Archive for the ‘Midlife’ Category

One of the gifts that is often overlooked that we need to thank God for is memory.

I have long been one to emphasize experience over things in vacations or other events.  If given a choice between two options such as going to a concert or buying some new clothes, I will always choose the concert.  Things that are truly needs, obviously come first, but if both the items above are wants, the experience wins every time.  A big part of this for me is that I can revisit the joy of the experience time and again, view it from different angles and perspectives and even get new insights thanks to the gift of memory.

Nowhere is memory more valuable than in our families.  As a blended family this can be a double edged sword as some memories of the “before time” can cause friction and tension where before they used to cause joy and pleasure.  For example, old traditions, some no longer practical, others perhaps “lost” because of an agreement with your spouse to compromise and just do something new, can cause issues especially if they are brought up by the children.  Suddenly the old dynamics of the earlier days, of sides, come up.  It might be a place that was regularly visited that has value to some but has little pull to the other “side” or to an activity undertaken as specific milestones in life that were fun for some but that seem stupid and silly to the other “side”.  How we look at memories can determine how this proceeds in a blended family.  Just as with any gift, it is not always only a good thing.  A new toy may be sheer joy and pleasure for the kids but a major irritant to one parent who cannot stand the noise or the mess it makes.  Similarly, if we choose to keep bringing up these old memories and lamenting over what once was and then starting to frame the new family as the barrier that exists in making it happen again, we are only headed for bad things.  Instead, I find that celebrating those memories for what they were, experiences at a place in time in a certain family configuration and just enjoying them in quiet times is what is best about them.  I do think this only works if you are making new memories, which comes back full circle to my focus on experiences over things.  I would imagine a life in which you stopped making new memories as a blended family and only lamented those things you used to do before you blended could very easily lead to heartache and sadness.

My own personal memory sink right now has to do with Marcia.  I wrote several months back about her decision to move out.  Since then contact with her has really been non-existent.  I reach out to her with an e-mail or text when I feel compelled to let her know something, to parent from afar if I really analyze what it is, and this results in at best a token acknowledgement such as “OK” but more often is just greeted with radio silence.  My decision, and only time will tell if it is “right”, is to let her live her life as an adult and not force myself into it, though as a parent there is some pain in a child just tuning you out of their life as if they flipped a switch.  It’s as if Marcia walked out of the house right after Thanksgiving, and much like we do when we leave the house every morning for work, looked over at the switch labeled “Dad” and flipped it to Off and then closed the door and drove away.  I have no idea if there was more to it than that (for my sanity I do think at times I have to believe there was) but in the end that’s what it feels like, an afterthought in her life on the way on to the cool things of the rest of the day.  So when I get to those points I choose to unpack a memory or two.  Perhaps it is something simple like a conversation we had, even are argument we had in her last couple years in the house, and see the good in it and her struggle to define herself in a world that she was railing against, or perhaps it was those older memories when I was her hero and we were doing something fun and exciting.  This is the gift of a memory.  It can change our perspective.  Depending on your mind though, it can be a danger.  I do not struggle with it often, and it is so rare that it is very easy for me to walk away from that cliff edge of resentment of why things are not the same, but I know of others who have this torment sometimes on a weekly basis.  These are the people who struggle to heal and move on and make the best of their blended family instead of focusing on them as the cause of why.  By the grace of God this is not a problem for me, but if it is for you, I cannot stress how crucial it is to get yourself some help or you will be heading down the trail to tension and strife that may lead you to another divorce.  When you unpack those one sided memories do not let them begin to rub you the wrong way and create judgements and barriers that can be difficult to erase.

Moving back to the true gift of memories.  The road continues on and the kids keep getting older.  Sure the big experiences build some great memories, but just as every gift from our loving Father, it is more important to appreciate the little facets of it.  Those memories that exist in the everyday, that spring forth just from the minimal effort involved in letting life unfold.  I believe I am more appreciative of it because of what has happened with Marcia leaving and those things that no longer happen.  It makes little difference if those things are negative or positive, what matters is that it has brought more to the forefront that we are closer to more of this than less, this nearness of getting to the point of the never more.

