Live and Learn

I’ve been reading articles lately about the aftermath of divorce, avoiding divorce shame, and how to move the hell on after divorce with dignity and a pint of beer…and I say, “Cheers!” to them all because they’re so accurate…

I’ll be the first to admit that I was a total bitch to my first husband. By the time our marriage ended, I had become a person I never expected to be. Bitter. Angry. Resentful. In my early twenties, I saw all my friends meeting wonderful men, having whirlwind relationships, and then pledging “til death do us part”…and I kept thinking, it’s my turn to have that. Because of course, I was an old maid at age 21. And honestly, I really was looking for that life partner. The soul mate. The one my heart longed for. The one to complete me like Jerry Ma-Fucking-Guire completed Dorothy. So naturally, when the first boy to treat me nicely asked me to marry him, I said yes.

And then I entered hell. Mental, emotional, and physical hell. Because I should have said no. I should have listened to my dad and fled the church before the ceremony began but I let my pride walk me down the aisle. What would happen to all my friendships if I suddenly decided I didn’t want to get married? I would be ostracized, crucified, and left alone. So I married the guy and immediately regretted it. To his defense, my ex-husband did try to make the marriage work. He did everything he could think of to make me happy for several years. I truly believe that, even after all the shit he put me through at the end of our relationship. Ultimately, we were just a very poor match.

I took on much of the blame for my flailing relationship because I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t in love with my husband. I went to therapy for months thinking something was wrong with me. I pleaded with God and everything else to make me love him. And then I gave up. About two years in, I left town and started a new life 400 miles away from him. I felt like it was the right decision; but I let some people bully me into reconciling because surely being married was better than getting divorced. I felt like I had no strength to be my own person without this sham of a partnership. But the sham seemed better than the certain isolation I’d face if I owned up to my own feelings of regret.

I look back and think about how horrible we were to each other. The words we screamed, the hateful expressions we gave, and affection we withheld…and it’s a miracle we survived almost five years as husband and wife. Our marriage ended very abruptly when he admitted he’d been having an affair–via text message. I went to work married and drove home from work a future divorcee. I never saw or talked to him again. I moved out and went through the entire legal process alone (by choice). The true friends I had before I married him remained constant in the hours, days, and months after I left him. And when the judge granted the divorce, I walked out of the courtroom smiling from ear to ear. I went for ice cream and celebrated. For. Days. Because I was free. He was free. We could both move on with our lives.

Starting over was incredibly brutal for about six months. I drank. A lot. I went to therapy again and tried to stay busy. Though we weren’t the best match, at least my ex-husband provided companionship. There was a physical presence at the end of the day, someone to come home to. One day he was there, the next day he was gone… It was like he died. I hated the silence that filled the nights I spent alone. I hated that he still lived in my proximity and that I could run into him and the girl he cheated with when I went to hang out with my friends. I hated that I felt punished and isolated while he fucked his way across town. I hated that his infidelity scarred me so deeply, I didn’t know if I’d ever recover.

It’s been almost five years since we broke up. We’ve been apart about as long as we were together and that’s an odd feeling. It seems surreal, like that part of my life never really happened. He and I both remarried about a year after our divorce was finalized, which speaks truth that we never should have stayed together. I think for a long time we were more afraid of facing the unknown apart than remaining committed to each other…

Sometimes I wonder if my ex-husband regrets marrying me. I wonder if he was ever truly happy or really loved me. I wonder if he’s forgiven me for the pain I inflicted. I think perhaps we were both in love with the idea of being married but rather than admitting it and walking away, we punished each other for our growing unhappiness. I like to think he has grown a lot from the time we shared as spouses, the good and the bad. As much as it hurt, I wouldn’t change anything because the experience led me to my current husband. My second marriage is everything my first marriage should have been…and more. I am deliriously happy. And I hope somewhere…my ex-husband is too.

Think Think Thinking

Today’s a snow day. The fifth one in ten days. Suffice it to say Texas doesn’t take kindly to anything beyond rain. The entire Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis and surrounding suburbs come to a complete halt when wet, flaky substances fall from the heavens. And I’ve purposely done almost NOTHING every snow day. I’m either binge watching Netflix or staring into space. I don’t read, I don’t study for internship, I don’t paint. I might do a load of dishes or feed the animals…but otherwise, I’m a lush. And I’m starting to feel less guilty about my idle time.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson: there is a big difference between physical rest and mental rest. I’ve done plenty of physical resting over the last week, but my brain seems to be overactive…which in turn leaves me tired. There’s never enough mental silence and my brain is crowded. All of the thinking, all of the wondering, all of the worrying.

