Let There Be

“Darkness hovering Grasping everything it sees Void empty Absent life and absent dream…”

Darkness didn’t take long to stake its claim on me. I was still very much an impressionable kid when I was thrown into some horrifically adult situations that no one has any business being subjected to.   I hadn’t even made it through elementary school before I was both sexually abused and introduced to pornography. I still have moments when, decades later and completely out of the blue, images from the first porn movie I ever saw will expose themselves in my head.  They are burned in my memory, and I have had to make peace with the fact that these broken pieces will remain with me until I am gone from this earth. I wasn’t at all old enough to be aware of the effects these images, and the ones that I added on my own to my mental library over the years, would severely disable my ability to look at women without Darkness hovering over me, grasping at and distorting everything I saw.  By the time I realized what was happening, the damage was already done, and I felt powerless to know how to stop it, much less reverse the damage. As I became a young adult, I was already slipping in and out of depression.  It came to a head during the Great Depression of ’97, when I was unemployed, living with my folks, and barely able to get out of the house at all.

“Let there be…”

It was during this Great Depression that I was introduced through concentric circles of friends to a young woman named Nikki Laws.

“Angels toil and crack open scrolls of ancient dreams Countless worlds of his Brilliant stars and breath and stream…”

For reasons that I still have yet to completely fathom, Nikki took an interest in drawing me out of my house. She would invite me out to her youth group meetings, and afterwards we would go to a Denny’s or Bob Evans or somewhere for food, and she would ask me about what I was going through.  I would tell her quite honestly about things.  And, instead of running away in fear, she would sit there and ask more questions. After a few months or so of this, Nikki kissed me.  Through my depression-induced fog, I realized that she wasn’t just a really cool person that I liked being around.  There was something else that had sprouted up out of the ground. Nikki was an absolute angel to me, and she was instrumental in helping me process a lot of things and work my way out of the depression (at least to the point of being able to carry on living again).  About a year and a half later, we were married. For years, I have tried to keep my eyes and my mind pure for my wife.  However, despite my best efforts, the Darkness has always been close at hand, waiting seep out of the brokenness.

“Let there be…”

Nearly three years ago, while I was in the middle of losing a hundred pounds, I came to the staggering realization that I can change.  It started with the diet, but I began to wonder if perhaps the Darkness could change, too. It took nearly a year after making that realization for me to actually find the courage to place my feet inside a therapist’s office to ask for help. I’ll never forget that day, because I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to walk in and ask this particular therapist. But truth be told, I was terrified.  Please, God, surely not this therapist? She’s roughly my age. She’s a SHE, for crying out loud.  This is a joke, right? But I felt compelled to.  I had to. “Yes, child.  This therapist.” I couldn’t not go in and talk to her.

“Where there is darkness Let there be light Where there is nothing Let there be light…”

It’s been about two years now that I’ve been facing my Darkness, slowly exposing it, bit by bit, to the light.  There’s been a lot of change in me.  I am not the same person I was when I first set foot in my therapist’s office. But there’s a lot of change yet to be made in me, too.  The more Darkness that I shine the light on, the more I realize that there is yet more Darkness in me. To be honest, there are days that feel like the Darkness might still yet overwhelm me.  This fight is taking a ridiculous amount of effort, and I still sometimes doubt that I have enough strength in me to see it through to the end. BUT… I keep fighting.  I have seen enough victories in the past two years to have hope that I have not yet seen my last victory. My marriage is worth keeping up the fight for.  My life is worth keeping up the fight for. So I steel myself for the next round.  Darkness may have grasped a lot of time in my life… but I will not let it grasp Me. Let there be light…

Un-Pressing Pause

If you’ve ever read anything about writing a successful blog (or even if you just have a modicum of common sense about you), you’ll know that Step One is to… you know… write something.

If you look closely at the dates on my posts, you can see that I haven’t even been following Step One. I have a number of hats that I try to wear professionally, relationally, and creatively, and sometimes I grab too many hats and try to cram them all on my head at once. This is, of course, just as ridiculous as it is impossible, and that’s when hats start falling to the floor.

This blog was one of those hats, and it fell to the floor with a startlingly severe case of writer’s block. It doesn’t seem that writer’s block should set in when you haven’t even been writing for a month, yet here I am.

But here you are, too. Over the past couple months, a number of folks have come up and poked me with a stick to make sure my writing wasn’t completely dead. So thanks to each of you that has gently encouraged me to pick the hat up off the floor and keep writing.

Rest assured, I’m here with every intention to keep writing, and even with a couple of things in mind to write about.

Even the process of writing seems to be a road that I’m traveling slowly. I suppose that sort of thing shouldn’t surprise me anymore, since it’s all still part of my long road…

When We’re Alone

I cannot count how many times I’ve been writing something over the past couple of weeks (throughout my life?) and the fear in my head says, “So what?  Why are you even writing this?  What do you even have to say about this that’s worth mentioning?  What do you think you can accomplish with this?  Why bother?”

And the first answer that I always come up with is, “I don’t know.”

So I stop.  I lose focus, I lose sight of the trail I was following toward whatever point I was hoping to make, and I stop.

There are a number of drafts that are saved on my blog that haven’t been published, and countless more ideas that I haven’t written, because I’ve questioned myself, lost my nerve, and stopped before they were done or even started.

Even though I’ve already launched this site, and even though a lot of folks have told me how much they appreciate what I’ve been writing…

I’m still not sure I should be doing this.

Purchasing the domain name for this site was a complete spur-of-the-moment, do-it-before-you-lose-your-nerve-and-back-out-of-this decision.

I’ve taken such a long time learning to believe that maybe I have something worth saying.

Sometimes I am so unsure of what I’m even trying to say when I sit down and start writing.

I don’t feel like a writer.

but

I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that stop me.

Because I know I’m not alone… and neither are you.

We’re not alone in doubting our skills, our voice, our life.

We’re not alone in feeling lost sometimes.

We’re not alone in feeling stuck sometimes.

We’re not alone when we feel like we’re in way over our heads.

We’re not alone when we feel like we’re stumbling around in the dark sometimes.

We’re not alone when we feel like it’s taking far too long to learn life’s lessons.

We’re not alone in feeling like we have a world of questions but so very few (if any) solid answers…

That’s why I’m writing, and that’s why we all have to keep going, keep doing what we can’t not do.  To keep asking questions, and sharing any answers we may stumble upon.  To keep reminding ourselves that we’re not alone, and to keep reminding each other that they’re not alone, either.

Because we’re all on this long road of life together.

Ending the Terror

I wasn’t planning on writing anything special for Martin Luther King Day, but I just read something that changed my mind.

There is a piece from DailyKos.com that is making its way around the web today entitled “Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did.”  It was first published in August 2011, but I hadn’t seen it before.  I urge you, especially today, to read it.

Seriously.

Go.

Right now.

Read it.  (There, I’ve even linked to it twice now so you don’t have to move the cursor back up the page to the first link.  I’m saving you time and effort.  Take advantage of it.)

I’ll wait for you to come back.

Continue reading Ending the Terror

Waiting for the Dawn

I was cleaning old files off of my laptop a few months back when I ran across an old journal entry.  I posted it on my Facebook page, and the positive comments, text messages, and conversations I got from it was overwhelming.  This post ultimately lead me to put this website together and start writing again.

The entry was originally written eight years ago on my birthday-gift-laptop, as I sat outside, waiting for the sun to come up over the Chesapeake Bay.  Being able to view these words with eight more years of life and change in my rearview mirror, the truth behind them is even more palpable today:
Continue reading Waiting for the Dawn

…thoughts from along the way

%d bloggers like this: