My wife and I met through a mutual friend. We fell in love. We were married in September of 2005, and we are raising three children (though two are in their mid-twenties). We are members of Grace Baptist Church, Michelle is a licensed insurance agent, I am a district manager for a quickly growing acquisitions car wash company, and our children are doing well. We spend our time taking care of our home and eating as many meals as are allowed by the weather, on our screened in deck. This is a great story to tell when we meet religious people.
My wife and I met at a local country bar. We dated for two months, broke up, got back together after Christmas (she claims it was so that I would not have to buy Christmas presents), got married, divorced, lived together soon after the divorce, and were married again in 2010. The divorce did not work out. My wife is a secretary for an insurance company, and I work at a car wash. Sometimes we fuss and fight, sometimes we got to the movies, sometimes we cannot believe how great our lives are. We love each other. This is a good story when we meet people outside of religion.
I am married. I have three kids. I work about 50-55 hours a week, I write, my youngest son and I are launching a card and gift company, and I find it hard to juggle my time between the projects that I have and the time I need to spend with my family. Sometimes I see the world as wonderful and sometimes it is hard to see the good in any effort to make bad things better. I prefer listening to books on Audible rather than reading print copies, and I learn, sometimes by what I see, rather than what I study. As much as I would like to help others, I often miss or pass on opportunities to do so. I am addicted to coffee, Diet Mountain Dew, and nicotine (in the form of vaping and an occasional dip when I mow my yard). This is the story I tell when I want people to believe I am busy.
Regardless of how we met or how rocky our path has been, I love Michelle in a way that both frightens me and assures me all at once. I am proud of each of my children more than they will ever know, even in their making mistakes. My love for church folk falls into my broader category of my love for all-folk, and I realize we are all just working the proverbial “it” out, in our own ways. I choose to do everything I do, and in doing so, am more likely to enjoy what I am doing, including working on relationships, parenting, projects, working, and learning. At the risk of sounding unpopular, I even enjoy coffee, Diet Mountain Dew, and nicotine.
The Real Truth…
Even the truth of my story is not true, because of omission, perspective, and desire. There are things I have left out because they are embarrassing. There are things that I convey that are not accurate because they are based on how I choose to see them. Still, there are things I shared because I wanted to convey a certain image. We all do this.
How we tell our stories matter. We may think it matters to the person hearing our stories, and it does, but it matters also to us. The way we tell our stories matters most when we are telling our stories to ourselves. What we hear in our hearts, and choose to run over and over in our minds, is important. Our “self-talk” shapes us.
I am not advocating standing in front of a mirror and convincing our fifty pound overweight selves that we are slim. I am not saying we can alter the way a doughnut affects our health if we repeat the words, “this is broccoli, this is broccoli, this is broccoli”. Nicotine and caffeine are not good for me, but what is worse for me than consuming those, is feeling bad or guilty for the indulgence. We do not need mind games. We need focus.
If I were to lose $5,000 in a bad investment, I can either moan and groan over the missing funds, spend my time imagining all that I could have done with that money, or take the lesson and be thankful it was not more. Even better, I might be grateful for the ability to earn more. If someone wrongs me, I can be thankful for the chance to forgive. If I am ill, I can be thankful for the healing process that has already begun in my body. If I am ignored, I can know that what I offered was given to the Universe, and not only to those around me. In the words found on a song at the end of “The Life of Brain”, which I highly recommend, “always look on the bright side of life”.
If I remember correctly, et toi in French means “and you”. Pretty impressive retention skills from a tenth grade class where my main focus was a crush on the teacher. What of you? What should you think about yourself? What words should be flowing through your head at any given point in time? This is for you to decide. I recommend “Let It Be”, or “All Things Must Pass”, or “You Are So Beautiful”. As it happens, you can plant these songs in your head by listening to The Beatles, George Harrison, or Joe Cocker. This is not cheating. It is a help along the way.
You are a vessel of the creative force of the Divine. That is, at the least, kind of a big deal. You have both the ability to destroy life and to generate a smile. You have the power to help another person or to trip them up. You are not alone in your endeavors, though at times, it might seem this way, and you are a miracle and joy of the Creator. Own it. Live it. Enjoy it.
It is for you to do a thing that creates happiness in a person, either by holding a door, or by offering a smile, or by sending a card, or any other method. This is not for the person you are helping, but for you, so that you might tap into the love the Universe is always giving. That is more addictive than any of my other vices. It simply feels good. One of the only proofs there is for the constant out flowing of love that is offered by God is what we feel when we replicate that constant out flowing of love. God does not need to prove. We do not need proof. But we do need love. Let it flow through you and see if it is not returned. Have a happy day.