I think about the website for my new business and the fact that it’s still not complete and I’m lagging behind by two months. I think about internship and the fact that I have far fewer client hours than I should at this point in the semester. I think about the pure complexity of the custody battle my husband and I are in…and ALL the work necessary to complete this task. I think about big upcoming changes that I can’t publicly share yet. Changes that I’m excited about and hopeful for.

I think about friends and family…do I talk to them enough, reach out enough…? Am I prioritizing my time? Am I listening to my husband? Does he know how much I love him? Does the Little Blonde One know how much we miss her?

Does my damn cat resent me for the two new cats that have taken over her home?

What kind of job will I be able to get when I FINALLY graduate later this year? Will I even like it? Will this three-year investment be worth the sacrifices I’ve made?

All the thinking all the time.

Community is Difficult

Sometimes I think I’m too fickle for church or community or whatever. But I know that’s not really true. I think the struggle I have with community involves the need to form deep, personal relationships with those I commune with. I want to be best friends…okay, not really. But I do like talking regularly. And by talking, I mean texting, because phones are for people who don’t mind awkward pauses and anxiety-ridden, unedited comments. I want more than a once a week “hi, how are you?” Because seriously, who actually asks that with genuine interest anymore? No one really wants the answer. They would rather check Facebook on their phones and avoid eye contact. (#Guilty)

I recently started participating in a new “church” community. I say “church” because it’s more a group of people who sit around, sometimes sing, talk about God or Jesus or life, and drink beer. And talk about all the beer and how wondrous it is. Unless, of course, it’s Michelob or Bud Light. That’s not beer. It’s an insult to beer. And your liver. I digress. This church has been really beautiful and helpful as I recover from previous-church trauma. But in the last few weeks, my interest in it has waned. (And I’m about to dish out a whole lot of selfishness…so just bear with me and understand that in writing this, I’m also processing how I feel…word by word.)

A few weeks ago, one of the “leaders” approached me that a new girl was going to attend “church” and the leader thought I would get along with this girl because of similar interests observed online. No big deal, right? Sunday rolled around and New Girl showed up as promised. As it turns out, this girl is so hot it makes my soul hurt. And my jealousy rage. And even more ironically, she and my husband have a mutual connection. Dagger meet heart. On that fateful Sunday, I sat around and watched as everyone was enthralled by her. Only a few months prior, I was sort of the new toy and everyone wanted to talk to me and get to know me…I felt like I was finally forming relationships I’d longed for for years. And then it just dropped off…almost entirely. And now, everywhere I look online, they are doting on Hot Girl. She’s the new toy. (And seriously, this girl is great, she’s par for the course. She has good taste in music and people.) I think her entire presence sort of reinforced the fact that I’ve been wanting to (and trying to) make deeper connections with this group and it just hasn’t happened. The four leaders of the church have been friends for years and they possess a bond that I share with other close friends. These bonds are almost impenetrable, I get it. And I’m not asking to be their new best friend or even be #3 on their speed dial (do we even do speed dial anymore?), I just want more of a connection…otherwise, it’s going to be really easy for me to stay at home. Sleeping in on Sundays is like a morphine addiction. Fucking amazing.

I feel wretched for even having these thoughts. It’s not the church’s fault…because I haven’t openly said (until now), “I need more.” Because everyone has busy schedules, lives, and obligations and I don’t want to be another item on their to-do list…especially if they don’t feel the desire to reciprocate a friendship. In all of my previous communities, I was able to make a steady connection…build a friendship with someone where I felt like I could invest. And it’s astounding that I’m even considering seeking MORE from these people…cause church is fucking difficult (see previous posts). Community is difficult. Perhaps the church members sense my distrust and that’s why they hold back…they don’t want to overwhelm me. I’m not sure. And I don’t want them to read this and feel bad, like they’ve let me down or something.

I didn’t realize how much I needed that connection to stay invested. Before, the relationships just happened and they occurred organically and sometimes hastily after I got involved. I’ve been so damn lonely…for a very long time, lacking that intimacy of a good friendship. I have best friends and they live hundreds of miles away. I don’t have people to visit during the week or converse with after a long day (other than my husband). I don’t have anyone present, tangible, that I can access weekly that will hang out with or talk to me. I see online that some church people are hanging out together because that’s what they do and have done for years. Because they’re friends. How does one flat out ask…”Hey, can I come?” without looking like the dorky afterthought? I don’t want to push myself on people. And I’m shit at asking people to do things…but maybe I should try. I can’t expect that they will always seek me out.

