The Healing Power of Time

The Healing Power of Time

A week ago today, I was walking to the local market – they’re called colmados here in the D.R. – to pick up a couple of items. It was dark and there was a slight drizzle. I walked on the edge of the road (there are no sidewalks here) while facing oncoming traffic, armed only with an umbrella in one hand and a flashlight in the other. The flashlight served to both light my path and make me visible to cars heading in my direction.

My defense tactic worked like a charm with the first car to come my way. I saw a pair of headlights, I flicked my wrist from side to side, and the vehicle politely veered away from the edge of the road.

Upon seeing the second set of lights, I repeated my task of alerting the driver to my presence. As it turns out, my plan was not foolproof. The car continued to advance right at me. In my memory, I swear it even veered toward me. Having already stepped off the road and onto the shoulder, I had nowhere left to go for safety. Nowhere except for the ditch that runs parallel to the road.

The fall caused me to scrape my leg along the embankment of the ditch, an embankment that is perpetually smiling with teeth of rocks and stone. Ouch is an understatement. But being one week removed from the incident, my fancy scab graffiti is looking better.

Scratches.jpg

It is said time heals all wounds. That is true both literally and figuratively, and it got me thinking of a post from a long time ago. So with this context in mind, I’d like to once again share this posting from over ten years ago.

What Scar?

 

“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3 NLT

Decades and Decibles

I’ve mentioned before how the tempest season in my life was from September 2004 – December 2005. Although there were a lot of great memories made in that time span, I used to look back on that period and remember mostly the pain.

Today marks the ten-year mark of the end of that season. Ten years ago today, my world as I knew it (as I wanted to know it) came to an end. I was left battered and beaten, face down in my own rock-bottom reality.

Following this event, God steered me to where He wanted and needed me to be. He began the process of taken my broken and making something beautiful out of it. I couldn’t see it at the time, but in looking back over the last ten years, it’s clear as day that is what He did.

As I look back on that time, I see the path He laid out for me and the journey I’ve been able to travel with my now wife Lee. I no longer see the pain that used to be there. I no longer feel the angst and restless despair that clouded my judgement and stunted my growth in the early part of 2006. That noise that was deafening is now completely gone.

It is such a blessing to be able to look back and see the positives, all the while appreciating the knowledge it was the negative that made it possible. It’s the serenity of the calm drowning out the noise of the past.

As I checked out my Facebook feed this morning, the very first post I saw was one from writer Mitch Albom. It was so very appropriate and I know it was a gift from God to remind me of how far I’ve come since that evening ten years ago.

Mitch

Having watched Star Wars : The Force Awakens this weekend (saw it twice), there is a line from the character Maz Kanata that ties in nicely to this post. It is something I wish someone would have told me when I was struggling to see past the next day of my disarrayed life.

“Dear child, the belonging you seek is not behind you. It is ahead.”

Tough times come and tough times go. Life is not easy, and Jesus never said it would be. But by surrendering our troubles to the Lord, we’re able to overcome our obstacles, grow in love and faith in him, and find the joy and peace God makes available to us.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

 

 

 

 

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Three Six Five Four

You’ve heard the old cliché: Time to close this chapter in your life.

Have you ever had a season in your lifetime that was more like closing a book …. and moving on to a new book ….. in a different library ….. on the other side of town? That was my 2004.

I’m a big fan of milestones. It’s amazing to me that in January, I will hit the mark of having lived in Tampa longer than I did in my hometown (17 year, 6 months). Last June, I celebrated my five year wedding anniversary with my wife. Just last month, I reached seventeen years of service with my employer. It really is amazing how time flies.

But now as we’ve reached the end of Summer 2014, I am hitting a new set of decade-long milestones in my life. The second-half of 2004 was brutal for me. In addition to dealing with the savaging hurricanes that pummeled Florida that summer, my life was – for lack of a better phrase – in a free fall.

My marriage had dissolved. I was living at my friend’s house, getting by on a steady diet of beer (as in cases) and no sleep. I was unsure of what each day would bring, and, in poetic parallel to Mother Nature’s wrath, everything seemed like a dizzying whirlwind.

As if that weren’t enough, it was 10 years ago yesterday – 3,654 days – that my father passed away.

His passing was expected. Having been diagnosed in the summer of 2002 with Mesothelioma, we knew the outlook for my dad’s life was not a long term one. He underwent chemo and battled his cancer, along the way prolonging his life just enough to sneak in some extra memories with his grand children. I remember shortly after his diagnosis he and I went out for beers, no longer sharing a father-son relationship, but rather one of friends. For one night, we were drinking buddies, and I remember laughing at the fact I out-drank my dad and had to proverbially carry him home.

Losing my dad was tough. In the time following his death, I’d still pick up the phone to call him during Miami Dolphins games. As my kids took up recreational soccer, I’d anguish inside at the fact he was no longer around to see them play. My mentor for all things DIY was gone. I didn’t just lose my dad. I lost my friend and my hero. Although the memory of my dad still influences me and what I write, it’s not the same as if he were still alive.

They say time heals all wounds. There is some truth to that. Wounds do heal, but some wounds never disappear. After ten years, I can still see in me the void that exists with the absence of my father. My life is amazingly better today than it was at this time ten years ago (a testament to God’s amazing grace and His ability to put us back together). But I still miss my dad, and I am saddened that he never got to know the me I am today. I know he was proud of me, but the me he knew in his final days was a lie. I showed him a facade to keep him from seeing the lying, cheating, and broken man I was at that time.

I hope that when it comes time for us to meet again in Heaven, he’ll meet me with a hug and with the words, “You did good, son.” The book of Matthew teaches us to store our treasures in Heaven. In trying to be the best dad to my kids that I possibly can be, I like to think I’m doing just that. 

My eulogy for my father

Dad

The Lighthouse

I was filling out a survey today, and I was asked for my demographic information. I was asked to place a checkmark in the box for the range in which my age fell. It was the second to last of five boxes. The thought that ran through my head: “Oh crap I’m getting old!”

With that came an avalanche of other thoughts, all of them having to do with the fact that time continues to press forward no matter how much I want it all to slow down. This includes the continued maturation of my daughter, and the corresponding realization that in less than four years she will be off to college.

I am sure all parents go through those moments of anxious panic at the idea that your little loved ones will soon leave the proverbial nest to live their own lives, and like me, I am sure no parent is ever really ready for their departure.

As much as I have confidence in the young adult my daughter has grown up to be, I still have to pause when I allow myself to think of everything that’s out there in that big, bad world of ours. Yet I know what I must do is place it all in God’s hands and be an undeniable truth in the life of my daughter.

I need to make sure she knows that no matter where she goes or what she decides or who she grows up to be, my love for her will never diminish. I need to make sure she holds as a positive certainty the fact she can always count on me.

With that, I give you the poem that was born out of this moment of panic.

LIGHTHOUSE

In the darkness of your unexplored world stands a lighthouse

Less remarkable with each passing year

Weathered … beaten down by the crashing waves and the salt spray

It’s shone it’s light bright for you

From your very first voyage, a casual perusal in the harbor

To your treks of discovery, each one taking you further and further from port

Now, as you prepare to escape the confines of the bay

And explore the vastness of the mysterious yet exciting seas

Your lighthouse remains prepared

Diligent … Steadfast …. Anxious

What storms may come? What weather may weigh down your sails?

Your course is uncharted, each direction a new opportunity

Each decision a tightrope walk between failure and success

Yet through it all, your compass remains true

A constant unmoved by the chaos that is ready to attack at a moment’s notice

Through it all, your lighthouse shines bright to help guide you through the unknown

To help you see when you cannot

To warn you of the danger that lies ahead

And to greet you with open arms as you find your way back home

Lighthouse

065/365 Time Flies

Today feels like it’s been non-stop from the moment I got out of bed. Seriously, I am looking at the clock right now and wondering where the *bleep* did the day go? Work had me slammed, then I was off to basketball practice for Daniel, then by the time I got home and settled in, it’s already time to get ready for bed. Wow, what busy day.