Tag Archives: teaching

scarecrow, courage, and the red brick road

KABOOM. My own personal Big Bang was when one world ended and new one began. I am almost 3 years into a new life circumstances. I lit the fuse on the bomb that would catapult me into a new dimension. It did not disappoint. KABOOM describes it pretty well. My wife was gone, my kids would be assaulted with the shrapnel and would eventually need to shield themselves from the pain and reject me. My business would be assumed by my ex-wife. My career would end, I would be moving 7 times in the next three years in three different states. When I went and had my taxes done this year, the tax person said, “Wow this is going to be complicated.” I would be lonely, isolated, scared, scarred, in love, in fear, accepted, and rejected.

One person described my journey as akin to Job in the Bible. I don’t remember the pox, but the other stuff seems to have metaphorical equivalents. However, I prefer to think of it as I am Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Well, Dorothy with facial hair and negative self talk.

I had run away from home. I felt unloved and a loss of intimacy. I had never learned to ask for what I needed. I didn’t know how to restore the intimacy. I tried “The Love Dare,” counseling, and even marriage retreats. It didn’t work, but in all honesty, it was too late. I had been away for a long time. I had started to change for the better. I was actively working on my journey, my connection to God, and keeping my side of the street clean. It was supported in words, but not in action. I didn’t want to go back to the old me and walked the journey alone. I was told the storm was coming. I couldn’t make it home, and the journey ahead was daunting.

My house began to shake, the windows begin to twitch, the sands began to shift. Woosh. I was flung into a new world. I hung out with one group of munchkins that cleaned the royal carriage, but in my world they looked like golf carts. The lollipop guild and I took breaks together as I drove a school bus. We skipped along a path as I taught math.

I ignored how comfortable I was around the Scarecrow. I will miss the Scarecrow most of all. She walked shoulder to shoulder with me for a long time. I slid into the victim role and wanted her to solve my problems. I let the flying monkeys rip her to shreds. I then needed her to save me from the witches tower. And then I followed the Red trail instead of the Golden one and left. I wish the tornado would work backward.

The difference from my story and Dorothy’s (besides the obvious…monkeys cant fly) is that I can’t go home again. Things wont ever be the same. My journey seems to be unidirectional. I wouldn’t go back to that life anyway. I am thankful for the tornado. I have hurt a lot, but I am a much better person. I have been given a brain, a heart, and courage. The Wizard paid in spades. I will always be thankful and remorseful over leaving my companions on the other side of the rainbow.

I miss the Scarecrow most of all.

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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in journey


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I left

I left.

I was flipping through channels recently. I stumbled on “Ghost of Girlfriends Past.” Its a cheesy movie about a cheesy guy getting a glimpse through the holes of his cheese as he relives the experiences that shaped his journey in adult relationships. It was disturbing. I watched as life shaped a distorted view of love for the hero. I watched him react to pain, hurt, insecurity in the only way he knew how and it served to hurt him worse. He grew up to be a player. He drank to escape. He was crude. He slept around solely for physical gratification. He pretended to be on top of the world, he was miserable.

I flashed on my life of dating. There was a girl in 4th grade. I will call her Cheryl Lopez. In fourth grade we guys would bend our legs and walk around squatted down. We would say we were kids and hold hands with girls and call them mom. It was a way to hold hands with girls. It worked. I never got to date or kiss Cheryl. I was placed firmly in the friend zone. In a few years, she would be popular and date only jocks (I was a round kid). I think that instead of thinking about that as a success, ie I had made a friend that I would talk to for decades after that, occasionally. I thought of it as a failure. I thought I wasn’t good enough, or macho enough, or manly enough to be of interest to her.

There was another girl, I will call her Sherie. I got up the nerve to ask Sherie to be my girlfriend. I walked over to her house and hung out for hours with her and her friend. I wanted to finally get to kiss a girl. I never asked, I never tried. When I got home, she called and said her friend thought I wanted a kiss. She said I could come back. I was embarrassed. She asked why I didn’t ask. I felt stupid. I didn’t go back. Instead of learning to be direct and open about what I was feeling or my needs, I learned that my hopes and desires were embarrassing and shameful.

In middle school, I was attracted to two girls at same time. I had been ‘going out’ with Vickie (not her name) for a whole week. She would kiss, but that is all. I thought I was supposed to deserve more and when Wanda suggested she did more, I went with her. Problem was, I didn’t tell Vickie. I wanted to be liked. Instead of learning to follow my heart and not my boy parts, I learned to ‘cover my six.” I learned deceit. I learned to hide.

In high school, Tracy broke my heart. We dated for quite awhile. She was returning to her home town for Spring Break. She broke up with me just in case this cute guy from a year before would ask her out. I learned I was not worthy of sticking fast too.

In college, Tammy said she had to keep me a secret from her parents because they liked her ex boyfriend so much. When I finally met the parents, she ridiculed me for not being outgoing and enthusiastic about her brothers basketball game. I learned that I was worthy of being ashamed about and I was not good enough.

I got married. We hid our disagreements. I escaped into alcohol. When I tried to stop escaping, I was rejected. There was no time and no desire to work on learning to relate. I learned I wasn’t worthy of hard work. I learned that my opinions and feelings were unsatisfactory. I learned I was bad and wrong. I reacted to that and proved it to be true.

I am scared of what I learned. I am fighting my false teachings. I want to learn love. I want to receive and give it. I want to be who my heart says I am. I want to rejoice in love, in God, in life. I want to be all of me and have that be enough—not for someone else, but enough for me.

In the movie, the love of his life asks him to choose, “Stay and stay forever where you want to be, or leave and leave forever.” HE left. I left. I want to stop leaving who I am and be very real.

I am Spartacus.

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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in divorce, faith


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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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new life, old life, red life, blue

I have been starting a new life the last few weeks. It was a very rapid delivery. My life didn’t really know it was pregnant. It has been barren for almost 2 years. It had become accustomed to the forced sterility. It had a choice…continue to whither or start to transform. Seems like an easy choice, but whithering was attractive because of its comfort and security. Transformation takes energy, an allusive and expensive commodity.

Out of necessity, or design, the path became a day by day adventure. IT wasn’t about suddenly being an infant and running into adulthood. It was about slowly maturing. It was about letting the maturation slowly happen. I applied for jobs, took classes, prayed. I continued to get up every morning. I tried and tried. I grieved my lost life. I alternatively, held on tight and let go. The dying life struggled to stay alive. It screamed.

As it died, a new life is brewing. I was unaware of the new life growing. I pleaded for it, I clamored for it. I felt betrayed and forgotten. I kept trying. I accepted the death of my former life. I grieved and tried to let it go. As it became less and less important to my identity, things began to happen. I chose a new life in a different state. The cervix of my womb opened slightly. I applied for a license and a job. Both happened very rapidly. The cervix opened without contractions. I traveled to start the new job. I was born into this life suddenly. I stared at the light bewildered by its brightness. I fought for breath. I fought for a heart beat. I was cold and lost.

As in life, the new life demanded me to rapidly grow up. I needed to walk. I needed to learn to talk. I needed to learn to run. People demanded I grow up. People demanded I know. I was tempted to fake it. I was tempted to grow up too fast.

I let myself stumble. I let myself not know. I let myself learn. I had fun.

I don’t know if I will like my new career. I have no idea what I am doing. However, I really like ME in this new life. Patient and kind. I like ME growing and learning. What an adventure!


Posted by on April 15, 2014 in journey, life


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