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“Tomorrow found in today; what’s ahead discovered in days behind.”
This has become somewhat of an echoing mantra and anchoring core value in my life. Often what we need for today and beyond lies in the path behind us. A risk that taught us to trust more. A failure that taught us bravery. A mistake that taught us humility. A hurt that taught us to bleed. A loneliness that taught us to find. A darkness that taught us courage. A victory that taught us to win.
Whatever those steps pressed into the ground of yesterday hold, above all, they hold life and answers and path.
The writing of my book gave perfect opportunity to look back, gaze upon the burning heap of dreams behind ...look ...love ...want ...hurt ...break, and mostly ...find. Recounting pieces of my past floating, stretching further apart on life pulling like the tide and swelling waves, has, in a way, been the greatest happening. Many days I felt like a scavenger walking through barren lands once rich and fertile, now hollow and uninhabited. And then, I would stumble upon deep wells of remembrance whispering words I couldn’t understand but laced with promise and passage finding penetrating way into the chambers of my heart.
Losing my wife, a woman whom I loved indescribably, did nothing less than change me completely.
Life turned unexpectedly and unforgivably. I stopped lost in tracks. The steps behind me began to guide me with each faith-filled, God following, narrowly trusting, grace infusing step into the unknown.
Future bowing to past in homage and honor. My eyes learned new, the value of unknown and how to choose.
Here’s an excerpt central to my story from a chapter currently entitled, “Surely Goodness and Mercy.”:
I saw a man alone, subdued by pain, frightened by the fear of all that may be some day, and I quietly asked to never be that man. I can't. I won't. The man fumbling through fading memories like a thief holding a leaking bag, the man stumbling drunk on why things settled they way they did, talking to himself, mumbling angrily and hurt. That will not be me.
My daughters will not know him. They might see me wince and wrestle to the ground... But they will never know a hollowed heart comfortable only in shadows. I may not have much greater to give them than that but it will be an echo that resounds like bells of freedom in their warm little hearts. Always. I pray.
I will not allow myself to be the man hollowed by pain, afraid of shadows and those things which lie in waiting. Life may indeed only seem to take from us, days, memories, happiness, but courage is mine to give. And the source, it is immeasurably and unfathomably deep. It is unending. Through darkened spots and failing strength, the reason for courage remains.
For months following her death, I only prayed for God to piece back together the life I was forced from. So little did I know and perceive the beauty of his bridge building redemptive ability lies within the thinnest, most inescapable steps when I am invited to only follow and not need bearing or direction or understanding.
Each day, a decision. Choose wisely. Trust ridiculously. Step faithfully.
... A day forsaken is a day forgotten. So many want only to escape.