A text message shared with a North Carolina friend and relative this morning:
"Time is all that any of us have. You have much more than I do. I can't afford wasting much more.
No one relies upon me now. Just children and grandchildren. They keep me busy. But, it's still very lonely and lonesome.
Thirty-five years ago, I had a good friend, John Thumm. I was a Pastor of a small church. He was the Evangelist (by avocation), and also a "behavioral therapist" by profession and vocation. My wife and I were experiencing "marital trouble". He and I discussed options. I was having difficulty making personal decisions. I kept saying: "I want to do 'this'...I want to do 'that'. I want things to be different. I want things to be better."
He said to me, emphatically..."No, you DON'T". I was offended. I argued. I thought, "I should know what I want! He can't know what I really want!" How could HE say what I want, and say what I don't want?
Well, you know, he said: "We ALWAYS DO WHAT WE WANT! WHAT WE DO IS ALWAYS WHAT WE WANT TO DO!" You ARE doing what you want. You ARE doing what you WANT TO DO. No one can keep you from doing what YOU want to do. No one other than you. Only you."
"You've made already made promises, because you wanted to do so. Holy promises. Each one of your children are a blessing because of those holy promises. Don't break them...your promises. You MIGHT wind up breaking your children."
You know, I broke them.
Years later. After I forgot what my friend, John Thumm, had told me.
My oldest son, Clint, killed himself. You see, even though I didn't INTEND to do so, I broke something in HIM when I broke my own, holy promises. Promises made to my wife, to his mom.
Things were never right after that. Even though I believed my own lies and the lies of others (the ones I wanted to believe)...lies about thinking I was "good"...a good dad, a good lover and partner, a good friend...my boy(s and girls) were never RIGHT again. Things were NOT good for him. I broke him.
You don't want to do that to your sons and your daughter. You don't want to do what I did.
As good as I have tried to make it for myself, my other children and my grandchildren, the last 16 years (since my boy's death) have been hell for me. And, I've missed my boy...EVERY SINGLE DAY OF IT!
Treat your bride like you love her. Only her. No one else. She'll wind up treating you the same. It may take some time. Time to undo what has already been done. Time to do what needs doing. It's risky. The greater risk is a pathway to hell. A hell of your own making and doing. Hell, on earth, while you are alive to suffer it. That's what it is...HELL...when your child leaves this world before you do. It hurts a child deeply when a divorce occurs. There are THOUSANDS, tens of thousands, of books and professional (mental health) journal articles written about it. Children of divorced parents are NEVER healthy...not without LOTS of professional help from mental therapists, clergy, friends and family (and SOME of that help is not always wise, prudent or welcome).
It is sometimes VERY hard to forgive others. It is MUCH HARDER to forgive ourselves...especially for those things we do that go against our own heart, and lead to the breaking of innocent hearts.
The point is, you will ALWAYS do what you really want. You ARE doing what you want. It doesn't seem to matter what OTHERS want (although they will often be sorely impacted by our wants and desires). Do what you want, but remember this: There is ALWAYS a price to pay. It is ALL about what YOU want and what price YOU are willing to pay. It should NOT be about what others must be forced to pay.
The children should NOT have to pay for the sins of the fathers. There is MUCH wisdom in what the ancient apostle and theologian (Paul) had to say: "Husbands love your wives, even as Christ love d the church (or humanity) and gave all for it, even his life."