Sunday, April 29, 2018

From the Mouth of Babes "my oldest"

Elizabeth Joy: This was not her choice, it was ours. She was too young to protest when we started exploring names, seeing she was still floating. Now, however, it just seems to be her name, her personality and her calling. Go figure.

    Elizabeth means: Consecrated to God
    Joy means: Well, Joy.

Somehow we just knew she was purposed to live the life of an old soul saint who cared more for her life in the secret place with God than her life on a stage or in front of a camera. We also felt a certain amount of unique joy would be a signature for her life. Strangely enough, she has spent a good portion of her life on a stage and, like all my girls, including Shanna, have been stunning in front of a camera. (braggy parent alert)

She is young, but as we imagined, has developed her inner life and self awareness well over the years and does a pretty good job writing about it. Take a few minutes to check out her blog. I love it and really pray it blesses my friends.

Tomorrow, there will be a new post from me about the power of vulnerability.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

It's 9:05pm, Where Are You Shanna?

Shanna Time: I find, more often than not, that my eating, sleeping, happiness & comfort run on something other than Mountain Standard Time. (I love in the Rockies).  I find they run on what I will lovingly call, Shanna Time. I mean, I hope others know what I experience but I will warn, it comes at a price. 

After 23 years of marriage to the same woman, compounded by 2 years of close friendship before that, it just seems my heart beats "off-beat" when she is not around. Even now I feel kinda lost and lonely and sick waiting for her in the airport. Like, I have a virus or infection or something. Like my body and soul are trying to fight it off, but all I can do is to look up at the clock and say, It's 9:05pm woman, where are you? 

Truth is, I'm the guy you would have expected to be waiting on a different girl at the airport every couple of months. Divorce and other relational struggles were normal for my family. Changing girlfriends became normal for me when I was young and then, as an adult, I was convinced I could never keep a marriage together. Being there for one girl was just not a thing I understood

Truth is, Shanna Ramsdell, my best friend of 23 years, has just gotten under my skin and into my blood. It was not something we did. Really. I mean, she is amazing, no doubt, but I think she would also say that longevity and intimacy, to the degree we now have it, was probably a prayer more than a hope. But now, it's like we share the same heart beat

Shanna's walking speed is slower than mine, her computer skills a little less perhaps. But, strangely, while we differ in those and so many other ways, we feel connected at the hip. How does that happen? How did it happen? Why do I sit here in the middle of hundreds, maybe thousands of people, coming and going through this great airport, to only long for one. Some are taller, shorter, darker or lighter. Some have more college, less kids, more money, fake body parts, cool shoes or whatever else makes them unique and attractive. They belong to someone else, they go with another man or woman, another friend or spouse. Shanna, SHE GOES WITH ME. 

I only long for her, partially because I have only longed for her. I have dedicated myself to her for over two decades now, and in the doing, I do. Temptations to be a jerk, to be distracted or to be attracted to others comes wondering by my way just like anyone. Sometimes I listen to temptation more than other times, so does she. But right at that moment, when we fight, betray trust, judge one another or become detached, our souls reach out. Our heart begins to get off rhythm and we notice something is wrong. 

It has become involuntary, really. And, after 23 years I can say with all joy and clarity, I WANT her more than anyone or anything I could trade in this world. I want to be in love with her and to be loved by her. I want to fail and fall together. I want to cry and crazy together. I want to hurt when she hurts, I want to celebrate when she does. And, in my own stoic way of being happy, I am just plain happy when she is around

I guess I'm just writing this to show myself that I could do it. Not that I could write, but that I could be with one lady for all these years and still sit in what we call "the chairs" at DIA and say, "It's 9:05pm, Where Are You Shanna??" 

Wait, it's a text, she landed 10 min early, hehe...gotta go

Friday, April 27, 2018

Can We Just Be Honest?

I'm going to begin writing now, not because I believe anyone will read what I write, or that profound wisdom will flow from my finger tips the way frightening characters flow from Stephen King. No, I just believe writing will help me and will possibly give voice to others who could use a friend who might brave the backlash of honesty & vulnerability.

I'm going to begin speaking now, not because I have oh that much of that much importance to say, the way Eon Musk believes he has men to put on Mars. No, nothing that loud or big or special. No, I just believe when I speak, I process the internal thoughts aloud of those who may need to speak, who may need a friend brave enough to share instead of stuff, to brave being judged & misunderstood.

I'm going to be myself now, not because it will earn me promotion, praise or applause, the way it seems the Kardashians receive riches, promotion and praise for just being famous and for being professionals at being themselves in front of the world. No, I just believe it's time for grown men, in particular to move past the masks that keep us hidden, the masks we have often come to depend on to support the ruse we have developed with it's finely architected storylines telling people what we want them to hear and see, rather than what is. I imagine there could be a man or women, young or old, waiting for the volcanic power of his/her true self to boil over onto the world without plan or protection. I'll be brave enough, I guess, to be a friend to this guy/gal who will likely never experience the opportunity for that one breakout moment without restraint. Rather they will softly ooze onto the world but only to cool off and dry up into a hard volcanic rock, never agin to be the hot passion of bright burning creativity & individuality.

Enough of all that. It sounds like I'm trying to hard to be a real writer, which I'm not. I'm just a man, just a husband, father, friend and helpless lover of Sweet Tea and Mtn Dew. I digress.

Looking at the list of posts I have written, I realize there are 3 times as many posts written but not posted than those I have shared.  I think that means I have been either journaling, or posting hogwash that I realize should never get posted once it was written down, or maybe, while those other two are likely, there could be fear involved. To be brave means we don't begin brave, it means we take a step into fear and become brave. Bravery is very hard to measure until, in action, we are brave. Courage is the same, faith likewise. They are all part of our best self, our desired self. They just sit dormant inside our soul, waiting for the steps required to bring them from dark to light. We are brave when we act. We are courageous when we act courageous. We demonstrate faith when, well, we demonstrate faith. For all, next steps are required.

Sometimes my arm hurts from an injury I sustained years ago, sometimes my knee swells from having way too little cartilage. But, sometimes my soul hurts. If I asked anyone bored enough to read my little blog post, they would probably think for a moment and say, yes, my soul hurts sometimes as well. 

Mental health issues, spiritual confusion, relational detachment. These are just run of the mill issues for a human who is living and breathing, they impact us all. Then why wont' we talk about them openly. Why can't we tell the truth. Why do we feel shame or feel weak?  I have my own thoughts, but I want to steer away from being a teacher in this post. I wanna be naked before the world to the best extent possible and maybe be a friend to others who also want to be brave. 

So, if I can focus and commit to writing & speaking, to being brave & courageous, maybe my faith will grow and maybe friends who read this will grow as well. One can only hope.