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mentor this

I searched for a mentor for a long time. I thought I had to. I relied on my faulty impressions and thoughts for a long time. I took bits and pieces from men I admired and made an amalgam. It seemed to work for quite awhile. The best thing is when you stick all those bits together, like bits of soap left in the shower, you can easily discard portions as needed or outgrown. The hook was that when I tried to imagine what my mentor creation would do in a situation, it was difficult. I navigated through life that way for a long time. I went to college, medical school, got married, had kids, and started a career all with Frankenstein’s monster as my chosen mentor. I lurched through life thinking I was doing a good job living.

I found myself in search again after I realized I was not God. It sounds silly, but for me a difficult task. I had to admit to my innermost self that the only difference between God and myself is that God doesn’t spend all day pretending he is me. When humility started to devolve into humiliation, I searched again. I thought I found a mentor. He was my pastor and friend. We talked a lot. We joked. We mused. We shared ideas and learned from each other. It was a challenging and yet accepting relationship. We shared deep heart issues.

The mistake I made was seeing him as an expression of God, rather than reflection. I felt like he demonstrated the unconditional love Jesus speaks about. His mistake was seeing me as a task, as a project. When my life blew up, I asked to talk with him. He and his wife had met with me ex-wife and she diagnosed me with behavioral complexes. She spoke of the danger of being near me or having the kids near me. He said nothing in my defense. I asked to meet with him to talk face to face. He was removed and cold. I asked him why and his answer was that he was angry. I asked what right he had to be angry with me and there was no answer.

I have left that church and not talked with him since. I lost a pastor, a religion, a mentor, and a friend. My faith is intact and I believe in God. I adopted Ghandhi’s quote, “I like this Christ, its His followers I can do without.” It is my fault, I confused mentor with example. I confused relationship with hierarchy.

The other day, I realized that I am guilty of the same thing, conditional love. I am holding on to the anger and disappointment. Frankenstein’s monster says I need to name my error, claim it, and let it go. He grunts that I need to forgive him and me. Working on it!

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in faith, journey, life

 

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the name game

“Do you have a name picked out?” I asked the future first time parents. I really didn’t think it would be an awkward question. I had asked countless expectant mothers the same question, but there was a pause I didn’t understand. I looked from face to face as the silence roared.

“Yes.” they answered in unison. They looked at me expectantly. I still didn’t understand.

“OK.” I said and laughed a little too strongly.

“We just can’t tell you.”

“OK”

“The Native American culture has a ritual that they tell their child their name before they can tell anyone else.”

“Sounds neat, but you are from Minnesota.” I joked a little too strongly. “What made you decide to adopt that ritual, what’s it mean to you?” I asked, a little too curious to not ask.

“The idea is that how you are named affects who you will be. The name should be accepted by the baby before it is to become their label and anchor for a lifetime. Whispering the baby’s name to them allows for the first contact between us and this new baby to be us offering a life and name with us before we have created any life for them with other people.”

That was years ago and I can still remember the feeling when they told me that and the feeling when their baby was born. (I can’t remember the name, however.) The feeling of tingles and excitement for this baby still are palpable. I really loved the idea that this child would be given a name all his own from loving and adoring parents. The name had not been shared with anyone until the moment the child received it all in a whisper.

My girls and ex wife will never know that I held each of my children in the next few days. I read them a book and laid with them until they fell asleep. As they breathed heavily and rhythmically, I whispered their name and what I saw in them that soared. Both times, I cried. My ex will never know that I woke up in the middle of the night a few nights later. I looked at her and whispered her name. I whispered the things I saw in her as well. Truthfully, one of the things I whispered was, “Forgiveness.” Another was “willingness to grow.”

When I remembered this a few weeks ago, I understood how someone would not receive their name.

I think we are named over and over again in our lives. I think there is the birth name. That name can indeed shape some of who you are. We live into that name through our childhood. It becomes an identity. As we receive it while we grow from infant to toddler. I think friends give us a name as well. Usually “Booger Head,” or something. We get names based on our personality and behavior. Some are named athlete, or brain, or crybaby. We accept them as social order as kids. We grow and get names such as “party animal”, “jokester”, or “hippee”. Sometimes spouse or parent becomes our name. We can accept or deny our names. Sometimes, painfully, we can change our names.

There is a time that we are at a crossroads. Sooner or later, everyone is there. It is rock bottom for the alcoholic. It is turmoil for the disciplined. It is an illness, it is a childbirth, it is even the first job. We reach a moment that we are childlike again. We believe as a child once again. The world implodes, we are at once afraid and comforted. We lie in bed, covers over our head, relieved and terrified. Its at that moment that God whispers our name. The name varies, but always means the same, “Beloved.”

Iamnamed

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2013 in divorce, faith

 

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cage match!

The fighters had met before. The are often at odds. They know they need each other, but just cant seem to agree on much. One fighter is clad in all gray. He is older and has wrinkles that seem to plunge into the depths. He is logical, calculating, predictable. However, he has no intuition, no emotion. He is antisocial and really is as likely to fight as run away.

The other fighter is dressed in loose red garments. The wind rustles the clothes and they seem to pulsate. His cheeks are always flushed. He is angry, or excited, or impassioned–no one really knows. When asked why he is flushed, he rarely has an answer. He is young and impulsive.

