Posted By Dave
“How did I end up here?” was the question that the voice in my head kept asking. I came home from work to see only my clothes and open space where some of the furniture used to be. Sadness, anger, frustration, it all washed over me. I was like a fighter who had taken a right hook that I didn’t have a chance to brace for. As I crumbled to the canvas, I was pissed and hurt. How does 13 years of marriage, three children and a home together, a life built together, end up here? Sometimes there just isn’t an explanation. Sometimes there just aren’t any answers. Sometimes bad stuff happens to people who tried to do everything right. It doesn’t make any sense.
After the separation began, my boys would go spend the agreed-upon days with their mom. Instantly, a house that was full of the sounds and activity of a young family was as quiet as a funeral home. Appropriately, I felt like I was dying inside. Toys left where they were played with last. Their clothes in the laundry, Capri-Suns in the refrigerator. The TV left on the last channel they watched, the baseball laying in the front yard. I couldn’t wait to talk to them, but despised having to tell them “Good Night” over the phone. I missed them so bad, I felt like someone was using a vacuum to suck the life out of me. I would lay there in bed and be enveloped in the silence. It made me sick to my stomach. It was in those times that I began to experience the love of my heavenly Father like I never had before. I have been a Christian since 1997, yet I discovered during those lonely nights that my faith had never been tested like this. I began to beg God to make His presence known, I was having a real crisis of faith, wondering if all of the stuff I had said about Jesus through the years was really true or if I was just repeating what everyone else was saying.
I know now that it is all true. I can’t explain it in words so that anyone else would understand. I just know because I’ve sensed the presense of my Savior in times when I just wanted to curl up in a ball in the floor. I know because I was broken down and stripped of everything that I held dear, and yet still knew that there was a reason for it. I know because He waited for me to ask Him for forgiveness before He began to reveal His new plan for me. I don’t ask “why?” anymore. That’s because I know the answer. It wasn’t so I could start over. It wasn’t so I could get answers to all of my questions. I’ve learned over time that the specifics don’t matter. Who did what, who said what, who was wrong and who was right, none of it matters. I spent plenty of time being self-righteous about my circumstances, and it still left me empty. The reason I don’t ask why anymore is because every day I live this life completely differently than I did prior to the day my first marriage ended. It is encompassed in this quote from author Ken Gire:
“When suffering shatters the carefully kept vase that is our lives, God stoops to pick up the pieces. But he doesn’t put them back together as a restoration project patterned after our former selves. Instead, he sifts through the rubble and selects some of the shards as raw material for another project – a mosaic that tells the story of redemption.”
The End was The Beginning for me. I made the choice to get up off of the canvas, spit the blood out of my mouth and get back in the fight. The fight for me was to figure out what I did to cause what happened and fix it. I went to counseling for months to open up those places that were in the shadows and bring them into the light. The fight for me was to lead my sons through a traumatic situation. I could not leave them behind as I jumped back in the ring, I had no choice but to be a healthy Dad for them. I fight for them every day, even when they aren’t with me. Someday they are going to have to fight too. It is my job to be their Mickey, to prepare them for the day they are going to step into the ring. Now the fight for me involves my young marriage to a woman who is my Adrian. I refuse to let my past or my enemy win, and that means fighting for what is good and right. Even though my greatest fears were realized, they were also defeated the moment that stopped trying to control what wasn’t mine begin with. Freedom and power are my assets thanks to Who I serve, not who I am.
It all began the day that it ended.