A few simple words...

This morning, I had the opportunity to walk over to the FHSU Memorial Union and speak to a group of middle and high school students who are on campus for a conference.  The title of my 30 minute time to talk was "Live it".  I meandered a bit aimlessly this morning, a general idea of what I was going to say.

I typically don't have a defined path, I guess I just sit and listen prior to speaking.  Yeah, without a doubt my talk will be about life.  Yeah, without a doubt my talk will include death.  To some, the idea of talking about death to a group of 7 thru 12th grades may seem a bit crazy.

As I approached the front of the room to begin talking, the kids were shifting, moving from butt cheek to butt cheek.  Yeah, they were ready to get up and go.  Pencils moving, water bottles rolling, they were just being kids.

A few simple words brought complete silence to the room.  My voice crackled as it always does, tears filled my eyes as they always do.  "My son Blake was killed in a car accident just outside of Hays, KS".  I can't say it without tearing up, the emotions flood my body like gates opening at the Panama Canal.

Not a pencil moved.  Every eye in the room was glued to my next word.  "I don't want to be here, but it's the only way I can keep my sons voice alive" I shared.  The lessons he taught me far to powerful to hoard, to stack within, one upon another.  In time, his death would be wasted.

I was exactly where I needed to be, speaking from the heart.  The message within the voice.  The voice from a broken heart.  The broken heart that will forever mend.  The mending that takes place in changing lives.  The changed lives that create new life.  

The cycle of life begins with me, in this moment of time.  A beginner forever.  Doors never to be sealed, but to be broken down.  "Live it" 

I'm just a beginner...

As I sit here this morning writing, I'm thinking about the fact that I'm just a beginner.  Today I turn 50.  A milestone in my life, I can only hope it marks halfway.  After Blake's death, I remember wishing that something would take me from this world.  

If only a headache could be a tumor, if only that tightness in my chest would be a massive heart attack ready to take me away.  I didn't want to live, but didn't have the courage to pull my own trigger.  The thought of living with the pain within was daunting to me.  

Last evening I sat with 300 parents as pictures of all our children who died far to young scrolled across the wall.  When my sons picture appeared, I lite my candle.  I sat, tears in my eyes watching the flame.  My life has just begun.

No, I never imagined being a part of this group, but I was exactly where I was supposed to be.  I'm just a beginner, so much to learn, so much to do, so much to say.  I don't live to keep my son alive, I live because my son is alive in everything I do.  

My journey through death and divorce has left scars, but they're only reminders of my strength.  Reminders that when it hurts, I don't have to get up.  Reminders of the power within.  

I'm just a beginner, today I wake wide eyed and ready to learn.  Ready to take it all in as I never know what the next step may bring.  My bones my be 50, but my heart, mind and hands have just begun.

Be safe and well, but more importantly, be yourself.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.  The mind is everything. What we think we become.” - Buddha

730 days ago...

I'm humbled by the miles I've traveled in the past 730 days.  Two years ago this morning I set off on a journey of discovery.  I was desperate to find peace and to answer questions that I had bouncing uncontrollably within.  I honestly wasn't sure I wanted to live another moment.

Everything I felt that I needed to move forward in my life was neatly tucked away in storage, I closed the door.  The clacking as the door rolled shut to the life that was no more.  I desired peace, but didn't know that I had the strength to find it.

As the door hit the concrete, I reached for the latch and slowly put the lock on the door.  The question of WHO would open this door was on my mind, honestly, I prayed within it would be me.  

Without a doubt I had work to do, only this work wasn't a home to rebuild or a fence to straighten.  It was work within and the darkness scared me to death.  I was now a man faced with the reality of my past, I had to face it to move to the future.  

Several years before as I stood at my sons grave, the traffic continued to go by without a hint of slowing.  I wanted the world to stop, I couldn't afford another second forward.  Every second forward was a second farther from the last hug my son and I shared.  The distance in seconds was like a spaceship hurling toward Mars.

As I walked away from my things in storage and sat in my car with my hand on the ignition, I knew the days ahead would be difficult.  The spaceship was me, tumbling toward a world I didn't understand.  Afraid to breath, afraid to blink.  Seconds seemed liked hours.

730 days ago I set off on a journey of self discovery, what I found inspired me.  What I found within beyond the muck, the despair and the regret was a man who stood strong.  "This no more" I proclaimed, "there must be another".  

There was and there is.  In the darkness I inspired.  In the darkness I inspired myself.  I will and I can.  I found my answers within, the questions vanished.  

It's OK to inspire...

On Friday I had to drive to Topeka to attend a state board of appraisers meeting. Long story how I ended up on this board but I'm really enjoying the experience. Anywho, road time usually equals think time for me.

I rarely turn on the radio, I use the time to just think about life. Kind of a who, what, where and when review of what's been taking place. The time is like a super mini time in exile away from the static. 

After the drive to and from, I made a trip to West 17th and spent some time admiring the progress we've made the past month. The amount of work it has taken to get to this point and knowing the amount of work that still lay ahead.

The parallels between the renovation of this home and my life leave me a bit speechless. The empty shell stood waiting for a reason to live again. Patient yet persistent in standing until the time was right. The sun rose and set, days turned to months, months to years.

I look back on my life and the experiences I've had, good and bad, not a piece of the puzzle missing. I had to seek it to find it, my way. Unconventional? Only to others, to me it made perfect sense. I'm no longer a crab in a bucket. I won't allow you to grab my ankle, but I will give you my hand.

I have a story to be written, I simply refuse to write a rough draft. The outline makes little sense, as I'm here, not pretending to be there. My reality is mine, only mine, only from my perspective. I inspire me, because when no one is looking I do the little things.

and the little things are what led me here, to this moment.

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