no idea how to get it. MY ex-wife had learned to relate to my mask with her own mask. When I tried to take mine off, I broke the rules of our interaction and the rest is history. I texted women outside my marriage. I rationalized hat it wasn’t physical, but it was still cheating. I have no real excuse except for I just wanted my Spark to feel warm again and I hadn’t learned that I was actively trying to snuff it out by holding onto my Shame and Fear. I had been working on my escapism and didn’t have that defense mechanism anymore, and so was left confronting my heart and soul and mind. I found them freezing to death for lack of the Spark.

I pray for connection. I work on intimacy issues. I avoid addictive relationships. I am learning to be intimate with myself and to really love myself completely. I am up to a strong like.

My prayers were answered in a very different way recently.
I saw what it feels like to learn that someone you love is working on affection to another person. I needed to know how that seems to lessen the honesty of my words.
I felt the pain of knowing that I might not be the last good night or the first good morning. I needed to know that connection to a loose wire is difficult and exhausting.
I understood that I am not more wonderful, but just as wonderful. I need to remind myself that I am not too big or too small. I am just me. We all have a God Spark and mine is one just like everyone else, but also wholly different.
I felt the loss of deep intimacy for a lesser version. Not any less real, but less central to my core. I needed to know that connection is a life force. It is who we are and who we are meant to be. The connection is more important to protect and honor and respect. I needed to know to give it away delicately and with purpose.
I learned I am not special and that I am special. I am not the end all be all, but I am uniquely myself. When I uncover that Spark, I connect very well. I delight in me and in the Spark I share space, time, and warmth with.

I hurt and I am lonely. I am growing. Melt me, Mold me sounds painful, but wait until you experience it. I am tired. I am lost. I have learned a multitude of lessons in the last few years. I am being prepared for something wonderful, I hope. I wont let myself get stuck in a mask tete a tete again. I seek intimacy…true intimacy. With me, With God, and with another.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in journey

 

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hit me with your best shot

hit
I was hit.
On Thanksgiving, in front of family, I was hit.
I haven’t been in any physical confrontation since I was in high school, and that wasn’t really a confrontation. I got dropped.
Once, when I was maybe 10 or 11 years old, there was a girl picking on my little sister. I pushed her down. Her twin brother decided we had to fight. I had never been in a fight before. I didn’t even want to fight. I ran inside. I remember the crowd gathering outside. I left the curtains closed. My Dad was home and said I should go fight. I said I didn’t want to and I was scared. I may have cried. I cried a lot as a kid. He told me I didn’t have to, but if I did, he’d never call me a coward again. (It was years later that I realized he never used that word.) I went out and fought. We hit each other for awhile and then both went home thinking we won the fight. I really didn’t feel like it was worth it.
I am not a tough kid. I was smart and used that to get out of all kind of problems. It didn’t work a few weeks ago.
I went outside to talk. I stayed neutral but determined. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I was hit. It shocked me, but I didn’t react. I didn’t hit back. I didn’t get sarcastic or mean.
MY sister came out and also got hit. IT was awfully Jerry Springer. I promptly took the wheels off my car and moved the washer and dryer outside.
I filed a report after 36 hours. I had no idea how to do that. He was pretty nice and took down all the information. Later he told me that since I was a guy, the DA probably wouldn’t file charges. I asked about the witnesses and the assault on my sister. “Well, things just get out of hand” was the answer. My kids blame me for the incidents. They are allowed to block me on the phones and email. They are refusing to see me or talk to me. The government officials wont protect my rights or even hold her accountable. What the heck?

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2014 in divorce, 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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over it?

I thought I was over it.

I really did. I felt over it. I vocalized the right things. I said I was better off. I knew I couldn’t go back.

I thought I was over it.

I have been reading “Parents are Forever.” I was reading to help improve communication with my ex-wife. In the back of my mind, I really wanted her to just realize how bad the parental alienation is and to stop it. IT backfired a little. I saw some of the stuff I have been doing to stunt my own healing. I have reached out with memories of good times. I have picked fights. I have threatened lawsuits, subtly. I have felt rejected and humiliated. I reacted by fighting back ad retaliating instead of understanding and responding.

The book talks about the stages of grief. I have gotten stuck in bargaining and then depression. I was angry for awhile, but it honestly didn’t make me feel good. My ex is stuck in anger. (oops, that’s mindreading…it appears she is stuck in anger). However, the holding on to memories. The seething at her anger. The reaction instead of responding. Letting her control my emotions and set the tone with my relationship with the girls has held me down from healing.

I am not over it. I ache for my children. I really want to be with them and to be “Dad” again. I have done everything I could. It is time for me to reach acceptance in that relationship as well. They have made a choice I cant change. All I can be is who I am. All I can do is love them the best I can. Maybe, someday, they will come back. If not, I am still me. and I still have to live.

I am not over it. I need to let go of my ex. I need to know that her anger is hers to deal with. I need to lead a separate life in the healthiest way I can. I need to claim my mistakes, name my defects of character, and move on. Yes, it is scary. Yes, I need to do it alone. Yes, God will guide me.

I am not over it…but I will be

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in divorce

 

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God speaks in metaphors

Went on a road ride today. I like mountain biking better. There is just something about cars that freak me out. I had a road bike before and road with a former friend in Farmington. We road down a big hill and I was terrified. The bike felt loose and the front wheel shook. I slowed to a crawl and was disappointed on how long it took to slow down. I traded that bike for new rims and wheels for my mountain bike. I got another one about a year ago. I enjoyed riding on the lonely and empty roads of Colorado on occasion. I have ridden here in Albuquerque along the Bosque. I enjoyed those rides. There are no cars on the Bosque trail.

Today, I road along the street, in traffic. I just didn’t like it. The cars came too close. The wind made me feel unstable. I felt out of control. I had to slow down and regroup. I yelled in my head. I cursed the road bike. I got back on the bike and held on very tight. The front wheel shook. I was even more unstable. I gritted my teeth and held on tighter. The cars passed by. The wind taunted me. I loosened my grip. I giggled at myself. I welcomed the cooling breeze. I finished the ride. Fortunately the last several miles were back on the Bosque trail. I liked that part of the ride.

I think I will stick to the Bosque from now on. At least I will for awhile. I need to be who I am within my means. There is pushing the limits and there is totally abandoning them. I wasn’t ready to ride the roads on a holiday traffic day. I knew it and ignored it.

I want to be able to do that on the ride and in my life. I hold on too tight. I try and control. I get afraid and forget to let God be in control. I wrestle with the handle bars. I shake and quiver. I argue and yell. I want to let God do it. I want to enjoy the ride. I want to laugh and play and grin. I want to enjoy the wind of change. I want to live into each moment that God has given me. And I will. With God’s help.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in faith

 

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