The fighters circle. The stare at each other. They remember the alternating times of partnership and adversaries. The smile at each other. They begin the battle. They fight, they push and shove, they bite and claw. They want nothing more than to be independent of each other. The battle wages for days. They collapse into each other, panting. They know they can never be totally separate and have come to realize they are never fully alive and real without each other. The one benefits the other. Together they are a whole.

The fighters were my head and heart. I have repeatedly tried to separate them. I tried to live by rational thought alone. I tried to protect my heart with logical and predictable thought. And while there is safety in knowledge, there is no passion. I also have tried to follow my heart, to feel the wide range of emotions. The risk is a broken heart. The flushing of pain.

I arranged the arena. I went to referee and let my head and heart battle. I want to be whole. I want to live connected with myself, my God, and my life. To do that, I need head and heart. My retreat had a secret agenda. I would let them fight to see the strengths of the other. I would let one explore the others’ being. I would let them grow to appreciate the fellowship of the other.

The fighters left: arm in arm.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in journey, life

 

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no hope for a better past.

Divorced.

I am divorced. Its kind of weird to say. I was a married man with 2 kids, a job, a business, a house, and 3 cars. I was respected and had a pretty wide circle of friends. Not anymore, I am divorced.

I was a married man for 20 years. I am not a great person to be married to. I have issues. It sounds like I am being self-deprecating. I really am not. Now that I am divorced and dating some, I hope to never meet someone just like me. I am thinking about putting a statement on the dating websites stating that if we are a perfect match, I really don’t want to meet you. The difference between me as a married man and a single guy is the willingness to change. I allowed myself to be frozen into a picture of a perfect family and perfect person for 20 years. I even drank enough that it could be called self-embalming. I was pickled. And now I am growing into a gerkin. The great thing about pickle juice is that the salt and vinegar kill so many things. It killed the hurt, the emotion, and the ambition to change. The problem for leaving the pickle juice behind is that it stops killing you. You feel that hurt, the emotions, and want to live again. My ex-wife liked me pickled better, I was more consistent.

I have been a father of two wonderful girls for 16 years (so far). Does anyone have any clue how to do this? I am not so sure I really understand the parental role. There was a time that my expectation was to just change an occasional diaper, speak in baby talk, and do the night time feeding. Then they suddenly stopped sleeping 20 hours a day. It went downhill after that. I tried to keep up but really hadn’t paid attention to potential role models. When we divorced, the girls got pummeled by the shrapnel that seems to always go along with divorce. MY worst parenting mistakes have to do with divorcing their mother. I delivered babies. I have seen 100’s born. It looks like it hurts. Being reborn also hurts. But I think watching rebirth hurts all those people around you worse. It hurt my ex-wife and my kids. They still hurt.

I had a job and business. My rebirth went reasonably well. I had a birth defect, however. I didn’t see my need to be validated. I didn’t see my intimacy issues. I didn’t understand that I was me regardless of what others said I was. I missed the seminar on self-esteem. Well, birth defects can create some big problems later. Mine did. I responded out of the defect, out of a dead area, rather than from the new being. It resulted in the loss of my business and career choice. I tried to stop the hemorrhage. I was unable to do that and my life bled to death, slowly.

I had friends. I thought that the people saying they liked me and wanted to be around me liked me for me. I figured it was normal to do things for your friends. I enjoyed helping with appointments, medications, diagnosis, and opinions. I was doing it for a friend. The largest mistake I made was not betting on the mad sprint away from me when the divorce happened. It was faster than the speed of judgment. I was impressed with the biblical knowledge and quoting as people climbed the wall to get away from me.

I am alive. I was never a positive person. However, I don’t want to be called a pessimist, so I go by cynic. Somehow, that feels better. My rebirth must have had some positivity transfused through the umbilical cord. The realization as I stood in my brother’s basement, without a family, a job, and a career was that I am meeting the core me. I have been given the gift of a do-over. My life is a do-over. I say again, does anyone know how to do this?

I have friends. It was amazing. Some people came out of the woodwork. I was introduced to true friendship. I found out that there are people who will be honest and supportive. They told me how I messed up but they would sit with me through this. I was gifted a Silas partner. I met Barnabas.

I am a school bus driver. Yes, it kinda sucks. I feel lost and underemployed. I learned humility. I have restarted and learned that I don’t quit. It isn’t my final career, but it is a start. I will get there. Do-overs aren’t always easy, apparently.

I see my girls as often as I can. I go to events and concerts. I ask questions about what they are doing. I can hardly wait to see them. I rejoice at their laughter. I say, “I Love You.” I am engaged. I am still not an award winning father, but I am tons better dad than I was 10 years ago. I hope they can forgive me.

I have dated. I have met several women. I have met fantastic people who have changed my life. I am enamored by one woman who is wanting to grow. She is not afraid of learning about her heart. She is courageous, smart, beautiful, broken and healing, open, and mysterious. I wont let myself be a zombie in this life ever again. Surrounding myself with people like that will help me be un-undead.

God found me. I wondered around lost for decades. I blew up my life. I changed. I traded a 2 dimensional vending machine God for a relationship with a caring, loving God. I have abandoned all hope of a better past and remind myself to take one step at a time.

Live alive.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2013 in divorce, journey

 

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