I’ve Been Away

I have not had the desire to write for many months.

That doesn’t mean I have had no desire to express myself.

I have found a new form of expression.

It is quiet.

It is without definition.

I will just show you.

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A Moment

I want peace.

I think, above all else  . . . peace.

Joy, love, understanding . . . yes.

But peace just sounds so sweet.

Like a long deep breath, and an equally long exhale.

It is that moment, just before you draw the next breath.

That is where it is.

There, is peace.

Brief . . . Bathing . . . Fleeting.

Engulfing.

Peace.

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Peace

Don’t look into the pile, the heap of refuse.  It is where all things wasteful die.  Mourning, sorrow and defeat are chained there.

Look only to the meadow, where the wind is light, and the wild flowers and tall grasses sway.  Open your hands and walk slowly.  Let the grasses brush you.

Close your eyes and breathe deeply.  Raise your face into the sunshine.

In the meadow is peace.

 

 

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It Doesn’t End Here.

It was about this time last year that my life took a turn I never thought possible.  I am experiencing my world now as a 46-year-old single man, and I’m learning so many different things, that I often have a thought to sit down and write them down, and just as often, I don’t do it.  I say to myself, that I don’t want to spill all of my personal drama to the many masses that read this grand blog, for they may not want to return . . . and then what would I do?  All of my advertising income and endorsement deals, would surely float away into cyber space.  Right?  Well, I definitely don’t want to lose any of that cold hard (imaginary) cash that’s rolling up in here, like a bus load of retired snowbirds headed for Florida!

So, without giving away any gory details of my divorce, I will just mention that from the fall of 1986, to the Hoosier arctic blast of January 2014, I was married.  I had not drawn a “single” breath of air since I was 18 years old.  And, staying true to the generation I grew up in, I was a father before the wedding day.  Since that fall day almost 28 years ago, I somehow managed to round-up a total of 6 children, five daughters, and one son, and three beautiful grand-babies!  I could never imagine this life without them.  Any of them.  I love, more than anything, being a dad and a grandpa (Poppy)!

But it is the trial by fire, known as divorce, that has me evaluating, and re-evaluating even  the smallest details of how I interact with people, especially my kids, what my values are, and what I put my faith in.  I had never realized the range emotions that accompanies the Tsunami of divorce, and I was totally unprepared for the power of the wave as it hit landfall, and the flooding of our lives that followed.  How would one prepare for that?  I had never entertained the thoughts of, “What would you do if you got a divorce?”  I liken that answer to the answer of this question, “What you would do if you won the lottery?”  Well, you can’t really answer that, until you actually do win the lottery.  Now, I’m not suggesting that divorce and winning the lottery are in any way comparable . . . at least not in my case. The comparison is in the speculation of the unknown.

What is known is something called The Emotional Stages of Divorce.  The stages of grief brought on by divorce are well documented, and I am not qualified to attempt a proper dissection of this topic.  But, I am qualified to muddle through a portion of some of these stages, as I have come to understand them.  So here, in no particular order, are a sampling of my personal descriptions, of some of these experiences.

The Burning Hurt.

I am not sure how else to describe the feelings of hurt and anger, that begin to boil up deep inside you.  Like a witches cauldron on All Hallows Eve, there is a distinctive smell, and sound, of some wicked curse bubbling to the surface of an oozing, black pot, and a constant hissing of embers, keeping the pot boiling.  You go to sleep with it, and you wake with it, if you sleep at all.  The smell burns your nostrils, and the sound deadens your hearing, and all other senses fade in its presence.

The Bewildered Scramble.

I liken this to being tied in the final minute of a soccer match, when you are trying to maintain some type of control, in order to “win the match” (save the marriage, or figure out what comes next after it’s over).  Every touch on the ball is crucial, and extremely stressful, and the heightened level of stress has increased the chances of error dramatically.  Every player, in every position, is looking for an opportunity to score.  You even pull your keeper out of the box, looking for any opening; any advantage; any opportunity, to get that winning goal.  But as your keeper gets out of position, the possession is lost on an errant pass, and the ball is chipped just over the keepers outstretched hand.  “Game over.”  Yet, it isn’t over.  The final whistle only signifies the end of the game.  The final whistle doesn’t prepare you for what comes after.  Your mind zigzags through the “what if’s”, and “if only’s”, ad infinitum, while being fed healthy doses of that steamy brew, from that still boiling, accursed cauldron.