Shortly we will no longer have the sounds of a group of girls standing around the island in the kitchen and being loud and probably laughing at something I find utterly stupid.  The boys at the computer debating the best way to do something in their game at hand or talking about a video will be a thing of the past.  The house will not be quiet in the morning for about twenty minutes after I wake up and then start to echo with thumps and thwaps of footsteps or drawers or doors being moved as they all wake up and begin getting ready for school, it will just remain quiet.  We get a taste of “empty nest” on our weekends and for now my wife and I mainly view it as wonderful, but the prudent analyzer in me understands that part of this joy comes with knowing that it will end in a few days and they’ll start coming back, however one day they will head out and we’ll have no idea when they will be back and I know that will be less joyful.  This is when we need to look to the gift.

Memory will allow us to look back on all these trivial happenings, some that occurred more frequently than others, and recall.  We’ll recall them playing on the floor with the pets, being upset about some slight or other of the day, or the prayers we prayed for them each and every day.  The thousands of prayers lifted up to help them find their way.  When they all move away the home will not be empty.  There was a poem in the late 60’s by Bob Benson titled “Laughter in the Walls” and it fits well in what I’ve been talking about especially towards the end, when he says, “Every corner, every room, every nick in the coffee table will be crowded with memories”.  He goes on to list his particular memories, general enough for everyone to find something, as a commercial poet would be wont to do, but I will replace them with our own memories.  Our Creator gave us this wonderful gift, and I pray that all of us find the best ways to use it, rather than the hurtful ways it can be turned towards.  The goal for me is always good.  Thank you Father for this wonderful gift and for the wisdom to use it wisely.  To be able to say thanks for the memories and to enjoy the laughter in the walls.

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The seeming monotony of life day to day makes it hard to see the forest for the trees.  As a child every day may be full of wonder as so many things are still new.  I had a conversation with Marcia driving back home the other day where she mentioned she had no idea how to even figure out “spending in life”.  When I asked what she meant, she just said, “you know like how do you live from day to day and know what things cost”.  It led to a conversation on budgeting, but it showed one of those glimpses into the fact that even as she approaches eighteen there are still a lot of things that will be firsts for Marcia.

One of the things that I have been dealing with and that has hung over our family for a while is a lawsuit about a house I sold many years back.  I was sued by the new owners in 2012 and after they appealed many times all the way up to our state’s Supreme Court we have finally come to the end here in 2015.  Asides from the gobs of money this process consumed to defend myself against something totally fabricated the emotional energy of having that hanging over me was immense.  I went to work, lived my life, and when I look back it seems like an extraordinary effort to move through it, but with God’s help to lean on it was not.  It is these types of things that when I pause to reflect show the extraordinary of the ordinary.

In my ordinary, I’ve gone through a divorce, moved states two times, had to dig out of tens of thousands in credit card debt my wife had amassed, lost a job and been told another is on the way out, and been accused of activities I did not commit.  It is usually only when I share my story with others that they stare at me in amazement and say something along the lines of “Wow, you’d have never known you had such and such in your life.  You seem like you have it all together.”  That I think is the extraordinary in the ordinary for every one of us.  We all have events, challenges and trials that very few know about and that we move through.  If we are not drowned by them, like some unfortunately are when they let a setback, or two or five, define their lives and never rise above, the world my never know, except for those times we choose to share.

The flipside are those many blessings that come of them and that only strengthen my faith in God as the one in control.  Some things I never see and even the ones I do I may tie together with coincidence that is not really there but that my frail human mind grasps for to show the good from the bad.  The biggest is how my divorce and everything leading up to it and after played out for a better result than I could have ever imagined.  A wonderful new wife and family that I could have never foresaw in the depths of years of trying, failing, and trying again to create a marriage out of a house of toothpicks.  It seems that at least in my case God gives me enough blessings to overshadow the struggles so that I have something to lean on and point me to Him when the next trial comes along.  The lawsuit and my current struggles trying to find out what my next act in my career will be after the current door has been closed are just the latest in my life, but when I am having a down day I just need to look back, and my wife is great at pointing it out to me, and see how other situations I felt were hopeless were worked out in ways I could have never imagined.  That faith that we live for an awesome God for who nothing is impossible and who is in control is a glorious thing.

The daily slog when we talk to all our kids and it seems like nothing is sticking in that weird mass of teenage brain only to suddenly have them say or do something that just baffles you is another regular bit of extraordinary that I have given up trying to predict or explain, at least for the most part.  My type A personality makes it almost impossible for me not to keep trying to figure it out, but I definitely have gotten better at just giving it to God.

 

So the struggles continue and I just keep praying that I will be granted to patience and wisdom to let them play out without meddling more than God wants me to.

