Over the last few years you have walked with me, following from the screens of your Cell Phones, Laptops, iPads, etc. – Joining my personal journey of bachelorhood, opening your lives to me, as I have so hoped to do in return for you. Over this period of time, I have genuinely connected with some of the most amazing, inspiring, & talented people I have ever met. We have traveled together from one side of the world to the other, enjoyed amazing fare&beverages, laughed (mostly topics relatively inappropriate in nature), shared sincere encouragement for one another, & will continue to do so well beyond the day that “A Bachelor & His Grill” continues to exists, or that torch has been passed onto another deserving young man.
Behind the scenes over this period of time, (outside of The Social Network) I have been an individual who has attempted to leverage an unexpected, undesired turn in life events, as a real opportunity to seriously / indiscriminately reassess myself, strengths, short-comings, avenues for personal growth, reflect upon my faith, redefine my goals/priorities, better understand who I am capable of being / want to be as a father, son, friend, man, & who I hope to be / will be for another individual in a meaningful, committed relationship full of love – true, honest to God love in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. A love honored for all days of my life, with that single individual who I will hold for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, in health, until the day our good Lord determines our time on Earth has passed.
So… was this journey originally established via early mid-life crisis?? In hindsight… I think not (at the time, it could have been reasonably suggested otherwise – In fact, I think it was mentioned (on more than one occasion)). Instead this was a time of reinvestment into the person who I needed so badly to understand & learn to love the most – Myself.
This period of time afforded several opportunities of renewed & sustained strength, spirit, & passion – both personally and professionally. I have never been more excited, engaged & passionate about my career – one in which I am appreciated, valued, & am confident my efforts are creating significantly positive impacts at an organizational level, for clients, community, & the personal lives of my employees. Personally, I have established healthy rhythms around diet/exercise, am re-cultivating my personal relationship with God, continuing my effort to be a better son, friend & the absolute best father any little boy or girl could hope for (there are no 2 kids who deserve it more)… All while recognizing that I need to continue investing time into myself & passions – travel, cooking, teaching, creating, & dancing (well… I’m sure my interpretation of dance is non-aesthetically pleasing, but I visualize myself as this generation’s Gene Kelly). That said, while I feel so filled with positive energy in several critical portions of my life, a glaring fear has persisted – the prospect of truly & whole-heartedly opening my self to another individual, laid bare, in a mutually-meaningful, kind, & loving relationship, free of the jaded shackles / heart-ache carried from previous relationships that can be so binding & restrictive to true connection / commitment. Being single had become safe & a zone of comfort – although lonely in limited occasions, this idea of opening my life & heart (along with the hearts of my children) to new love was scary, exciting, frightful, exhilarating… ummm… Did I mention terrifying?
Well… over the course of 2012 the Heavens opened & in a moment of clarity, Time. Stood. Still. Before me was the individual who I have met every lifetime for a 100 lifetimes before, the individual who’s life will be thrust into mine a 1000 lifetimes again. I fell genuinely & deeply in love every day more than the last with someone who in every sense of the word, inside&out, is absolutely beautiful, full of life, spirit & love – with faults, but strong in character, honest, giving, sincere, kind, caring, gentle & passionate. Blue eyes that I could look into for days. A hand that I can not fall asleep without holding. A smile that brings sunshine into the most cloudy of days. And, a heart that beats only in sync with mine. In turn… not a single day passed without this feeling being reciprocated, articulated, or expressed emphatically & without reserve – Such a sincere blessing & the most amazing of feelings. But, even more profound was the bond my children have developed with this person. For those who’ve shared a similar experience to mine (ie. single parent / establishing new relationship) – The fear of putting your children’s hearts on the line is exponentially & astronomically greater than any fear known in this world or any other… But, confirming what I knew to be true – An immediate, lasting, & natural connection… the feelings evoked in seeing this love given from my Children & shared in turn was so overwhelming to my Heart – the joy is something cannot be expressed in words. What has been shared over such a short period of time, I have never experienced, nor am interested in sharing again with another Soul.
And… with a “Dear John Letter” in my Cell Phone’s Text Inbox last week, she was gone.
Into thin air, she vanished with no answer by phone – haven’t heard from since & no indication that I will hear her sweet voice again. Over the prior weekend sharing the most meaningful of life’s events, time with family & planning our trip in 3wks to Hawaii. Wednesday, gone.
What was, is no more. What was built on a foundation of trust, care, openness of communication, & love… tore down in an instant via a series of texts.
Completely. Entirely. Without a remote sense of forewarning or abandon… Blindsided.
While many of you may be dealing with real life troubles, recent or immediate circumstances of loss, my story feels insignificant & lacking perspective in sharing. But, in this moment, my heart / core are numb. The sense of what has been & transpired since – Surreal. My mind racing 22hrs a day. My heart ripped directly from my chest, splayed open, lying bare – Confused, hurt, & above all crushed/angry that I allowed my children to be a part of this journey – how to explain, again, why someone is gone – When I don’t fully understand myself?
