As I reflect on my last article, Fire is Imminent Part I, I realize a few things:
- My blog no longer has anything to do with its original intent (journaling my first marathon) and I really need to either start another blog or put some time into a revamping this one.
- That my running experience has brought out some of the initial signs of the drought condition in my life.
- Before I can discuss my world perspective and the path I believe that God is opening before us, I need to reconcile the last few years of drought that have brought me to this place.
- Attempting to paint pretty nature metaphors is not my forte.
Another Disclaimer: Today’s entry is not for you. After observing this past season of agenda driven manipulation, I feel that it is important that I establish in my heart just where I stand, what agenda and motivation might be driving me, and whether I have any business moving forward with any thoughts that might be considered persuasive or argumentative. If I continue with this series, this journal may have no bearing whatsoever on discussions that are ahead. Feel free to stop reading now and save yourself a boring read.
Good Bye Daddy: In the fall 2007, life revolved around our first experience of giving away a daughter in marriage A wedding is obviously a very emotional time. For me it turned out to be an Alpha/Omega moment. Obviously, it was the beginning of a new life for Sarah and Michael, but it signaled to me the beginning of the end for me (Daddy). During Sarah’s wedding I removed a white linen scarf from my neck and placed it on Michael’s to signify the passing of my fatherly covering on to her new husband. Though out my adult life, I was able to hide behind the noble pursuit of marriage and fatherhood; now I began to realize that I could no longer cower behind my role as Daddy. God had an identity that He had established for me from the beginning; A purpose much bigger that I was willing to accept, but I could no longer hide from it. So what does one do when he is exposed? … obviously one runs!
Enter the Maraman: After the wedding, Taylor, a friend at work handed me a book, “Ultra Marathon Man” by Dean Karnazes. As the book was passed around the office, a group of us decided to sign up for the Louisville Derby Festival Marathon in April 2008. I won’t go into the rest of that story since this site was created for that purpose. If you are still reading (God love you) and are interested in that journey you can start with, About – Just a Footman and 1st Marathon. It was a fantastic experience that I would not trade for anything. I thought during that training that maybe this was a direction that I might want to explore. I made some attempts at gathering some people together to form a runners fellowship, but after the race the race that fire quickly died. Unfortunately, although I can run pretty well, I have no passion for it. As a matter of fact, if you read many of my blog entries you will find that I actually despise running. Since that time I have completed a sprint triathlon and some long over night relay races, but nothing has ignited any new interest.
Who the Heck You are I think? Late 2008 brought another wedding (My oldest son). Having not reconciled the first wedding, this one was more than I could handle. The fall and winter brought maybe the lowest point in my adult life. I believe that depression is often brought on by a complete lack of purpose and I had abandoned my search for purpose for a season. Suddenly I was questioning everything I had ever believed. Although I felt like my life was spinning out of control, somehow, through God’s grace, steadiness began to take control again, but not after I had made many bad decisions and hurt many people. Still confused, without a passion for much of anything, I sunk into a stagnant pool of muck. Although many major life events would occur over the next couple of years that should have brought great joy, my shoulders remained bent and I could not lift my gaze above the horizon.
New Titles / New Realizations: The Spring of 2010 brought the birth of our first grandchild and another wedding (My oldest Daughter) that brought a halt to the slide. I bore a new title, Poopaw, but it did not take me long to surmise that this new role as grandfather and associated awesome title did not give me purpose or the passion that would be required to pull me out of this self-inflicted hell-hole. Additionally, in the Spring of 2010 a glimmer of something began to grow deep down. A talent and gift that had always been evident started to emerge again out of the shadows.
Pressing Toward the Goal: Coaching had been a part of my life on and off as far back as 2005, but in 2006 I started as an assistant soccer coach. My knowledge of kids and love of sport seemed to be a enough to help out despite my complete ignorance of soccer. In 2007 I began head coaching and in the Fall of 2009 I obtained my first certification. My youngest son had moved beyond my level of coaching, but the love of these young boys and girls compelled me to continue. It became increasingly clear to me, that combining sport with character and relationship building was something that I could do that might make a difference. The Fall of 2010 brought a group of young men into my life that altered my whole view of coaching and began to give me a glimpse of the purpose that God might have for me. As I sought ways to instill character, leadership, and unity in these you men, God began to pull me out of the despair that had for so long enslaved me and set me on a path toward the goal.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
The Drought is Not Over: “I do not consider that I have made it my own” Roots are still anchored in hard and cracked ground, leaves are brown and brittle, and there is little or no fruit of any type hanging from the branches. I do not know the anguish that God feels when He looks at His creation and I am not driven by a passion to share His love, compassion, mercy and grace with a world that so desperately needs Him.
Father, drop a spark into this weed of a man and burn up all that does not bare fruit. Make real to me your anguish for a world that knows despair far beyond anything that I have encountered over my short time on earth. Set me ablaze with a passion for your will and set a clear purpose before me. If it is Your will use me to ignite a forest fire in those who are called by Your name.