The Melancholy of Divorce

Feb 19, 2014 by

The Melancholy of Divorce20081001_1898 20081001_1896

On my Facebook wall today are two photos with me and my dog, Molly, my Great Pyrenees we got in 2008 as a puppy and raised to a 70-lb adult, gentle giant.

It’s almost been four years now since the collapse of my marriage with K., expedited largely by external corruption and dishonesty, but also coupled with my own faults and those of my ex, who has lost access to all her minor children through the alleged use of meth and other drugs. (Molly was sent away before I ever got a chance to say goodbye to her–largely out of meanness.)

Two Sundays ago in church, preacher Gordon Dabbs talked about putting one’s past behind so that growth could once again happen. And I have to say that after nearly four years now, the melancholy of divorce isn’t nearly as painful as it was when it was so very raw on my emotions, but there still are triggers that pop up unexpectedly, like today’s photos of Molly, that make me sick inside like I was when my world was collapsing around me. Worse still are two refrigerator magnets of the youngest child; one I raised as though she were my own, who now supposedly is with her biological father, whom she’d never met until well after she’d been removed from her mother’s lack of care. Holidays and birthdays still are painful.

They say “time heals all wounds,” and yes, I am largely recovered emotionally from the trauma of the early part of this decade, but its impact will endure probably till my end.

I think the only way the ending of that marriage could have been thwarted was never to have begun it at all. But I also look back on good times, travels, and the difference my time made with a couple of the kids and when I think of it in those terms, I have no regrets.

I miss Molly, A. and L. J, too. I know my three girls feel the same. Life is hard. Some people have it out to make it even harder on others. And then there are just those variables in life one cannot explain.

Today is a new day. I could not be where I am today but for the hardships of the past, many of them that still have a claw in me. But more and more each day I continue to look forward, eager for new opportunities and new growth–more growth than what I’ve been able to accomplish in the new quiet of the past four years.

There were times when I wondered where God had gone in all the Hell I was enduring. I know now with greater resolve that he was right there next to me the whole time, knowing he’d not put more on me than I could handle, even with the heart attack two years ago, and wanting me to grow in life experiences and pains in new ways so I could greater fulfill the purpose he has for me in this life. That’s not easy to see when one is in the middle of the tornado of divorce and wondering why all of what was is suddenly getting sucked out of one’s life and thrown miles and miles away, possibly never to be seen or experienced ever again.

But God, I have found, has this way of taking us out of our comfort zones when it’s time for us to do something in his plan, not necessarily in ours. Sadly, today, it seems divorce becomes a vehicle for making transitions in life happen. And the result is usually something far better than what we had before. Amen. (That isn’t saying I condone or encourage divorce. But I do believe that in the end, good can come from such bad.)

If you’re suffering from an active divorce, either of your own making, a spouse, or one involving your children or parents, I pray for you constantly. It’s one of the worst experiences in life and it causes so much lasting pain. People shun you. People get mad at you. People form their own judgments of you, right or wrong, and there are times when you feel so very small and hurt inside.

Anger and pain are part of it, but so is answering God’s calling and voice to find good in the bad and make something positive come from it.

That’s not easy, I know. But it’s the only way to make things better, not to mention God has something bigger and better in mind for us all in the end….

Molly Ball on Jan 25, 2009

Molly Ball on Jan 25, 2009 (Photo credit: ClaxtonCreative)

Sophy And Fizz

I plan on getting two Great Pyrenees pups again as soon as I am able. I’m going to name one Sophie, and the other, Fizz. When I was a kid in Northern Michigan, one of my best base housing friends was Robbie Webb and he lived a Where The Red Fern Grows life with two black labs he had of the same name. He’d call them by name or he’d call them “Doggers!”

Eventually I will be returning to the woods of Northern Michigan to ply my book and eLearning trade from the beauty of those many and magical woods.

You see?  A plan.  And moving on from the pains of yesterday. Progress.

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In Hard Times God Was With Them–Do You Think He’s Forgotten You?

Feb 11, 2014 by

In Hard Times God Was With Them–Do You Think He’s Forgotten You? What Gordon Dabbs Taught Me Sunday

Sunday in the a.m and p.m. services, Prestoncrest Church of Christ’s Gordon Dabbs drew two amazing word pictures that have helped continue to reshape my focus and attitude the past few days, and I feel compelled to share them here. You know I don’t do this about religion very often, but I’m drawn now to do so.

Growing Into The Enormity Of God’s Love

When we put on Christianity, most of us don’t really have an idea of its breadth. I’d say it’s almost impossible to do so until we spend a lot of time in study, prayer, reflection and personal growth.

During his morning sermon, Gordon painted this word very special word picture: Imagine I’m a billionaire and I go and buy the most expensive private jet aircraft in the world for my 13-year-old son and give it to him and say, “It’s yours. All paid for. The only stipulation is that you are the only one who can pilot the aircraft.”  At 13, his son does not have a pilot’s license. To make the most of his father’s gift, the son will have to go through growth, maturity and pilot school in order to ever make full use of the gift.

