Lessons at an Air Show
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"Dear Lord, I don't know what to do; I don't know how to get my life back." This single thought has consumed my waking days of late. The debts that I'm accruing right now, both financial and karmic, are overwhelming. The pain in my heart, unendurable. The suffering my children are going through with me, undeniable.
And yet, here we are. Month seven of my divorce proceedings and still things are not done. There is no closure. Worse, my soon to be former wife, upon hearing that I might have to pursue a more profitable career elsewhere to be able to make ends meet, actually uttered the phrase "we might have to work something else out." Oh the pain. My heart both leapt and bled over that phrase, for I know not what it means.
Could she actually think that there is something to recover? Is there any hope for a meaningful reconciliation there? Could that have been the defining moment that I should have acted to start setting things right? Or does that mean that she's going to fight for custody, now in this eleventh hour, even though she has sworn she would not do so?
Today there was an air show at the local airport. Nothing overly spectacular, but it was here. I was there. A couple of beautiful old planes where there. The sun was out, there was a bit of a cool breeze. Everything was perfect...except my kids where not there. My wife had them for this weekend. That truly pained me while I sat on the tarmac watching this show. All around me were groups of people. Some with kids, some with significant others, some with buddies. Me there alone.
My being alone brought home more forcefully than a blow with a baseball bat the fact that my kids were missing out on a quality time with me. Never mind they were a mere 15 minutes away by car. Never mind this was the first time in two weeks they'd seen their mother. Sitting there on the tarmac amidst the thousand plus people who attended, I felt utterly alone.
That's when my question came to me, unbidden...again... It's not that I don't trust the Lord to help his plan for me unfold as it should. It's not that I actually begrudge my wife her visitation time. It just hurt so much being in the middle of that throng of people, lovers hand in hand, children with their parents, old friends, one and all, I felt so alone.
Truth be told, I was jealous of my wife. She had her new job, along with the various new friends I'm sure she was cultivating. She had her lover, even though we were not divorced yet. She had our children. But worst of all, she had the part of me she ripped out the day I came home to find her and her female lover in our bed together.
At that moment on the tarmac, just as the F-16's were flying over-head exercising their afterburners, I was alone and "without". Without our children going "oooh" at the loud planes. Without my wife of eleven years at my side. Without her warm embrace, not even a hand to hold. I felt cut off from her, from our kids, from my life just then...my old life.
There is really nothing for it, so they say. Time will heal all wounds. Offer up your pains to the Lord and he'll take them away with him on the cross. Try to make a new life for yourself. Set up a business relationship with your ex and make the best of it for your kids.
You see, I have heard them all. Really I have. And I continue to try. But sitting out there on the tarmac, at this point in my life, it took all my energy not to curl up into a fetal-ball and start crying like a baby.
Air shows and depression don't mix well.
Well, I made it through that day. Looking back on the pain endured that day, I can see a lesson from God in it. I now know what to do. That day taught me that I should not wait for an "event" to take quality time with my kids. I must CHERISH THEM every minute they are with me. In all too few years, they will all leave, the kids, the wife, the beautiful old airplanes, and all I'll have are memories. It's up to each of us to choose to have times that are worth remembering as happy. This is my goal. This was the lesson I was given this day.
Written April, 2000.