The Mall Walkers

Posted: May 23, 2014 in Christian life, God, Love, Midlife
Not them and not the mall, but close enough.

Not them and not the mall, but close enough.

I am newly married and I find that being divorced it seems to make me a little jaded to the whole romantic wedded bliss environment that is pushed on us by the movie industry and others.  On the other hand, being divorced I learned a thing or two about what causes problems in a marriage both through my own experience and through helping with a divorce ministry and through my faith.  I’d like to think this ultimately makes me a better husband, though as I admitted above I have a little tarnish to my sparkly view.

I recently popped over to the mall during lunch.  It was a nice spring day and I was very surprised that just getting out into the sunshine on one of our first really nice days this year after a long, long grey winter was amazingly invigorating, inspiring even.  I was full of energy, had a dozen ideas fly through my head about all kinds of things and was really pumped up about my life.  After all I’ve been blessed by God with a wonderful wife, a great job, terrific kids, a beautiful place to live, material resources that comfortably meet our needs and provide a little extra for fun once in a while; in short I’ve got nothing to complain about.  As I was walking through the mall in this euphoric state, I came upon them; I’ll call them The Mall Walkers.

The mall was fairly deserted at that point of the midday Monday when I chose to visit and so it was certainly easy to see anyone who was there.  I saw them approaching, an elderly couple, leisurely walking.  Now when I said mall walkers, you were probably thinking that these were those power walking folks with weights in their hands, but this couple in no way represented that frenzied, hectic lot.  No, they were just the opposite, the other bookend to that alternative mall walker.  They  were as carefree as could be, I would guess both retired, simply enjoying the here and now and strolling through the mall before it will most likely tonight transform into the teenager, child-in-stroller, parent at wit’s end place that many of understand a mall to be.  Just as I know all the things I mentioned above as examples of my life were provided by God, I know this couple being there at that time was the provided by Him for my education just as well.

The moment I saw them, I went from the life I have now to what I hope God allows my life to end like.  I want to be The Mall Walkers.  I know nothing about them except what I witnessed in those brief moments and then what my mind has added, but again I feel it was an inspiration to make me be the best I can be.  The Mall Walkers were holding hands, smiling and just casually speaking to each other.  About what, I have no idea, as I certainly did not overhear anything, but it was certainly entertaining them both as they walked and smiled.  Were they reminiscing about a past experience, talking about their grandchildren or simply discussing what they had just eaten at the food court which they may have just left?  I’ll never know but in that moment their sheer bliss of life transported me from my happy state to an even happier one where I envisioned my wife and I doing just that many years down the road and being just as happy.  The Mall Walkers were obviously in love and totally content with just each other’s company on this sunny Monday afternoon at the mall.   My wife and I sometimes talk about how we are “old” yet newly married and how we missed the chance to have met decades ago and been one of those couples who get to their 60th or 70th wedding anniversary.  My wife always chides me for harping on the negative of that and points me to the correct focus; we can still have decades together and grow old together, even though we might not get to those astronomical numbers.  She’s right and in The Mall Walkers, I was given that glimpse.  After all, what if one of the things I did not know about them was that they were both divorced and had had similar conversations decades ago when God brought them together, and look at them now?!  God’s plan for our lives is what it is, just as it is for The Mall Walkers.

The gift God provided that afternoon was to instantly through The Mall Walkers take me what I hope will be at least 40 years in the future and to just imagine.  What will all our kids have grown up and done?  How many grandchildren and perhaps great-grandchildren will we have?  How will the challenges we face today be looked at by our 40-year-plus-in- the-future  selves?  Will they be something we laugh at, as perhaps The Mall Walkers were doing with one of their old challenges, or will they have consumed us in some way, removing a piece of our essence, our identity?  I felt an immense understanding in that moment that worrying about the moment is such a waste.  God teaches us that everything works for His glory and so if we follow His ways we will get to experience some wonderful things on the way.  Where will we have traveled?  How many people’s lives will have been made better because of our influence in them?  How many new souls will God have in His Kingdom because they ran across us just walking in the mall thanking God for the wonderful life He allowed us to live?  Is that what was meant to happen today?  I know God only knows but I am thankful for the experience and for the moment in time I came across The Mall Walkers.  I pray God blesses them with many more years and strolls together so they can continue to provide that impact to others and I can only hope we do the same in some small way.