Doesn’t the same situation exist in our walk with Jesus? Do you think new born Christians are ready to “fly the plane?”

It’s why on our walks, we need to do as I think it was Paul said, and drink small sips of milk in order to grow, to study regularly and to find ways to mature in our faith.  That’s why it’s a walk, not a sprint.

God Was With Them

The other great thing Gordon was talking about Sunday evening was that through their trails and tribulations, which both involved jail time, the Bible says that “God was with” Joseph, whose brothers sold him into slavery, and with Paul, who was falsely imprisoned.

The inference is that even in times of great despair and loss for two of God’s favorite biblical characters, he was there with them, at their side, ensuring that they’d be around for to meet his purpose for them.

Finding Life’s Purpose

On the way back from Denver in October I sat on a Southwest flight to Tulsa to Dallas next to a man who claimed to be a professional provoker. Our conversations soon turned to what he does–helping people find their purpose in life.

In an hour, he and I are going to have a Skype call about how to expand the reach of what he does. In preparing for that call, I’ve had to search for many new technologies and gone through his learning materials, which have led me to find my purpose in life. On ClaxtonCreative.com now you will find the new tagline, “Telling Stories With Purpose.”  I firmly believe now that my purpose for being on this Earth is to find the best stories ever, and maybe not yet ever told, and share them with as many people as I may.

So at 48, I don’t know if I’m ready to take the plane up in the air, but I’m at least ready to taxi out to the runway.  As noted many times, the past four years have been the hardest of my life. There have been times when I felt like I’d been left alone in a personal prison of great depth and despair with little where to go but back up again. In those times, I did wonder if God was with me. But as life has begun to unfold, as I have now found my purpose, it’s clearer by the minute that he indeed was right there all along. It also has become clear that I had to weather those horrific storms of life in order to be where I am now. At a point of discovery.

So what’s the take away here? Our faith’s progression is a journey and our minds need nourishment to feed them so they can grow in our understanding of what God intends us to do while we’re here. And no matter how dark things may appear in life, he’s always there. You just have to reach out to him to connect. And in dark days when it seems like you’re miles down in a dark, dark cave that’s pretty hard to comprehend. But I encourage you nonetheless. Reach out your hand. God will be there to take it.

 

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Win Or Lose Tonight, Auburn Still Wins

Jan 6, 2014 by

Win Or Lose Tonight, Auburn Still Wins

I just had lunch at my local Wing Stop, figuring it’ll be too crazy to get in there tonight with Auburn and Florida State University playing for the final BCS National Championship. I went in wearing a sweatshirt I received for Christmas heralding Auburn’s chance to play in tonight’s game, and ESPN was playing with no audio at both ends of the store. Across from me, two men spied me watching as Coach Nick Saban commented about Auburn’s defense. Auburn Logo

When I sat down, almost like he was trying to pick a fight, one of the men looked over at me and said, “They’re not going to win tonight.”

I greeted him and responded with, “We weren’t supposed to win the last two, either.”

That was the end of the conversation. It was like talking to a Bama fan up until Wednesday afternoon. (BTW: The best joke so far today–“How long does it take to beat Alabama?”–Answer: “A second, or Sooner.”) Where does such arrogance and outright anger come from anyways?

What The Man At The Table And Most Others Don’t Understand

I’ve been an Auburn fan since we moved from Atwater, CA to Montgomery, AL  in 1981.

In Alabama, you have two options, you’re either an Auburn fan or you’re “One of them.” (An Alabama fan.) Bama has a much longer tradition of winning than Auburn does. One of my friends, in a put down earlier this year, said, “Alabama seniors have won more national championships than Auburn.” Quite biting, yes, and true.

Tonight, Auburn has the chance to win it’s third national championship in the school’s history. No, that’s not as storied as Bama, or Notre Dame, or USC’s past programs. And yes, there’ve been many years at Auburn when we’ve had to just chalk things up to “next year.”

But here’s the part others don’t understand–Auburn was never expected to be playing tonight. All year long we were beaten down by Alabama fans and the news media. Bama fans, up until the last play of the Iron Bowl were constantly crowing about their being on the way to their 16th national championship. All they had to do was push pitiful Auburn out of the way.

So without the expectation of even being here, with a 3-8 record last year, a horrible showing in the Iron Bowl and one of the worst losses ever to Alabama, Auburn’s team this year did something special–they ignored what EVERYONE was telling them and they went inside for something all of us should do day in/day out–they found an inner strength and a determination to not let go of their dreams.

#AUBURNWINS

ESPN is running a nonsensical, non-scientific Twitter poll right now. If you think FSU is going to win, you Tweet #FSUWins, if you think Auburn, #AuburnWins.

In many ways, it feels like I’m back in the Alabama Governor’s Office today waiting for 7 p.m. when the polls close. Then all the pundits and nonsense can stop and the real poll can be conducted.

I hope Auburn wins tonight. But even if they don’t, I’m still going to be very, very proud of what this group of kids and our new coach have done. And we have about 320 more days to remind Bama fans of how long it takes to beat them…..

 

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