It’s the worst possible feeling to need community and be absolutely terrified of it. Because I know the more I invest, the more I risk. But I’m tired of denying the fact that I need people in my life. I don’t need them constantly, I just need to know they’ll be there if I ask. And in turn, I’ll be there for them. That’s what friends are supposed to do.

I’m Never Going to be Like You

I tend to march to the beat of my own drummer. Most of the time. As a child, I was a rule follower…almost to a fault. Terrified of punishment, always seeking approval, wanting to obey for the sake of maintaining order. Teachers loved me because I was a great kiss ass. My parents always knew they could count on me to fall in line and be respectful and responsible. But rule following turned out to be more of a phase of life than a standard to live by.

As an adult, I’ve become a bit more rebellious. I don’t always adhere to authority. And I’m deviating more and more from the “norm.” I admit, there’s a lot of comfort in going with the flow of the majority. Typically, you know where you stand, what you believe, and where you’re going…because you’re likely following the crowd. You have friends to talk about life with…because you can all relate to each other. You’re sharing the experiences. In many ways, when you choose to live differently from the accepted norm, you abandon or lose some of the friendships and relationships you’ve cultivated.

Being atypical is lonely. I spend a lot of time frustrated about the loneliness. I miss being part of the collective.

I’m currently at the end of graduate school. At the conclusion of this adventure in debt acquisition, I’ll have a MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Makes me sound all official, doesn’t it? But truthfully, I could give a shit less. Because I’m not a “clinical mental health counselor.” I don’t fit into their mold or ideology of what a therapist should be. I didn’t fit in the mold before I enrolled. It’s a little humorous when I tell fellow classmates that I really don’t care to be state licensed, endure the national exam, or sit for hours and hours in a tiny room listening to people bitch about their problems. I didn’t start grad school and sacrifice years of employment, socialization, and reading GOOD books to learn how fucked up Freud really was. I wanted to learn how to relate to people better, how to manage ethical dilemmas, and generally how to understand behaviors of people experiencing distress. I’ve spent almost three years being taught how to be a compassionate human. I really could have saved myself the $90,000 loan. But the investment isn’t entirely in vain. If anything, I’ve learned more about who I am and who I want to be. I’ve also learned who I’m NOT.

I’m not society’s version of a therapist. I’m a conversationalist. I dialogue with people. I listen to their stories. And sometimes, I give them strategies for how to journey through life with a little dignity. And when dignity can’t be found, I give them a bat and tell them to break shit until they feel better (as long as they break objects and not people or animals…I’m not THAT delusional).

Ultimately, I think we all want to tell our stories…and more than that, we want to be heard and feel validated. It doesn’t take years and years of reading psychosocial theories to learn how to love people where they are. Or at least it shouldn’t.

I’m never going to be who they think I should be. I’m going to be myself. H…who talks to people in the language they relate to.

Truth is Damaging

We should never meet our heroes.

Yes, I realize it’s a pessimistic way to start a blog post, but who am I trying to impress? I mean, let’s be real. I have trust issues. Deep ones. Heroes, notwithstanding, people can be shitty. Selfish liars, manipulative tools. Douche canoes.

And I don’t know that there’s anyone who I trust implicitly. Not even my husband. And that’s a frightening thing to admit because I love him more than anyone else on this planet. And it’s a terrible thing to admit because I’m sure he would be hurt by my confession…particularly because he’s done so much to prove his trustworthiness over the last four years of our relationship. But it’s just the way I feel…

I wish people were who they should be (honest, compassionate, loving, selfless). I wish they were honest or at least had the decency to not be assholes. And perhaps my greatest fear is that the people I cherish the most are going to hurt me. Truthfully, the only person who has the power to destroy me is my husband because I’ve given him the power to do so. And when I think about that, I want to pull away to protect myself. But I won’t. Because he’s a miracle for my broken heart.

All of this is sort of a preamble to a point that’s honestly still frustrating the hell out of me. I recently found out that some ministerial leaders/emergent authors (people I admired for years) are being abusive, heinous trolls and I don’t understand how the individuals who are aware of this deceit continue to perpetuate a fraud. The depths of the betrayal seem to know no end. I wish I didn’t know…I wish I could erase the knowledge of what these men and women have done because I liked believing the lie. The lie was safe.

The truth is often damaging…before it’s healing.

Perhaps that’s why so few people ever tell the truth. But I really wish they would.


“A heart is a fragile thing, that’s why we protect them so vigorously, give them away so rarely, and why it means so much when we do.” –The Little Prince

Beer Church

I highly recommend reinventing yourself. I’ve done it probably a hundred times. It somehow manages to strip away the bullshit of the past. At least for a little while. Each time I went through a break up with a boyfriend, I cut my hair in some chaotic way. The hairstyle was usually an effort to communicate that I wanted to be left alone. Don’t talk to me, don’t flirt with me. Just walk away. See the ‘fuck off’ on my forehead? That’s for you. In reality, I was heartbrokenĀ and just wanted someone to really, authentically love me.

I’ve started over so frequently that I’m starting to wonder if I’m actually evolving or if I’m the same or a mixture of both.

Part of the reason for the reboot….public humiliation. Almost five years ago, my (ex) husband and I went to a tiny church and met some really cool people. They were all tattoos, piercings, and cuss words and I felt absolutely at home. Pass the bourbon, take communion, and recite the Celtic prayers. I loved it. About a month in, my ex started having an affair with one of the church members. Our church consisted of about 12 people. So I’d met the woman. We’d had conversations. I’d been to her house. Five years later, I still don’t fully understand what makes people behave in such a cruel way.

I left the church almost immediately. I couldn’t sit in the same room, share the same space they did…all the while smirking at each other in their adulterous triumph. Everyone knew what was happening. The wife is almost always the last to know…especially if the husband is a gifted liar. I parted with one congregation and entered another. I went by my maiden name and it was perfect. No one knew my business. No one knew the shame I felt as a result of my ex’s infidelity. My business wasn’t plastered in their frontal lobes. I was just H…this young, single adult female who wanted to help out. My identity stayed hidden for about 3-4 months and then gradually I let people know who I was and where I’d come from. The beautiful part was that they accepted me. I wasn’t ostracized for getting divorced at 26. I was welcomed for who I was in that moment. Who I’d become in the aftermath.

Fast forward a year of bliss. I’d developed some of the closest relationships of my life. The church members became my extended family. I was particularly fond of the pastor and his wife and children. He was my mentor, my second father. We talked about beer, golf, and god. He taught me many things and helped me recover from the devastating loss of my dignity. I took care of his children, stayed at his house when they went out of town. It was humbling to be so loved by people I respected.

And then it fell apart. Again.

A man and woman whom the pastor trusted, came in and tried to destroy this sanctuary with lies and dissension. They started rumors…fostered bitterness between church members, and everything began to dissolve. I was falsely accused of having an affair with the pastor, my friend…who I cherished. But even before that rumor, there were others. Gun shy, I stepped away from my responsibilities at the church to get some space and clarity. I tried to determine who my friends were…and understand my enemies. And then my pastor died unexpectedly. No goodbyes. No absolution. No closure. He was just gone. My friend. My mentor. Gone. The air was thick with grief and despair and I couldn’t breathe. For months.

So I left. Because it was the only way I knew to survive. And I stayed away for 3 years.

And then I went to beer church. It’s fucking terrifying how much I want to love this small group of people. I do love them…I don’t want to. Bad things tend to happen when I love people. They leave…or they betray me. They shred me. I enteredĀ the group with a fortress built around me. Don’t come close. Stay away. I’m intrigued but I’m frightened. But in their genuine love and compassion, they disassembled my wall brick by brick. And now they know a bit more about who I am. I’m no longer anonymous. I’m vulnerable…standing in the open and petrified that the 3rd attempt at community is going to be my undoing. I don’t know how many more times I can reinvent myself before I run out of ideas. And I hate that I want to risk it again. Jesus Christ. I mean, I look at these people and I want to say, “in our next life…please find me so I can spend as much of my time with you as possible.”

That’s beer church. It’s people, sitting around drinking good booze and talking about life. It’s love. It’s the talking, the loving, the caring….that creeps into the shattered fragments of my heart and heals it.

Merry F-ing Christmas

I’m absolutely NOT in the mood for Christmas this year. Typically, I’m the one begging my husband to decorate in late October. I love the lights, the tree, the millions of random ornaments, all that holiday cheer and shit. This year? Fuck it. I put up my tree in early November in an effort to psych myself into wanting to celebrate. We were supposed to have the little blonde lunatic for the latter part of the holiday break…but custodial wars have eradicated any hope of seeing her before her birthday next September. Additionally, we acquired a kitten that made it his sole mission to de-ornament the fucking tree. Every morning for several weeks, I walked into the living room to discover Christmas carnage. He considers himself a champion for scaling to the very top and knocking off my prized Disney ornament AND chewing through the strand of lights so the damn tree looks like it belongs in Charlie Brown’s Christmas special. The cat should consider itself fortunate that it has nine lives.

As soon as we knew for sure that the kid wasn’t coming to visit for Christmas, I took down every single decoration and put them back in the boxes. Now the kitten has nowhere to hide. Take that, you little shit. There’s so much more to this I-Hate-Christmas diatribe that I can’t say here…because legal system. I admit, I’ve let this entire situation rob me of my holiday joy…but it’s difficult to be excited about a holiday that centers on family when part of my family isn’t here. If I didn’t have obligatory events for the next two days, I’d seriously consider being a hermit and binge watching episodes of the West Wing.

Relatives, friends, and random ass people tell me to stay positive and focus on the end goal, but I need to be allowed to wallow occasionally. I’m not laying in bed every damn day eating bon-bon’s (WTF is a bon-bon anyway?), refusing to shower or go to work. I’m still living and moving forward. But holidays feel like the clock has stopped ticking and I’m trapped in yuletide hell. I’m watching the world be festive and content, meanwhile I’m too pissed to paint or drink or do any measure of self-soothing activities. I’m angry and sad all the goddamn time.

Ironically, the only time I feel some semblance of peace is when I’m having a beer with friends…because most of them don’t know about the custodial nightmare my husband and I are enduring. And when people don’t know, they don’t ask questions and they don’t offer bullshit advice. They simply conjure up happier topics of conversation over good music and beverages and allow me to escape reality for a little while. I’d like to hope that next Christmas will be better but for now, I’ll just be satisfied to survive this Christmas with an ounce of grace. And maybe a pint of really great beer.

The Struggle is Real

Pain makes me have A.D.D. Particularly emotional pain. Perhaps I should clarify, pain makes me unable to focus on anything but the source of my frustration. Eating, thinking, painting, conversing…everything suffers because of this ONE issue I can’t seem to resolve. So far this afternoon, I’ve had a few conversations, sketched several paintings, and written a page or two of my thesis. Productivity occurs when I’m just distracted enough to forget that my heart is broken. But the moment I’m reminded, I may as well turn my computer off and grab a beer. Emotional struggles are like a one-way ticket to the couch. I can’t even listen to music. It’s like everything becomes irritating as hell. None of my coping skills are working. I’m just fucking angry and sad…almost all the time. I want to bite things or break things or do something besides feel helpless.

There is a perpetual ache in my chest and tears threaten to fall. Today is one of those days when stillness makes me want to rage. Everywhere I look there are reminders. Seriously, everywhere. I’m sitting in a room full of reminders and I want to pitch a tantrum and destroy everything. I don’t know how to escape. I’m either trapped in the space or trapped within myself, unable to turn off my brain. God, I wish I didn’t give a shit. This would be so much easier. Out of sight, out of mind. I could toss the physical reminders into a barrel and light a match. Poof, gone. But I can’t do it because…reasons. Tangible reminders make it more difficult to let go of the emotional attachment. And I’m getting tired of holding on…

I don’t know if I’ve ever been this chronically troubled in my life. The struggle is real.

Starting Over

Yesterday I visited a church. Of my own volition. I haven’t done that in four years. I haven’t wanted to. I’ve been at peace with enjoying my Sundays at home since I stopped attending church in 2011. I’ve experienced enough trauma in church over the last 30 years, I should have PTSD…but I don’t. If anything, I’m just bitter and skeptical.

But yesterday, I decided to try again. The decision to cross that threshold is much more difficult than I wish it was. I wanted to talk but I also wanted to be invisible. I hid in the corner by myself like Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club. I thought maybe if I didn’t make eye contact, I’d go unnoticed…but I didn’t. This particular community remembered me from a visit last month, when I met the lovely/kick ass artist, Frank Schaeffer. Granted, when I went to hear Frank speak, I didn’t know I was joining a small group of people holding church at the World of Beer. As I waited for my turn to talk to Frank, I conversed with a few of the church members. I met one of the “pastors” who was intrigued by my Fuck Cancer shirt and flip flops. He said he can always tell a lot about people by the shirts and shoes they wear. He said that by the way I was dressed, I wanted to be casual and not give a shit but was still a bit too afraid. Astute assessment, but this guy is also a top attorney in the area. He probably knows how to read people. In any event, I saw some potential in his little flock and decided to put my fear in the Fuck It Bucket and scope out the scene again when I was ready.

Sometimes I feel bad for declining an invitation to join a group. Yesterday, several church members asked me to move out of my corner and into the open to join the circus of conversation. Each time, I said no…preferring to stay out of sight. The collective dialogue was about the metamorphosis of church and how it’s become a cumbersome entity that hates gays and persecutes anyone who looks or behaves contrary to some arbitrary set of rules. And yet the religious assholes wonder why the church is dying.

In church, I’ve seen pastors cheat on their wives, verbally abuse members with racist/misogynist ideologies; witnessed people being accosted for having an abortion or for being gay; watched marriages dissolve from infidelity between church members (including my own); seen people falsely accused of heinous acts (including myself); and wondered what the fuck is wrong with people. So why in the hell would I ever choose to pursue this endeavor again?

I guess I keep trying because as much as I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve also managed to have it healed in the company of people who actually believe in love and act on it. The last two churches I participated in, I was nearly destroyed…but there were specific individuals who picked me up out of the ashes and spoke compassion into my bruised soul. And I’m kind of hoping that I’ll find some measure of what church is supposed to be while participating in this new community. I know there will never be a perfectly safe place because we’re imperfect people. But I’m starting over with a new awareness of who I am and what I know to be true about others. I hope this is the beginning of something great but I know I’ll be okay if it’s not.

Sound and Fury

Yesterday, I met Frank Schaeffer.

Frank. Schaeffer.

Friends, you probably don’t know the significance of this moment (give me time, I’ll elaborate). Many of you may not even recognize his name and that’s okay. In the art world, he’s…magnificent. If you like texture and color, reminiscent of VanGogh (a personal favorite), check out Frank’s work ( Truly extraordinary. He’s the most famous person I’ve ever met. But more than that, he’s human. He’s just like the rest of us. Knowing of the tormented emotional and mental backgrounds of many of history’s famous artists, I wonder what motivates Frank’s brush to move across the canvas in the manner it does. Why does he choose those colors or the specific designs? What’s the meaning? What thoughts are coursing through his brain, down his arm, and out the tip of his paintbrush?

What you also may not know about Frank Schaeffer is that he’s a New York Times best-selling author for both fiction and non-fiction publications. Another element I believe many artists share…the constant need to move the thoughts from the confines of our craniums out into the universe. Whether that’s through a painting, a blog post, or a novel, etc. The words have to come out. The feelings must evacuate us, lest we become consumed by them. Perhaps my ruminations are simply projections of my own need to create, but that’s a deeper discussion for another time.

Yesterday, Frank spoke at a church I attended at The World of Beer (the only worthy church location). Church scares the shit out of me. I went because a friend of mine told me I should meet Frank because Frank was “my kind of people.” By “my kind of people,” my friend means that Frank doesn’t bullshit, likes beer, participates in deep conversations, and gives a damn about the people in his life. My friend’s assessment was accurate. The moment Frank started to speak, I was captivated. I felt like he stepped inside my brain and walked around for a while. It was the most soothing, most invigorating speech I’d heard in years.

After he concluded, the group of us migrated outdoors for beer and more conversation. I kept feeling the need to talk to Frank directly but like a good introvert, I found an excuse to avoid it. He’s talking to someone else, he’s eating, he’s busy. I’ll just sit here and read his latest book and pine for the moment when I can sit in his proximity. If you’ve never met Frank, you’re missing out. This man looks you in the eyes, holds your hand, hugs you, and talks to you like you matter. He exudes such compassionate energy.

A moment presented itself (thanks to an opening provided by my friend) and I began discussing art with Frank. I’m a painter…and for me, “art is not a thing, it is a way.” Frank and I sat together for over half an hour discussing art. He poured buckets and buckets of encouragement into my mind and soul and rendered me quite speechless. In fact, the entire drive home from the event, I could hardly concentrate on anything else.

I’ve been reading his book (“Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God“) off and on since yesterday and in it, he quotes Macbeth:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing

Frank has his own reasons for including the text and it carries a specific meaning relevant to the book’s content. But when I read those lines of Shakespeare, I reflected on part of Frank’s talk (in front of 15 people at a random bar church in Arlington, Texas) yesterday. We’re sucking the creativity out of life. We’re stressing out about all the bullshit…the career, the bills, the mediocrity, and we’re losing touch with ourselves, with who we’re supposed to be. We neglect our souls, we discard our families…and for what? The sound a fury of a society who expects us to think and behave like a bunch of fucking robots.


Life is so much more than sound and fury… Life is “giving love, creating beauty, and finding peace.”