The Parent Unplugged.

This one, I am only recently realizing existed.  Apparently, when one goes through a traumatic experience, one can, at times forget certain attributes and responsibilities that were once a part of ones everyday existence.  You are so focused on the “alien in your chest”, that you can hardly see the one that has ripped open your children’s ribcage.  “They seem ok.”, you say to yourself.  “I know it’s hard, but they will get through it.” These uncomplicated thoughts, may be a defense mechanism to help ease your own pain, but they do no good in fighting that voracious little creature that has leapt from their chest, and left them seriously wounded.  I pause here momentarily to say that I have no experience in fighting aliens, or counseling children of divorce, and I never dreamed I would need to do either, especially my own children.

The Wait!  Who?  What?  Where?

This also is new territory for me.  You get so used to living life inside of your own little box, and then you get dumped out of that little box, in the middle of B.F.E., and it’s a little bit of a mad scramble to find the paved road again.  Like Clark Griswold lost in the desert, you did not start the day out preparing for a day long hike in the blazing sun, and extreme temperatures of this place.  No water.  No sun block.  No compass.  No camel.  Just you and your shadow, and a whole lot of sand.  You have to start thinking, and doing, and living, in your own frame of reference.  You have to begin to put confidence in your own abilities, and your own decisions, because it is all you now.

Yes, there are others counting on me every day.  But, they are not responsible for what happens next.  I am.  This is a little scary, and at the same time exciting.  Yet, I have a new sense of freedom, and a new spirit of change, that encourages me to find the paved road again, and stay away from that service station that Clark stumbled into.

These are just few brief descriptions of my journey into this strange new world.  I . . . we, have a long road ahead, and I have no idea what lies around the next bend in the road.  But I am glad to be moving forward.

 

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Once or twice upon a crossroad

Just six miles east of my town, on State Road 18, you will come to the Interstate 69 junction. For most of my youth, the only thing existing at these crossroads, besides the on/exit ramps, was the shell of a partially built hotel. I don’t know the specifics, but it seemed the developers built the walls, and never came back.  Those brick walls stood for decades, untouched, save for the hand of nature.

But eventually someone saw the economic potential of this lonely intersection, and development started taking off.  At first, a truck stop, restaurant and hotel.  Eventually a distribution warehouse and community college were built.  Now there are a couple of restaurants, gas stations and a Harley Davidson dealership.  And there are two notable vacancies, that have the potential to mirror the old, unfinished hotel walls of decades past.

Even the excavations have become overgrown.

Even the excavations have become overgrown.

Several acres were being developed for, of all things, a sports arena, to be home to a minor league hockey team, and other attractions.  Sounds good, but in a town of barely 30,000 people it would seem difficult to pay the bills.  But after months of doing the ground work, the efforts have all ceased.  Lots of excavation had been done, but that’s all.  Only a glimpse of what may have been.

The other location is much more tragic, and personal to our community.  Only a few years ago, a young and ambitious business man, moved his auto dealership from its downtown location, to a potentially prime piece of real estate at this crossroad.

Empty on the inside, and barren on the out.

Empty on the inside, and barren on the out.

A brand new building, in a promising location, was sure to prosper.  But tragedy struck this family, and it stands empty and unresolved today.  Nothing in the showroom.  Nothing on the lot.  And, no name on the building.

There is a paved street that runs a few hundred yards into the property.  It abruptly ends, and then turns into a short gravel lane for staging construction equipment.

End of the road.

End of the road.

This road, which had intended to lead to strip malls and apartments, would have been the entrance to the arena.  It was appropriately named Big Play Way.  A fitting name for big dreams, and high hopes.

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Fitting.

Each of these failed ventures has its own story line, including unrealistic expectations, mismanaged funds, and human error.

