Friday, December 17, 2010

I am an Epistle

In my last blog I made the proclamation that when we find ourselves in the midst of one of life’s crossroads we are forced to confront the reality of where we have been. Why? Isn’t the ultimate goal to turn from our past? Shouldn’t I just focus on moving towards the future God has planned for me? 

An epistle is basically defined as a formal letter. In 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 Paul reveals to us that “we are epistles, written on hearts, known and read by everyone, revealing that we are letters of Christ, being delivered, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on stone tablets, but on the tablets of human hearts.”

I have kept a journal for well almost ten years. My initial intentions were to simply keep a recorded log for my children to have of me after I pass on. I wanted to walk them through the worlds that I live in that are so often off limits to outsiders. Verbal words can only express so much, especially to a young child growing up. I wanted to provide them written expressions of myself. When I pass on I want to leave them my words. Words I forgot to say. Words I didn’t say enough. I want the weight off of their shoulders because they know of the depression episodes that sometimes would be accompanied by suicidal thoughts. I want them to know I was inside, behind those blank eyes.

I want them to know it was the mania that they couldn’t move enough for and not me. And that it wasn’t everything thing they did that aggravated me, that it was the mania. When they read my journals I want them to know I did my best and I fought hard so that if there are any resentments for my failures they will know it was the bipolar.

Here lately as I have been reflecting on the changes and growth that Christ has made within me. I often find myself thumbing back and forth through my journals. The last four and a half years stick out the most to me. Without going into the details of those years yet, I will say they were the closest to hell that I ever want to get. Those years took a toll on me so much that I would believe they took ten years off my life. So to cope I drank. I drank every day. But I stopped eating too. So I read of myself during the last five years before I cried out to God in that bullpen in county jail. I was a very miserable man. The life had been sucked out of me by then. I had reached a point to where I didn’t care anymore. I read my journals and now I think, “Who is this guy?” “I don’t remember feeling this way.”  It’s like reading a new book.

I wrote the following poem in one of my journals on May 2nd, 2006 about my concern for being a good father. It was during a long depressive episode I had battled for months prior to. In the midst of this episode I suffered loss that was to be the beginning of the strongest attacks I had ever faced testing my faith and walk with God. Needless to say I failed, but God didn’t. This poem is titled Empty Pages. Now I see it foretells me as now looking back to then, the beginning.  I recognize that God is the Giver, entrusting me with my children, the pages. It expresses my concerns as a father, the writer, and my ability to write on my pages.
Empty Pages

Empty pages only I can write on
Given by the Giver with no instructions
Yet with full responsibility to write
I choose why, when, how, and what to write

For my convenience I name the pages
Names that reflect my heroes and life
Soon after a page was in my hands
Neither the Giver nor the pages helped me

They came at intervals, one after another
To be cherished, nourished and nurtured
For each to be known and attached to me
And to write on each and all of them

The pen to write with was not given
It occurred to me that my life was the pen
And the ink I use would have lasting imprint
The imprint would reflect my choice of ink

My ink, would it be love or hatred?
Would it be self-sacrifice or selfishness?
Would it be contentment or whining?
What would I choose for the ink with lasting imprints?

Would the Giver write it on His pages?
Would I tell Him that others also wrote on the pages?
And that I had no choice for the ink they used?
Why would he trust me so much with His property?

Writing on the pages is a hard noble vocation
I write on a page but sometimes nothing seems written
Or what’s written disappears after a while
Yet I must write. Not writing is writing of a kind.

The writing starts with the first page, never to end
No holidays, no sick leave, no vacations
Writing on the pages cannot be left to chance
It cannot be left to others or to manmade writers

Sometimes I question the Giver’s choice of the writer
Is the writer qualified to leave his imprint on his pages?
How can he be? This is his first time with each page
Writing on the pages is an on the job training

I write, rewrite, and I write more, for not writing is writing
My pages, they bear my blood and my name
Need my writing and rewriting, for not writing is writing
Will the Giver, God, want what I write in their minds and hearts?

I’m looking back. I don’t want to go back. I’m hearing God say, “See, you are at this crossroads because of what I brought you out of. Now write. You have a lot to say.”
So I will write. Some will be literal, some will be by example. I must remember that I, myself am an unfinished script. A work in progress at the hands of the Giver.

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Where my inspiration comes from

A Recycled-Dad with Bipolar & Parkinson's, reflections on fathering and family life and other stuff thrown in'll love my Soap Box Rants

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Why I call myself a Recycled Dad

I call myself a Recycled Dad because of the struggles with remarriage and being a step-parent and weekend dad. This is also about my life living with bipolar and how it affects me personally, my family and my job. It also reflects on the grace God has poured out on me throughout recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder. Recycled Dad is about my reflections on the wisdom God teaches daily on fatherhood and being a better husband in spite of being bipolar.

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