Morning by Morning (7/31/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The sense of peace some have in crisis.
  2. A good cry. Almost all would agree!
  1. Building puzzles with Ryan and observing his growing problem solving skills.
  2. Getting to teach Ryan states and places with one of his puzzles. It’s the cutest thing to hear him say California!
  3. Firefighters, police, and other first responders and the work they do in scary situations.
  4. The strength and resilience I have seen in one of my favorite people, Stephanie. Through troubled waters and scary times she has risen with a smile and courage. Happy birthday!!
  5. Meals with people I love, like the dinner and fellowship I shared with Phil and Barbara. Community is built and sustained by food and empathy and seeing each other as human. So grateful for each opportunity to deepen the roots of my relationships!

Morning by Morning (7/30/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. My former neighbors in Pearland, who I always remember as fun loving, my family loving, and some of the best neighbors I have ever known and continue to keep in touch with. Always grateful for Louis and Clarissa, David, George and Shannon, Tamika, and others too!
  2. A nice cool(ish) morning breeze on these hot summer days.
  3. The teachers aides in Ryan’s classroom. Ryan loves them all!
  4. The show “Octonauts.” Ryan loves it, but it’s so educational and does a great normalizing strengths, weaknesses and personalities in ways that I think will really help Ryan.
  5. The peace of lighting candles.
  6. Scripture that speaks to the pain of our lives, even if not answering it perfectly. Hearing about David and Bathsheba was hard yesterday, but it was important to identify with the hurt and honor of some characters, while also recognizing how I could identify with others (who were more in the power position and abused it) at other points in my life.
  7. Feeling loved from many places.

The Pain of Memory

I remember the last time we really held hands. And it wasn’t that long ago. A memory, washed deeply in a past I can’t quite wrap my head around.

I remember the last time we kissed, even made love, and it’s not as long ago as I wish it would now. It is just a memory, washed deeply in the hurt of a friendship scorned.

I remember the last time we celebrated our anniversary together, a dinner at Killens Steakhouse. It was a great meal, a great waiter, and yet it feels now as empty as the love she shared for me.

I remember, more brutally, the conversations over the fall. Conversations that followed another year of marriage celebrated in July, that suggested a commitment that wasn’t there. I remember the gifts of a disc golf bag, support of attending a World Series game with a best friend, support of going out every Sunday afternoon when before it was treated as selfish. I remember the distance that grew that fall, and the secrecy that took greater place when silence and secrecy shouldn’t have been acceptable.

I remember, I remember, I remember. Yes I remember it all.

As July 27 is the anniversary of my marriage to Elana, it now stands as one of the most painful days in my life so far. Maybe not next years July 27. But this years will stand as one of the most painful. Because each memory I have of her is helping me to remember our life together as what it is and not what I wanted it to be. Indeed, it was a bad marriage to someone who could not get past her issues and who could not see herself for the person she deserved to be. Even then, every memory of her around this anniversary remind me of how my failings contributed to a marriage that could have been better and still had the potential to age well.

Regardless, there is now way to stop remembering. If I could not remember and compartmentalize, I would be no better than the stupid behaviors of last fall from others. The remembering brings pain, and the remembering is pain.

And it sucks. And it hurts, very deeply.

From where I stand, memory brings the ultimate hurt that my character fears so greatly: separation, disconnection, distance. I fear separation from those I care a lot about, since I find great fulfillment knowing that I am connected to others (not needed, just connected). But to have my own wife decide that she wants no part of me or our family life, and speaks those words that she feels nothing around me. That sucks. And I remember it.

But even as I write this, as much as I’d love to completely forget that this anniversary even exists, I am not one that runs from the pain. Though I don’t run from it, it does not mean I am not lonely or grieving. In fact, I feel lonely and hurt. Lonely in particular, because no one can remember for me. no one can feel it for me. No one can shield me from it. No one can look back at those events, that last kiss, that last touch, that last time we laid next to each other, that laughter together, that moment sharing a child together…no one can feel that for me. I must feel it.

Memory is painful because we remember that which we love and appreciate. Memory, even painful, still does something. It clarifies what was, or at least it gains a different perspective. And yet, no matter what sense or clarity it may give, memories never answer the question why.

All this being said, I remember the 4.5 years of marriage, I remember the hurt of this last fall, and I remember this day not for the smiles it held on July 27 of 2013, but for the pain in the memories it holds in 2018.

Tonight I hurt, and I wish it weren’t so.

Morning by Morning (7/28/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The big bright full moon during the walk last night and this morning. The picture doesn’t do it justice.
  1. Being done with the anniversary reminders of yesterday. Long day, good day, done day!
  2. The hilarious and sweet immediate healing power of a kiss or band aid to make Ryan’s boo-boos feel better. I love hearing him say “I think it feels better already.”
  3. Living in an updated apartment that looks nice. It is a blessing to have shelter, and it doesn’t escape me that I live in a nice place on top of that.
  4. The playful imagination of children.
  5. Bowling, one of my favorite sports.
  6. Meeting new friends.

Morning by Morning (7/27/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Celebrating Christmas in July with Ryan.
  2. Simple moments where joy seems more than simple. Like wiping crumbs off Ryan’s face and seeing him smile!
  3. Clear skies of this morning.
  4. My dog Bailey and particularly his gentleness with Ryan.
  5. Writers like Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, and Bob Goff which have influenced me and inspired me.
  6. Being a preceptor for new chaplains and loving how it connects with my gifts.
  7. Encouraging others as they pursue their accomplishments. I love being a supporter!

Morning by Morning (7/25/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Zahraa al Lawati, a former fellow at TCH who I considered both a phenomenal doctor and phenomenal person. Much appreciation working with her!
  2. Coco, the movie, and the way it addresses death, family, and self in beautiful ways. (I also ugly cried watching it!)
  3. Knowing Ryan for all he is, all his strengths, weaknesses, oddities, wonders, likes, dislikes, quirks, and not so good parts. He is my boy, all of him.
  4. The legacy every child leaves us if they die. Those legacies are powerful tools that reflect the love of families, gods strength, and great joy in the face of difficulty. They are beautiful and deserve being told.
  5. Having enough. And knowing it.
  6. Being able to own my emotions during this tough week instead of them owning me.

Morning by Morning (7/24/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Praying with Robert and Bernadine Barboza. What faith in the face of grief! (And a gift to do it with Ryan too)
  1. Doing Taco Tuesday at home every week. Street tacos tonight! (Perhaps not the most gourmet made but they were made nonetheless…)
  2. Doing nothing on the couch but vegging with Ryan and watching Octonauts. So relaxing with him snuggling me. 🙂
  3. DeAndre Gibbs. A young man from church with a grown up faith and a great personality.
  4. Our valet workers at the hospital. They are great folks, welcoming, kind, and they put up with a ton.
  5. Regular counseling. Yep, I go, and I need it!
  6. The flower petals that litter our dog walking area. Even dying they are colorful and pretty.

Morning by Morning (7/23/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The support of Steve and Chelsie as friends of me, Ryan, and Aiden.
  2. Feeling connected to Aiden, which I got to experience hanging with him yesterday while having lots of laughs and doing plenty of listening.
  3. Jokes told by kids. Thanks to Cora and Aiden for entertaining us last night!
  4. The birds flitting about this morning. I love their sounds.
  5. Gods love of our flaws, our strengths, our weaknesses, our hopes, our failures, and our loves, and how he loves us fully as we are.
  6. Smooth handoffs of kids with Elana
  7. That is all gonna be okay, this post divorce life that is.

Morning by Morning (7/21/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Watching the amazing performance of Beethoven’s 5th and other overtures from Beethoven from the Houston Symphony. It was exhilarating to see and feel the stories that that music is about and get the goosebumps during pieces of the overtures. And I get to check it off my bucket list!
  2. Having a colleague who is also a young father.
  3. Daniel Lovett, one of my favorite people I miss from SoCal! Happy birthday!
  4. Getting my replacement iPhone in the mail yesterday.
  5. Daniel and Hannah Watson, who I saw outside of Jones Hall last night, and hearing their love for Ryan and care for me.
  6. Kenny Felkel, a friend from my fraternity who I never got to know well enough but I always felt was hilarious, confident, and loyal.
  7. Summer heat. It bothers many but I am so appreciative of feeling warm and sunshine.

Morning by Morning (7/20/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The beautiful sunny morning.
  2. Morning walks to work.
  3. Being able to enjoy summer through beaches, pools, parks, playgrounds, and backyards.
  4. Introductions to new music, which is one my favorite experiences. For that I love All Songs Considered and my friend Mike Bell who is always listening to good new stuff.
  5. Buying lunch at work when I can. It’s a treat really.
  6. Orienting my new colleague and good friend Chris this week.