All the petty things my wife and I argue about, all the dumb things we get upset about our kids about fall away when you change your perspective.  God teaches us to look at the eternal impact of things.  How we model life for our kids will impact how they model it for theirs and so on down the generations.  The Mall Walkers are not bitter and petty people, just happy and comfortable in their place in the world.  I believe they are God fearing souls who are an happy as they are because they are at peace that they have eternal life and a loving Father awaiting them and that in the meanwhile they are doing the right things here to those ends.  That’s all I can pray for with my wife and I.  She is wonderful and she makes me more wonderful because I am with her and we support each other.  Our trials are not her trials or my trials, but our trials.  I know The Mall Walkers spent their time the same way, lifting each other and other’s up just by their presence.  I love my wife so much I can’t wait for what we can do together to make the world a better place.  All we may ever do is point our kids in the right direction and watch them grow, but if that’s God’s plan then that’s OK.  If he has a bigger plan, I’m sure he will show us the way and give us what we need to accomplish that.

Life is good.  And God is great.

The ordinaries

Posted: February 6, 2013 in Family, Midlife

For whatever reason we seem to feel that unless something noteworthy is happening then something is wrong.  As a culture this has been ingrained in us with the flood of news and other programming that just focuses on the sensational. We do not hear anything about the President eating his dinner while helping his kids with his homework, or how Alex Rodriguez had his car towed one day because he got a squirrel stuck in his fan belt.  One could argue that this “public figures” are expected to do great things and so when all we hear about is how President Obama was involved in gun legislation or Alex might be using banned substances, I guess I can buy the argument that we expect more of them.  So let’s take it so the level I’m talking about.  How often do you go to lunch with a colleague and just have them take you through what they made for dinner the last week, or meet up with a friend at a school function and talk about how many loads of laundry were done or if all the kids brushed their teeth or if he mowed his lawn yesterday?  If you are like most, the answer is never, unless of course those events played into some funny story about how while mowing his lawn yesterday he happened to run over the water valve and snap his blade and now he needs to get an expensive repair done.

Yet without this “blocking and tackling” in our lives, the big things can’t happen.  It is in the quiet slog of the ordinary that preparations for the extraordinary take place.  Our pastor talked about this week how as a Christian when we go to work we should WORK.  Not chat around the water cooler for an hour, not gossip about co-workers or do other things.  We should be a model of responsible work.  Once we prepare the table, set the example by quiet consistency not glory hounding, we can experience the feast or the victory of a job well done.  Without those ordinary processes the groundwork is not there for anything special to happen.

Too many parents, especially single parents, feel that just doing the daily tasks does not make them a success.  They don’t hold the exciting job that their child wants them to come in and talk to their class about, or have all kinds of extra money laying around to buy something that their friends will be talking about for years.  As you look back on your life what do you recall about the people in it that meant the most to you?  Were you friends with an Olympian, or did you play pick up football games with your friends, college roomies or work colleagues?  Did you get personal stories written for you by a Pulitzer Prize winner, or were the best things you ever read written by your children, your spouse or a long lost friend who reached out to reconnect on Facebook or some other medium after years of absence?  Did you race in the BMX Supercross Series on expensive equipment or were your off-road experiences on the back of a beat up ATV or a small mini-bike built by your uncle with spare parts from other engines?  Most people live very fulfilled lives and never touch greatness as all, so why are so many of us obsessed by using it to measure our lives?

It is winter right now and in many parts of  the country that means months of grey, bleak days that can cause us to focus more on the fact that each day we just do the dishes, go to work, wash the clothes, feed our families and go to bed.  These things are only dull because we feel they are.  Without them our families would not function and with that our lives would diminish and fade.   So take heart if all you feel you are doing is ordinary.  The greatest things we can provide for our families is the stable ordinary everyday life rather than chaos and drama that causes fear and uncertainty.

So last night I’m getting ready to take the kids off to the ex’s as I prepare to head out of town to my best friend’s daughter’s bat mitzvah.  As I’m backing out of the driveway I’m going through the mental checklist.  Lawn mowed.  Check.  Kid’s off to ex and explained that they will not see me tomorrow after they get off the bus but before mom picks them up.  Check.  EZPass in the car. Check.   Dog…  oh crap, THE DOG!!!

In a panic, I realize that I had completely forgotten about what to do with the dog while I am out of town.   Now to make myself not appear like a total doofus here, I do have a few things on my mind.  I’m getting married in about three weeks and I’ve been working on getting a couple bunk beds ordered from different stores this week as well as doing my job, preparing for the honeymoon by calling some vendors out where we are going and a myriad of other things.  Look.  I’m really sorry I forgot about the dog.  I’m only human.

Normally my ex takes him as she feels a sense of obligation to step in since we have the dog mainly because of her.  This weekend however, the kids have told me they are going to be at a hotel because she is redoing her kitchen.   She doesn’t have money to pay for her taxes, but she’s redoing her kitchen?   Stop.  Focus man, focus.  You need to figure out what to do with the dog.  I call her, and sure enough after I explain how I was not even sure I told her I would be out of town this weekend, she tells me that they will not be home so she can’t watch the dog.  That option has now vaporized for certain, if there was any possibility of it being real anyway.

My fiancée calls her normal person who watches her pets and children.  She works night shift so we may not hear from her for a while.  I contact the vet.  No we do not board.  Here is the number of a pet sitter we know maybe she can help.  Call her.  Leave message.   Started looking up boarding places that might not require an extensive pre-evaluation that I now do not have time for.  Thank goodness the dog is current on shots and other things.  Left some messages.  Pet sitter calls back.  She is booked.  Another option into the vapor.  Called my friend and talked to him about the possibility of the dog thwarting all our plans.  He suggests the vet.  Already done.  He suggests kennels.  I explain the evaluation process.  He goes on about how they normally just segregate them for an hour.  I explain I have done that before but, I guess in an attempt to appear more upscale, everywhere in my state requires background checks, gun permits, and DNA analysis before they will take your dog.  Sometimes they even need to take a paternity test to make sure that your dog has not fathered some cross breed with a cat or something.  If dog kennels ran Homeland Security we’d have no terrorist problems, I promise.

I talked to my parents.  I know they were trying to be helpful.  They suggested dropping him at my soon-to-be-in-laws.  I informed them they were two hours away.  I also mentioned that they do not have a dog.  They have a cat.  Who has not met my dog.  In fact my dog has not met any cats.  Probably a bad idea to have the first meeting of a new species be in a rush when heading out of town.  It works for drunk businessmen in Vegas, but probably not a good call for this situation.  There are other things I did not mention to my parents, such as not imposing on people who have plenty of other items going on, like their business and such.  We talked about the same things I talked to my friend about.   My parents do not have pets mind you, so the questions are a little weird.  Don’t they have places you can take dogs, like hotels?  Yes, kennels.  Called a few, all closed, have to wait until morning.  What about the doctor thing?   The vet?  Yes tried them.  Can you ask a neighbor?  Sadly, I am about as close to my neighbors as the rest of us.  I stand next to them with my child at the bus stop and say good morning.  I do know their names which puts me ahead of 90% of the population, but I’m still not comfortable enough with them to go knock on their door at 9 PM and ask them to watch my dog for the weekend.  My mom tells me that this is why she does not have pets.  I explain that is good, but not helpful right now.

At this point, I’m seriously contemplating taking the dog with us and sleeping with him in the car in the hotel parking lot.  That way I can avoid him taking a dump in the car.  And the probable citation or arrest for animal cruelty.  Not very helpful to drive across states to attend an event and find myself in jail for something.  If I was a Kardashian maybe that would work as a new publicity stunt, but I actually have to hold down a real job.  My friend thinks I’m nuts.  At this point I agree.

In the morning, I still have the same set of options.  No pet sitter.  No kennel.  No possibility of my homeless dog in a car.  I start calling kennels as they open and pleading my case, explaining that my normal option fell through and now I am having to find a place on short notice.  If you recall from earlier posts, I strive not to lie.  Ever.  It was tough finding a way to spin this one as I’m walking that borderline of lying by omission here.  With my friends I was brutally honest.  Yes, I’m a moron who has been planning to go out of town for over a month and just happened to overlook the dog situation.  With a business that I’m trying to take a dog they don’t know from a person they don’t know, I feel showing myself as a disorganized idiot who also shows now as a borderline degenerate pet owner does not play into my favor to find our puppy a temporary home for three nights.  So I tow the line of my ethics and working in doggie-kennel/border patrol/Homeland Security/cavity-searches-for-mouthing-off land and leave off the details.

I get one to possibly be interested.  Another is going to have to call the owner.  At this time my fiancée calls back.  Her friend will do it.  She’ll be here in an hour.  The weekend should be saved.   Unless I suddenly forget how to drive a car.  Hey anything’s possible.  After all I did forget I had a dog.

OK, so the title of this post might be a little strong, given the actual content, but it was what jumped into my head as I thought about how to summarize what germinated this post.  Through this entire divorce process I’ve been very self-reflective and proud of myself for learning lessons and gaining wisdom and becoming a better person to be a better second husband in my upcoming marriage.  I’m very proud of myself, can’t you tell?  🙂  But then I started having all those clichéd thoughts go through my head.  “My parents were right!”  “Youth is wasted on the young!”  “If I only knew then what I know now.”

Don’t get me wrong, I still stick by my other posts where I stated that I am comfortable and confident with how my life’s journey got me here.  All the bad times, poor choices, and mistakes helped me grow into who I am today and arrive to be with all the people in my life today.  I would not have the job I have, live in the place I do, have the children I have, be engaged to the person I am, etc. if not for all the crap I had to wade through to get here.  I also understand that I have not suddenly emerged from the swamp of life never to return to the quagmire of raw sewage again.  I will make more mistakes, more poor choices, have more bad times.  This is what led me to the realization and the title of this post.  The reason we go through this, is that we do not have all the information we have later.  The experiences are not developed, the lessons not learned, the advice brushed aside because we are different.  Yet God is all knowing and could change all that, but he lets us humans have this life experience when he could have instead chosen to give us more information earlier in life through reincarnation, shared mental telepathy of some other creation, yet he chose to make us learn through hard knocks.  What gives?  How is that not a mean streak?  Does God get some sort of perverse joy when one of use screws up and he gets to sit there and say, “Look at that yahoo!  Let’s see what he learns!”?  Is it all some gigantic social experiment like playing the Sims 3, but with 7 billion characters?

As a Christian I don’t truly believe that God relishes in our misery, but I do find it difficult to rationalize what the point is.  Sure there is the whole thing about the Fall when Adam and Eve tried to get the knowledge, and how we need to be thankful we have free will and predestination is a thing of the Puritans and yada yada yada.  My point is when you’re picking yourself off the proverbial floor after you’ve been sucker punched by a life event and you look back on it days or years later and see how you saw it coming, or your friend’s did, or your parents warned you, it’s really hard not to feel like somehow there has to be a better way.  If all your friends and family know your wife is cheating on you, why do they stay quiet?  When abuse happens why do people look the other way, thinking it’s not their problem?  It’s easy, so most people just step away.  Who wants to get told they don’t understand and it’s not really that bad anyway.

So is the point that we relish the victories more by having the failures?  Is it the adventure of life that makes it worth living?  I mean, if you knew what was going to happen to you five years from now, what effort would you really put in?  And this is where the lens begins to turn a bit.  Maybe God’s choice to have us live this way is not a mean streak, but an act of love.  As parents we do this regularly.  We let our children maintain make believe about the Tooth Fairy and Santa even though he know it’s us whisking the tooth away and replacing it with cash or standing in line on Black Friday to get that item they really wanted and unselfishly giving an overweight, happy guy they’ll never meet the credit.  So is God doing the same thing with us?  Even though he knew our marriages would end in flaming wreckage, did he let us entertain the fantasy and keep our friends and families silent only to come forward later telling us they knew it was doomed from the start just so that we could live through those fun times?  After all, when kids finally find out all those things are just a fantasy they don’t feel they need to give the money back or suddenly say their Christmas mornings were all a fabrication and now they hate them.  So that gets me back to the point of life’s journey shaping all of us.  You also hear of very few people when asked if they could do it over again really wanting to change anything significant.

The frustrating part sometimes comes in when we now sit here with the knowledge of middle age and try to impart the same things to our kids and realize they will have to crash and burn on their own just as we did, because that’s just the way God designed the ride.  He choose not to put in billboards or dreams in the night that make every choice crystal clear.  Instead He made things vague and grey and murky and open to interpretation.  However, like a child on Christmas morning we all have to admit we enjoy the discovery and the surprise.   Right?

After walking this post, and moving from God’s design being mean, then being loving, I ultimately come to the fact that maybe it is just brilliant because He does know everything.  While to each of us little people down here on Earth living our individual existences it seems happenstance and weird and perhaps a little mean, when it all comes together with the people we meet as a result, the changes in us that come, and all the other interactions, it starts to look a little different.  So I will continue forward knowing full well everything will not turn out as I imagine right now, but confident that God designed this process in some brilliant way that I may never fully understand.  I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks.