The Fear

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am one lucky dude. I have, at 39, found myself in a job that I love pursuing a career that is my passion. I have 3 awesome sons who amaze and impress me everyday, and have found the person God put me on this Earth to be with. I relate my story to that of my mother, who was my best friend, and how she met her soul mate after many years of struggling. It is a good life, and I feel as though it took me almost forty years to really get it.

Of course, I look back and think of the road that I have traveled and how I have dealt with every fork in the road, each speed bump and pothole I have ever encountered. I love the expression a friend used to carry as the tag line in her email that said "I can handle anything that life throws at me. I may not be able to handle it well, or correctly, or gracefully, or with finesse, or expediently. But I will handle it" I have often though of that tag line, especially since the day I told my ex that our marriage was over. I went a little crazy. I made a lot of bad decisions. I burned some bridges. But in the long run I handled everything that came before me and came out better for it in the end. Because on that day, in early 2009, some 2 weeks after I buried my mother, I looked the fear dead in the eye. And I conquered it.

I had known the marriage was over for a very long time. I will voluntarily admit that I had thoughts of leaving well before our second son came along, much less the third. I will also tell you that I wasn't going to win any medals as a husband, just like she was no wife if the year. But I am the proud father of those three guys, so it does make it hard to regret. Still, fact is fact, and the truth of the matter is that I stayed as long as I did because of the fear. We had established a life. We had children. We had something between a civil relationship and complacency. We lived our lives each day as strangers, both knowing eventually it would come to an end. Yet neither had the courage to change it. The fear was too great. Fear of what people would think. Fear of being alone. Fear of change, of changing your whole world for the smallest chance you might find real happiness somewhere outside those four walls. It was daunting. The conversation that had to take place seemed unfathomable, yet inevitable at the same time. The feeling that something had to give was as constant as a thirst after a long walk across a desert, yet had to stay dormant for the good of everyone. I discussed it only with my closest of friends and my mother. And yet even with a modicum of support I got from them, that mountain was still way to high to climb.

I lost my Mom on January 5, 2009. We held her funeral a few days later, and my little family unit was there and went through the motions. Even in that moment, we continued to have the same underlying issues we had for years. I was torn between grief and feeling guilty for the feeling that none of this was right with her there and knowing that straw, the one solitary straw that would break the camel's back, was hurtling towards our lives right then. And maybe my sister's words were speaking directly to me or maybe I wanted them to be when she told the crowd at the wake that they should each consider their legacy. What imprint are you leaving on the world and what are you teaching those who follow you? I looked at my boys and wondered what lessons they were learning about life and love and marriage and happiness while following the examples being set in their own home. And while I didn't know it would be exactly two weeks later when that bell would toll, I knew that the foundation of my marriage, as much as it had deteriorated over the years, was completely gone and it was time for action. I felt it like a burning in my belly, knowing that the pain of change was less than the pain of staying the same.

It was 14 days later when I felt that knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat. It was hard to say the words. It was hard to admit failure and to say to the mother of my children that I think myself, she, and the boys would all be happier if our marriage ended. It was even harder after the words were out. The next few days, weeks, months were spent acting like a horny teenager who just got the keys to his first apartment. Bad judgement and poor decisions ruled the day as I stumbled and fumbled my way to rock bottom before finally righting the ship. I started climbing the mountain, met the sweetheart along the way and, while I am not sure we have reached the peak yet, life sure looks a lot better from up here than it did laying on the rocks in a drunken stupor just a couple years ago.

I told you all that to tell you this. I am happy. Happier than I ever thought I could be. I love her with everything I am. She has brought color to my world and makes me want to be a better person, a better father, and a better man. I am so lucky to have found my sweetheart, my little red headed spitfire at exactly the right time. But I never would have gotten here if I had not faced the fear, if I had not swallowed that lump in my throat and said the words that changed all of our lives forever. I am so thankful I did. Because while I did not know it then, Tiffany was waiting on the other side of that fear. Like I said, I am one lucky dude.

This post is kind of out of left field, I know. But I also know there are some of you who can relate. And I hope maybe this helps, even just a little. The inspiration for this blog didn't come from my life, though the true story contained within did. No, the reason I put this into words is because of my closest friend, a guitar wielding philosopher from the lake, shares true stories from his own life. He faced his own fear years ago, and conquered it as did I. Now, he has found his own version of happiness, minus a piece or two that he is in no rush to find. Patience is a virtue my friend. And if you are blessed enough to find even close to what I have at the end of your journey, every step you have ever taken will suddenly make sense and you will find real happiness there.

Day # 602, I am the luckiest guy on the planet, and it is still good to be me.......

Have a great night everyone!


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