In an effort to gain some sense of clarity, perspective, & attempt to walk through the thousand thoughts intermingled between my ears… I left work Friday & immediately jetted out of the country, leaving the claustrophobia of my reality in the rear view. On the horizon, understanding & the most marginal prospects of hope that I would return to this individual awaiting with tears, open arms, a completely understandable explanation (I may have even considered an irrational explanation delivered from a place of genuine heart), & commitment to walk through whatever battles we face – together, united against whatever comes our way, for better or worse. To be clear… In coming back to the States, I arrived to a house that was more empty that the one I left & no one in waiting – Still the same furniture, amenities, decor, & endless reminders of our relationship, but missing the one thing that I hoped to see above all… Her.
So, what is the purpose in writing this… To be honest, I don’t really know. Is there some sense of relief in laying my laundry on the front lawn – well, after a few hours of writing… not really – It more so is like looking back upon & reliving your own train wreck. From a perspective of rationality – is this a piece of the vetting process to justify my irrational thoughts & hope of return? Maybe. But, there is no going back. How could that be remotely considered an alternative? Would I even have the ability or degree of Faith necessary to bridge this emotional gap? I’ve been down that road & lessons learned. And… So continues the battle between heart & head.
As this the case, the juncture has arrived to move forward. With 48hrs under my belt back home, I’m not yet sure there is a real lesson to be learned & am surely left with nothing but ambiguity in closure. But, I do know a few things to be unequivocally evident:
1. I am not in control.
2. I am not these feelings, but instead the person managing my response to those feelings.
3. I have faults, but am a good man with a big heart.
4. I am entirely open to the conversation that I still have work to do in being the person I hope one day to become for those I love the most
5. I cannot be afraid to risk loss at the prospect of love.
6. I have the most supportive, caring, & loving family / friends any one person could ever hope for – I only hope one day to give back an iota of what they have selflessly (time & time again) given to me, with no expectation for a thing in return.
7. I must EAT & leverage my passions as an outlet for expression (see below – a heart-warming recipe taking me physically/emotionally back to a place of comfort & love).
8. I choose to stand back up, as “it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward” (or so says Rocky Balboa).
So, I ask of you to continue walking with me in this adventure. You will never know how much your support & encouragement has meant / continues to mean. And, although I’m not sure what the end result looks like, am committed to making this journey with you just as AMAZING, as the approaching horizon & destination appear.
Emotionally exhausted – I exit stage right for now with gratitude / appreciation for your open ear & all I have been blessed with in Life, Love, & Faith. Yours Truly now & always. -David
“Life is a storm, my friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment & be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout – DO YOUR WORST, FOR I SHALL DO MINE! And let the Fates know you from this day forward as not a boy, but a Man.” -Edmond Dantes (Alexander Dumas)
-1 1/2 Pounds Wild Mushrooms (Portobello, Porcini, Shiitake, & Oyster), Rinsed & Chopped
-1 Cup Wild Whole-Grain Rice (Dry) + 2 Cups Water for Boiling
-2 Cups Chicken Stock
-1 1/2 Cups Fat Free Half&Half
-1/2 Cup Dry White Table Wine
-1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
-1/4 Cup Water
-1/2 Lemon, Juiced
-2 T Olive Oil
-2 T Shallots, Minced
-1 Cup Vidalia Onion, Chopped
-3-5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
-2-3 Sprigs Rosemary + Additional for Garnish
-2 t Fresh Thyme Leaves
-1 Bay Leaf
-1 t Cornstarch, dissolved in 1 T Water
-1 T Parsley, Finely Chopped
-Coarse Salt & Ground Black Peppercorn, to Taste
METHOD to the MADNESS:
-Combine Rice & Cups Water in Medium Pot – Bring to a Boil, Cover/reduce to a simmer for 20minutes. Cook until liquid evaporated / Rice tender.
-Remove from Heat, Set aside Covered until ready to use.
-In a food Processor combine Mushrooms / Lemon Juice, & coarsely chop.
-Drizzle Olive Oil in Heavy Saucepan over medium heat, followed by adding Chopped Mushrooms, Shallots, Vidalia, Bay/Thyme Leaves.
-Saute for 7-10 Minutes, or until all liquid has evaporated & Mushroom/Onion tender.
-To Heavy Saucepan & Sauteed Vegetables add Chicken Stock, Wine, 1/4 Cup Water, Rosemary Sprigs, & Salt/Pepper to Taste.
-Simmer Soup, Covered, for 20 Minutes.
-Add Cornstarch (dissolved in Water), Half&Half, Cream to Soup, & Rice – Heat through (do NOT Boil) & stir all Ingredients consistently for additional 10minutes.
-Remove from Heat & extract sprigs of Rosemary / Thyme.
-Season, additionally, to taste. Garnish with Fresh Rosemary & Parsley.
-Serve WARM & Enjoy, my Friends!