“𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙧𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙤𝙛 𝙡𝙤𝙤𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙩.
𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙝𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙮 𝙨𝙪𝙧𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙬𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙚 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙡𝙤𝙤𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙞𝙩.”
Who knew Chvrches, #ASaviorIsBorn, Christmas Eve (the film, not the annual cultural happening), and a trip to Israel would be three major events that would bring life and love into my life?
The divorce was tough. It shook me to my core. Honestly, it may have been harder culturally than many other ways. We are taught, and teach, families are eternal.
Does it exist? What does it look like?
If it exists, it is amorphous and undefined. And that lack of definition causes fear. If two paths diverge a wood, and we take the one less traveled and choose or are pushed into the Plan B lane, how will create “the difference” for us both here and in eternity?
Existential questions, to be sure. But the practical ones persisted too. And were ever-present.
I was worried about my kids. Sure, the oldest was off to college, but I still had two in the house and wanted to give them as “normal” an upbringing as I possibly could.
So, I had decided to focus on them—to not date until my youngest was out of high school.
But who could imagine the excruciating ache and void created by loneliness. Humans—we are needy in many ways. One of the most voracious of appetites—as tied to human needs—is connection. Being alone (literally and otherwise) has its special ring in Dante’s inferno. Being disconnected from the Divine is a ring of purgatory that no one can transcend alone.
All those years waking up in cold sweats, wondering if I would have that “someone” next to me serving warm and reassuring chicken soup when I was old, frail, and couldn’t care for myself. Wondering how eternity now applied to me, and what the future would look like.
The uncertainty. The incessant wondering. The pain in questioning my boyhood beliefs, which had me thinking that I would be rewarded by following the plan of subsequent progression. The math wasn’t working out for me. A + B + C + D ≠ eternal bliss. 🤷🏼♂️
Luckily, I believe I am blessed with the gift of belief. When I felt the oppressive weight of doubt was ready to crush me, or I was Sisyphus pushing the heavy load to the apex of the next hill only to have it roll down and have to start another ascent again and again and again, I had the quiet reassurance that things would work out. Hold on, John. Just hold on.
Night after lonely night came and went. I threw myself into my work to assuage the pain, guilt, shame, and loneliness. Who knew my work, and my passion for the cause for which I was working, would be the answer to what ailed me?
October 2015. Chvrches. A band that I loved because their sounds took me back to the 80s.I had tickets, but had another engagement, so I scanned Twitter later for those who attended. Well, one formerly phread was there. I recognized the handle from some lists at work, and it was one of the few videos on the feed.
𝙁𝙪𝙣. 𝙁𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙮. 𝙋𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙚. 𝙔𝙚𝙖𝙝—𝙄 𝙨𝙚𝙚 𝙞𝙩.
Then, not long later, an engagement for a campaign to celebrate Christmas (#ASaviorIsBorn).
I’m presenting, and in walks one @formerlyphread. A bit late, she sits at a table in the back. But, through a mutual friend, we meet later that night.
𝙁𝙪𝙣. 𝙁𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙮. 𝙋𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙚. 𝘼 𝙗𝙞𝙩 𝙢𝙮𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨. 𝙔𝙚𝙖𝙝—𝙄 𝙨𝙚𝙚 𝙞𝙩.
Then, not long later, a movie premiere for Christmas Eve, a movie I helped promote (and yes, that really was Sir Patrick Stewart in the credits). I invite you (as a member of the press as an influencer, no less), and you come, sit in the back, and we actually get to talk more.
𝙁𝙪𝙣. 𝙁𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙮. 𝙋𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙚. 𝘼 𝙗𝙞𝙩 𝙢𝙮𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨. 𝙋𝙞𝙩𝙝𝙮. 𝙔𝙚𝙖𝙝—𝙄 𝙨𝙚𝙚 𝙞𝙩.
Then, right after Christmas, a trip to Israel with my youngest son. The conversations we started on Messenger continued and deepened. That, I feel, is when we truly became friends. I couldn’t wait to get back from the day’s activities to check in. That, for me, is when it truly started.
𝙁𝙪𝙣. 𝙁𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙮. 𝙋𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙚. 𝘼 𝙗𝙞𝙩 𝙢𝙮𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨. 𝙋𝙞𝙩𝙝𝙮. 𝙂𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙩. 𝙔𝙚𝙖𝙝—𝙄 𝙨𝙚𝙚 𝙞𝙩.
Then, right after the trip to Israel, our relationship really began to evolve. And I began to see and experience not only the fun, funny, passionate, etc., I began to see the person who had the beauty, depth, and intellectual capacity that I helped make me whole. Every time we would exercise, dance, go see a show at the theater, or hear music from our youth, it made me even more of a believer that we were a good couple who could make each other better.
And I am forever grateful we found each other and were married.
N͟o͟w͟,͟ ͟i͟f͟ ͟I͟ ͟e͟n͟d͟e͟d͟ ͟t͟h͟i͟s͟ ͟n͟a͟r͟r͟a͟t͟i͟v͟e͟ ͟h͟e͟r͟e͟,͟ ͟t͟h͟a͟t͟ ͟w͟o͟u͟l͟d͟n͟’͟t͟ ͟b͟e͟ ͟t͟r͟u͟t͟h͟f͟u͟l͟ ͟o͟r͟ ͟h͟o͟n͟e͟s͟t͟.͟
Getting remarried is one of the hardest things I have ever done (and I believe you would agree with me on that point). Searching for and finding a spouse in middle age is tough—we’ve both been molded by experiences we have had earlier in life, and have been a bit broken by what we have experienced. Not being able to share something that is truly and uniquely us is hard. We both carry baggage from our previous lives that make this tough—really tough. The toughest thing I have ever done.
However, remembering the good times, and possessing hope that time and experience will create an “us” that is unique to just us, is what I hold on to. Patiently pushing through the hard times and remembering the good times is the key to making it day-by-day.
And, Jenny, there is not one else I would rather patiently push through it all than with you. You’re my love. My life. My everything.
𝙔𝙤𝙪, 𝙅𝙚𝙣𝙣𝙮 𝘿𝙮𝙚, 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙝𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙮 𝙨𝙪𝙧𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙚 𝙄 𝙛𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙚 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙡𝙤𝙤𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙞𝙩.