As an older man now I have the perfect vision of hindsight. I have quite a bit of it. It is too bad that when we’re young we don’t consider much for foresight and its consequences. I don’t fault anyone for my mistakes. Some were large, some were small and insignificant. The latter made little to change my life, but the larger ones did.
I’ve hurt people badly and for that I am truly sorry. The problem is I made choices I tried to live with and found them impossible to do so as I grew older.
What I say first is the hardest to confess. I married at the age of twenty-one. I most assuredly now know I should have reconsidered it. It’s not that good didn’t come from it. I have two wonderful sons, who are successful in life and I feel have been positive contributors to society. One is a district manager of a major banking chain and the other served this country for twenty-one years and retired as a Master Sergeant. I have two wonderful granddaughters, one of which I have not seen in five years. I’m an outcast for deciding I could no longer continue in marriage hence the younger granddaughter’s absence from my life.
People can speculate what happened, but to put it straightforward it’s no one’s business about the details. Let’s just say it happened.
I will only say that I grew unhappy with everything, not just marriage. I also grew to realize that all the good my church did for my maturity as a Christian did not change the fact that there were corrupt leaders in the church. It bordered on being a cult. When the pastor says you better be to a service unless you’re dead or dying should tell you just an inkling of many other things that was used to control members. You might say I should give him a little leeway in the statement, but I knew he was serious. I also saw him use people’s talents to further his cause and when he was done with them they were tossed aside like empty wheat husks from the harvest.
Maybe no one else is brave enough to say it without anger, but I can. I’m a most compassionate person and it’s a virtue that’s been tested. Don’t ask me. Ask people who know me. I spent thirty years of my life honing that skill. I saw a lot of people hurt and leaving the church over what I saw. I even confronted the pastor about his actions, but that was of little consequence.
I could never develop a relationship with this man, although his call to prospective leadership was to get close to him. I don’t know of anyone who ever got close to him stayed very long. I knew some para-famous pastors who tried, but ran as far the other way as they could once they got to know him. One of my fellow deacons confided in me after I left the church that a seasoned ministry told him to run, not walk, but run as fast as you can from him when he left. This seasoned ministry was one of my pastor’s mentors on top of all that.
My relationship with God suffered greatly over the last seven to ten years. In the beginning of realizing this I found one important issue I needed to confront. I had grown weary in well-doing. Works will not foster a robust, healthy relationship with God. It will, however, cause one to lose their spiritual acuity. In the beginning of my walk I had a close relationship with God and could talk with Him. I’d grown dull to His voice. I lost my conversation into the spiritual realm. Relationship was lost.
One final word on this part of life was that I realized something no one else seemed to catch onto. When my pastor gave up this role in leadership to become something more of a pastor emeritus it became apparent to me he was suffering from a chronic disease. He would end up in the hospital to remove fluid from his lungs. It would be as much as a liter in an overnight stay in the hospital. I knew what that meant, but no one would speak it. He was experiencing congestive heart failure. Knowing this he gave over the reins of pastoral care to another. He passed away the first of June 2009 at his desk preparing for service for the next morning.
Once he passed the new pastor was quick to move away from the methods and means of the old way the church was run and even changed the name of the church to remove the stigma of all that had gone before. All of my past there was gone, save the memories of what once was.
Now my life had been stripped of marital and spiritual relationship. I ended up dealing with depression, anxiety attacks and sitting in a psychologist’s office. Losing marriage drove me there. The church was an ancillary loss past that.
Just a brief insight to the marriage can be summarized here. Well over a year, more like two before I ended it, I began my research as to what should I do. I tried to put things together in my head as to what I should do. She tried to leave me once during that time and for the second time in our marriage I talked her into staying. I should have relinquished and let her go then. Maybe I wouldn’t have been such a bad guy then. I’ll admit I met someone just prior to leaving, but I didn’t expect it to be a major factor in leaving. I would have left anyway. Our roads crossed at a crucial time in both our lives, yet we clicked. If no one else understands or believes it we both decided both of us should walk away if it was felt necessary by either of us and we did do that for a while. Once I left the damage was done and I was in counseling. Needless to say it was of little use to me. I explained to the psychologist about my separation and meeting someone else. His description of her was a “shiny new toy”. If I were to go back today I would have to tell him my “shiny new toy” is still shining as brightly and more than ever.
At that time I’d learned what failed relationship was. I’d lost my marriage, church and more than anything else my spiritual relationship.
Then came out of the dust of a failed past a woman I could not get away from. I know I write a lot about her, but it’s impossible to not write about her. Libby told me once if I needed to go back to my wife she would honor my decision even though it would sadden her. She was not going to hold to me if I didn’t want a relationship with her. I told her the same. It was her choice to stay with me if she so chose. From that we began to build a relationship. All prior relationships had conditions, but this one did not. We didn’t place any conditional requirements on one another. We accepted each other for who we were. . .baggage and all. And believe me, we do have baggage and we deal with it. Still our love for each other has grown out of that simple unconditional love for each other.
Since then we’ve grown together more tightly than I would have ever supposed. When I was thirteen or so I asked God one night. . .well more than “one” night. . .what my future wife would look like. Libby is that woman. I recognized her a long time ago as that dream come true. We both sometime opine why we did not meet when we were young. We would have had bunches of kids. I can picture them all tow-headed rascals with both boys and girls. Still we have life as it is. Like I said it isn’t all bad. We just walked different paths and when we met we found that what we have here is. . .relationship. Right relationship. A solid relationship. The title above is a play on Andy Griffith’s story “What it was, was football”. Sometimes we have to look back to figure out what things are. What Libby and I have is just that. What it is, is relationship.