On the way home Saturday from a great day of hanging with my 6 year old Eli, I remember that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Just another day to me, but I feel the urge to ask Eli if he thought about getting his mother (my ex-wife) anything for Valentine’s Day? It is 9:50 at night, after a long day Eli is barely coherent in the seat next to me. I gently nudge him as we come into town and ask him,
“Hey buddy, you get your mom anything for Valentine’s Day?” He instantly perks up and tells me no. See, his mother has been remarried for about 7 months now. We have been divorced for almost three years now, and even during those three years, I would buy her Mothers’ Day flowers, and Valentine’s Day gifts from Eli, I knew….1) Eli loves “buying” his momma gifts…2) I felt it made her feel special to get something from her son. Regardless, that torch has been handed over to her new husband. Walking through Walmart, the night before V-day was not only crazy but I felt overwhelmed. Seeing all the husbands and boyfriends scrambling for last minute flowers and gifts for their loved ones, and laughing under my breath. We find ourselves in the card isle…Eli trying to read (just learning) every card, puts my PTSD to the test. So being the great ex-husband I am, I found a gem of a card just for his mother…It measured about 2.5 feet tall and 1.5 foot wide!! Eli’s eyes wide as half dollars he yelled “yes daddy, that’s the one!” Laughing under my breath just a little, I suggest we grab a small box of chocolates to complete the gift experience and head towards the infinite line flowing from the 2 cash registers that are open (freaking hate that about Walmart!). On the way to the register Eli says something to me that stops me in my tracks…”Daddy, what about Brandon? Of course, why had I not thought of his stepdad? The new man taking my place in his home…the man doing all the things and spending all the time with my son I was missing out on…With a heavy and selfish heart I led him back to the cards. Eli picked out a card with a Star Wars character on the front, and another box of chocolates for his stepdad. On the way home my mind spinning from the day’s events and the impact of realizing I am not the only man in my sons life anymore. Getting home and helping Eli spell “I love you Brandon” and watching him draw two figures holding hands (him and Brandon) on the inside flap of the card, I was very somber. Finally, winding down for the night, Eli lying next to me in bed he asks me, “daddy what about you, what can I get you for Valentine’s Day?”…gently kissing his forehead and small tears welling up in my eyes I simply replied ,son I have you here with me and that’s all I ever want. Watching him sleep that night, as I often do not being able to sleep, I think about all the time I am missing in his life and my heart lands on two little words…faith….and hope. Which leads me to my next blog entry….
Faith versus Hope, and why we need to have both!
Faith is defined in the dictionary as, a confidence or trust in a person or thing; or the observance of an obligation from loyalty; or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement.
Well to me faith is simply this….an overwhelming feeling that someone or something, will be a part of our lives. That no matter how hard things are and no matter how out of reach it may be, in the end, my FAITH will bring this to happening in my life. This has been at the forefront as of late for me. Having faith that the love of my life is going to realize that she is just delaying the inevitable by not choosing to be in my life…faith that my son will turn out to be a better man than I can ever be…..faith that this world will wake up and see that in the end its all about loving and helping each other. All of these things are on my mind constantly, and my faith, I believe, are holding these dreams together. In the end faith is merely chasing those dreams with a constant belief that they will come true. A good friend of mine recently told me that faith to them is unrealistic, something that is not tangible and really unattainable. They told me that if I believe in my faith for certain things all I am doing is setting myself up for failure. Parts of that are true, it’s all in the person that is holding their faith. For me, I will continue to have faith that my soul mate, she is real, I know her and we will ultimately be together someday……I have faith that Eli will grow up being a gentleman, a loving father, a trusted friend, and a great man of God….I have faith that everything I have been through will help someone else cultivate a little bit of faith in their lives.
Now to the second part of this equation….Hope…..
Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation”.
What is my definition of hope…simply this….it’s the desire or wish that the things we want are going to happen…the dream of these things occurring.
Hope. I would say it is in relatively short supply these days. It has been said that a person can live 40 days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only one second without hope.
And where does this hope grow stronger? When we are in despair. It is one thing to talk about hope in theory. Yet it is another thing to put it to the test and see if it does what it is supposed to do. I am not a person who has gone through a valley and am now on the other side where everything is sunshine and blue skies. But I am someone who is going through a valley and finding the hope I need day by day and is looking forward to that hope being there for the next day. Thus, I want to share it with others. And why is this important? Because things don’t always work out so well. Life is not fair. It is filled with inequities and injustice. Sure, there are times when good is rewarded and bad is punished. But far too often, it is the very opposite of that. We see good people suffer. We see evil people succeed.
Soldiers laying in a foxhole have hope that the enemy will run out of ammo…or that their brother laying there bleeding out I front of them, they have hope that he will make it….hope can be as weak or as strong as you make it…that’s the hard thing about having hope it’s all inside of us and up to us if we have it or not.
I have heard these word as of late “I have no hope to live another day” or “I have no hope in being loved again”…well I can’t say that I haven’t uttered those exact same words many times. I believe that not having hope is a death sentence to your soul. Hope to me, is the one thing that will bring us out of the dark reaching for the precious touch of warm life. In my life hope is my greatest weapon.
Now where I think faith and hope go hand and hand…..this has saved my life….
I have broken this into 4 basic principles:
I need you to have hope: Although I don’t see faith as necessarily being unrealistic, you absolutely must keep an open mind to the unexpected, the surprise, and the astonishing. People with faith always have hope because they know there is more to life than what meets the eye. Be a realistic, but also an optimist. Focus on the positive, and trust that natural forces like time, human goodness and being creative can unlock the solution you seek.
You will need to surrender: Holding a vision for the future and having a clear intent is critical to faith, but not as much as the willingness to resist turning hopes into goals and expectations. Surrender asks that we live with humility, giving up the idea that we know what is best for ourselves and others. Surrender teaches us that being fully present and allowing life to unfold are transformative and empowering. It’s about being so vulnerable that you know you are invincible. (This to me is the most important but yet the most difficult….being vulnerable)
You must have perspective: Faith asks us to step back – way back. Faith says, don’t always look at life through the worrying eyes of a mouse, who examines every detail and counts every seed. Instead, look at life through the eyes of a star, watching galaxies turn and planets come and go. Faith looks at life from the top down, instead of the bottom up. It asks us to hold all our challenges in the vastness of time and human experience.
Trust in your gut: Faith knows that the world speaks to us through our own hearts and souls. Learn to listen to your own gut feelings and sense of vitality. Know that the mystery you have faith in is already at work within you, not only around you. The clues and cues that bring us to miracles are as close as our own breath.
I know this blog was a long one, but as I finish my thoughts, and we are a day after Valentine’s Day, I can’t help but feel I left out something…. Love!
1 Corinthians 13:13
Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.
I have already told and shared my thoughts on love…I will share it again here…I have faith you will find hope and ultimately the greatest feeling of all….Love
Ok so I am about to go a little deep on you guys (imagine that). I have been through so much and a lot in the last couple of months. Have lost people I never thought I would be able to live without, and have met people I would have never imagined being a part of my life. People have been asking me what my opinion is on this and on that, Zack what do you feel about this and about that. I usually have the answers readily available, not because I am smarter than anyone, but because I believe wise men are not born with their knowledge, we are born from our fires of our mistakes and faults. So here it is….. My little 2 cents on the feeling you people call “love”…everyone has their own definition. It may come out of nowhere and hit you like a ton of bricks…it may take years to show its face…it may destroy you with one blow…but for me my definition of “love”, I am waiting for is this..
I want to be able to see all of her, every scar, every crack, and every rough edge. I want to make her forget exactly how she got each one. The kind of love when I place my hands on her, she can feel my palms writing our novel on her skin…for that first kiss to be so good, I want it to mean something. Being with someone I can’t get out of my head, so that when our lips finally touch, she will feel it everywhere. A kiss so hot and deep that we will not want to come up for air. You cannot cheat that first kiss, and I do not want to, because if she is the right person, that first kiss will turn into my everything. She will be the first thing I touch in the morning and the last thing I taste at night. The touch that finally brings me to life after so many years in my darkness. To finally hear her voice that makes all my troubles fade, the voice that tells me that I am good enough, and tells me that I have done enough…now I can finally rest. Do I want her to save me? No, all I want is for her to stand next to me and hold me while I save myself. Just want our love to be simple so I can trust without thinking. To shower her with my affection and my patience, and love unconditionally. Someone that we can accept each other’s flaws instead of trying to weed through them. Loving the whole person not just parts…this to me is how I picture my love. When I tell her “I love you” it lands on her soul like a tattoo, to be there till the last breath escapes. This is my love this is my dream.