Overgrown, undeveloped acreage, an empty dealership and an unfinished road are all that remain of these unfinished dreams.  I now drive past this crossroad of unresolved lives daily, and it hit me in the heart one day.  Don’t let this be you!  This empty shell of one mans dream stares at me, no screams at me!  It haunts me like Marley haunted Scrooge.

But my personal crossroads aren’t fiction.  My ghostly visitations aren’t here to warn me of what could be.  They are here, in so many ways, telling me that there are things, there are situations, and there are relationships that will be left unresolved.  The paved road will end suddenly. You may have some gravel to travel on briefly, but then it will be untouched wilderness.  Your list of unresolved issues will do you no good in this wilderness. You will need a compass.

You had hoped to write a different story, or at least hadn’t planned on including a chapter with no conclusion.  But that’s what can happen at the crossroads of unresolved and unfinished business.  Your story just runs out of letters.  The pieces fall and you have to walk on, leaving them . . .

Posted in Culture, Family, Forgiveness, Love, Marriage, Mental health, Morality, Mourning | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

A Brief Thought About Truth

I used to believe that love contained a binding element of “sink or swim.” It was the thread that held the fabric together. “No matter what . . . I am yours”, was in my mind and heart. The idea that marriage was 50/50 was never my mantra. It was ALL/ALL. There would be times when you, or your spouse weren’t able to give at all. Sickness, depression, physical disabilities. Someone, at some point, was going to have to give more, and get less in return.

Sink or swim, I am yours.

But, I see now that the only thing to give that kind of devotion to is Truth.  Truth about ourselves, and truth about others, can be difficult to accept. It is the one thing that we are most afraid of, and the only thing that may cause us considerable pain, but will never wound. Lies come in many forms, and are often hard to detect. But if you handle truth often enough, un-truth sticks out like a Pinto, on a lot full of Corvettes.

 

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Who Can It Be Now?

Deep breath.  How do I start this one?

Well, it is now 8:37 pm, and I am just sitting down to supper.  A nice big bowl of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.  I just took a steaming hot shower, a well deserved one, if I do say so myself.  After picking up our girls from school today, I hustled over to our rental property, that was having some plumbing issues.  Two plugged up toilets, and two slow drains.  Hmm.  After three hours, one pair of rubber gloves, two wax rings and the purchase of a plumbing snake, I had all of the water flowing again.  As a side note, unplugging your own toilet is one thing.  Removing the plastic toy, that caused the debris pile up in someone else’s toilet is an adventure I’d rather not repeat.

Anyway, I have been thinking about my little blog, and I have discovered that I need it more than I had realized.  It has been, and still is, a good creative outlet for me.  But I see now that I have been hiding some things from myself, and as I have re-read some of my entries I am seeing some things a little more clearly.  I am not ready to share all of my personal revelations, but I will divulge one.

The title I chose, soccerdadconfessional, is now very telling.  It briefly describes how I see myself. I am a proud dad, I  love sports especially soccer, and I am in need of confession.  Now, I’m not Catholic, so I don’t know what happens during one of those ‘fessin’ up sessions, but I’ve been about as Baptist as you can be, and Baptists are all about repentin’ of yer sins an’ such!  I also have a deep regard for the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, which also emphasize admission of your character defects, and making amends with the folks I may have harmed.

But, to put the word confessional in the name of my blog, never occurred to me that I was admitting that I felt guilty.  Yes, Guilty.  I won’t go into all of that here and now, but I would like to reach out to all seven of you who wait anxiously for my newest post.  I think it’s time for a title change.  I am choosing to let go of the guilt, that has weighted down every key stroke; that has affected every decision I have made in many, many years; that has caused me to second guess how I coach, how I work, how I exercise, and how I worship the God I say I believe in.

So this is an open request, especially to those who know me, but also to any traveler who might stop in on their journey.  If you could re-name my simple little blog, what would it be?  Don’t be shy, don’t hold back, and don’t forget the hot sauce!

p.s. You can also reply to johnrumple68@yahoo.com

Posted in Christianity, Coaching, Faith, Family, Love, Parenting, Personal inventory, Recovery, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments