Today is Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The father of Kids 4 & 5 would have been 44 today.
I am grateful for the contribution he made in the lives of those two, even that he fathered them. Don’t get me wrong. I am not romanticizing him or our relationship because he died. I am, however, grateful for his contributions in my life. He forced me to live intentionally for the most part, to hunger for more, to strive for better. He is responsible for seeing me as what I was meant to become. He always believed I was destined for greatness (his words, not mine). Sometimes, I can hear him say that. And I can also hear the Father’s voice echoing he was correct.
I’ve never met anyone with his humor, wit, intelligence and saavy rolled into one person in quite that way. That’s what made me love him. It’s also the thing I loathed about him. The perversion of those things made him manipulative, sulking, accusatory. It tore me apart to watch someone who was so gifted and blessed with so much… disintegrate. I fought with him to keep him straight, but he wouldn’t listen to me. I often wish I hadn’t played a part in his demise by staying longer than I should have. I wish he had listened and that I left him before I did. He would still be with us.
Our relationship was dysfunctional on a whole ‘nuther level. We were physically violent, mentally and verbally abusive. It seemed everything we touched died, from the inside out. To say it wasn’t good is a mass understatement.
I’m totally ashamed to say we raised our children in this environment, allowed them to believe this was normal. While I have changed from Christ reinventing me from the inside out, and the standard of my living is different in terms of emotional, mental, spiritual and physical stability, the children don’t know how to let go of what was. They still see me through those old lenses. Their father never tried to help correct the distortion until I married. By then, it was too late.
They had already established in their minds the baseline for who we were. Settled into thinking selfish and volatile relationships were healthy and normal. They rebelled against normalcy and order and instead preferred organized chaos, understated tension, calculated manipulation and destructive selfishness. They still do. It’s what they know, and to them at this stage, it works for them…I guess. I don’t know. We’re still not speaking, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that. I need work in regard to those relationships to be able to adequately address their needs, wants and expectations without feeling like I do right now – like I am valueless and rejected by them, that they believe I’m a person with false motives instead of a person just trying to figure it out and get good at it just like they are. But, I digress…
While I often say the only true regret with this man was wasted time and effort in a relationship when I knew it was over eight years before it truly ended…the truth is, I regret we did not work together to raise our children in the excellence God had intended. We should have done better at raising them. Kept our promises to them. Broken promises lead broken hearts, and broken people.
The greatest deposit he left in me was not the children, though. The greatest deposit he left in me (I’m now understanding) is to live intentionally. To have a plan and to work that plan. Although it is normal for me to have a plan for the plan, he was good at execution and staying on track with plans. When we first started out, he didn’t allow me to become derailed by distraction, although he was a big distraction in and of himself. He believed if you wanted something, you had to work the plan, and not to let anyone deviate you from the plan. Too bad he didn’t take his own advice. It’s why I didn’t put much stock into what he said – he wouldn’t do it himself.
When I think of him, I do not have any bitterness in my heart toward him. I should, but by God’s grace and mercy, I have forgiven him truly…don’t even remember the most hurtful things he did to me save one, and that’s because there’s a whole person that resulted from the betrayal. Even in that, I hold no malice. By the world’s standards, I should parade his lies and harlotry in front of my children, the ones he had a hand in turning against me. Somehow, I just don’t think it’s necessary.
Before he died, he and I made good. We were at peace, had a good co-parenting relationship. He liked and respected my husband, and the fact that he was willing to take on the madness that was Kid 4. He was happy that I was happy. Was proud of the changes I made, thought I was a wonderful parent to his children and the others. One of the last things we talked about was his happiness. I cared that he was happy. He knew it. When he left earth, we were on good terms. And when he left this planet, my heart broke because there was still too much left in him. Too much to do. Parts of me were so angry about this. About him leaving my sons fatherless. About him giving up. About him not keeping his promises again. About the mess with the children I was going to have to endure. Yes, even though I was married, my heart broke…I spent 13 years of my life with this person, even if it wasn’t rainbows and ponies. You can’t spend your youth with a person and then not have any feelings. I felt like he took my youth with him. Still do sometimes.
Today, however, I am reminded that I need to live my life intentionally. When I remembered what today was, I remembered a conversation we had about me purchasing real estate and thinking ahead to the future. He said Be On Purpose. Do things on purpose. Don’t ever do anything without a purpose. He, again, is right. I will not die full. Or young. Or unfulfilled. I will LIVE. Live the way God intended, in the plans and purposes of my life. Today, I needed the nudge and reminder to Be On Purpose.