Life happens and sometimes it is life changing. Sometimes it exceeds anything you’ve ever experienced before. Both of my parents passed away but because of age and failing health those transitions seemed natural and for their sakes timely. Those deaths were hard but “normal” passages of life.
Sometimes things happen that completely change everything. Many times they are described as traumatic because when something really big happens in your life everything you have known is both challenged and changed. Normal is not normal anymore. You are in uncharted waters. You are in a wilderness and finding your own way out. My favorite metaphor is the desert description. It is a time of exploration, learning, listening and living. It is very different but living and life are precious gifts and somehow when big things happen it forces us to slow down and take deeper breaths and process the days and even relationships at a deeper level. When brokenness happens it is not all negative. Sometimes brokenness is what heals our hearts.
I am thankful for my life. I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful to be loved and to love. Every so often I have this sense that slowly and surely God is healing my life and heart from the inside out. It’s as though something deeper than my comprehension is happening and while it may not move as fast as I might think in reality all of life has slowed down so I inhale a little deeper and calmly wait to see what each new day brings. “Slowed down” is a very relative term because I am busier than ever but I think I mean that internally things are slower and more steady. I reflect more. I ponder more. I try really hard to be self-aware and in the moment.
It’s been a journey and I want to say thanks. First of all, I am thankful for my family . . . all of them. Each person in my family is unique and touches my life, challenging me to be a better man, husband and father. Thank you Francene for loving me daily.
I am thankful for people. I know at times in this blog I have grieved the loss of people I thought I was close to or others that have drawn conclusions and lines of division without ever talking to me or us or asking any questions, but this is not about them. This writing is about the people who have been kind, gracious and merciful.
There are some men and women that have loved unconditionally. Not once have i ever taken your love and support as endorsement of things I did wrong or should have done better. I can’t imagine how hard this has been at times but their support and grace never waivers. I struggle here because I want to name names but know if i do I will unintionally leave someone out. So let me try to do this and cover everyone.
My siblings. I know I disappointed you but you have loved beyond my expectations. Your grace, kindness and support, though unmerited has been given freely and with love. Words truly fail me and I can not thank you enough.
The closest of friends that I talk to almost daily. Your availability has been life giving and life saving and that is not being dramatic.
The couples that are always up to hanging out and letting us be a part of your lives
The handful of pastor friends that have never wavered or pulled away but have urged me to follow God out of the brokenness and even given me chances and trusted me to share with their people. They actually treat me as though God really forgives and heals the broken. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The friends that call me and check on me or just to talk about life. Those “normal” conversations are so important and vital to the healing process.
The men that have trusted me with your life stories. I share your hurt and pray for you often.
The people I’ve bumped into in public that don’t run or walk the other way.
The people who extend a hug and a genuine show of care and concern every time I see you.
The hundreds of people who read this blog and have responded with stories of their own or private messages sharing the hurt and brokenness that they have or are experiencing. We are in this together and I am glad to be a part of your life as well.
The people who pray for me . . . those prayers are so important and God is listening.
The people who hit “like” on something I posted on Facebook. As dumb as that may sound there were times early on when I felt pretty isolated and alone and seeing someone acknowledge me in that way was encouraging. This goes beyond the little high we all get when someone hits like. lol In the context of brokenness those “likes” say so much more.
The people who from the first moments I left the church and failed in my marriage sent private messages of hope mostly through Facebook or email. Amazing to go back and read but at the time they were life-sustaining.
The community around me outside the church that has been loving, generous and kind.
The men and women I work with daily who continue to let me be a part of their lives. So thankful for my job and the opportunity.
My dog . . . well he’s not mine. Everybody at the house says he’s their dog but daily he remains happy to see me and that’s worth a lot! He has stayed by my side this morning for the last two hours while I have written and prayed and tried to prepare myself for gathering with the people of God on this Lord’s Day.
Most of all I am thankful for God. He IS the God that doesn’t walk away. He is the God that will turn toward you if you turn toward Him. He is the God that will draw near to you when you draw near to Him. He is the God that will punish you to help you turn back but He puts up with a lot before He goes to that option. He wasn’t shocked and has loved in all the ways He promises to.
That’s just some of the “stuff” I am thankful for. I guess it’s not stuff . . . it’s people. Please know that I am so thankful for you. All of you.