Last night was date night. Nothing fancy. Thanks to an after school program that ran late and a 5k run that my wife had to leave early for, we had to keep it simple. (Not the great date concepts like our interview on spousedates.com) We just went to one of our favorite dinner spots. We talked a lot, before heading home and doing the classic, “pull up a Netflix movie and see who falls asleep first” evening.
The dinner conversation was about where we are.
There’s a lot of changes happening. It was a moderately emotional conversation. I have been offered a job on the editorial staff of prosoundweb.com and Live Sound International Magazine. She was almost glowing, telling me how proud she was, of me. It’s the job I have waited my whole life for. I almost gave up writing in January. Even hammered out my resignation letter, just didn’t publish it. Wasn’t sure if I was done or not.
Either way, she was very proud of me for not giving up. We had a two year plan to keep writing and building up the blogs. At two years and two weeks, I was about to give up. At two years and ten weeks, I got the job offer.
That conversation eventually led us through discussing how much different life is, compared to five years ago. We discussed things that were worth fighting for and things that weren’t. We talked about how our struggle has made us better. How the easier changes might be a blessing for others, but the harder lessons have shaped us in a special way. We also discussed how thankful I am that she didn’t kill me in my sleep during the worst days.
I just love her.
During the conversation, I told her about the happiest moment of my entire life. Not the best day, greatest event, crowning achievement… None of that. Just the single most amazing moment of my life.
Sorry guys. Not my wedding day, or wedding night. Moment of salvation. Kids being born. First bite of chocolate. Last diaper leaving the house. None of that. All amazing parts of my life, but honestly not the single moment that chokes me up at the thought. It’s the most vivid and wonderful memory I have.
In 2001, we were expecting our son. I was working on our church staff and traveling extensively, doing concerts and shows. It was a pretty good season in our life, before things went bad.
After a three week run of shows on the west coast, I finally flew home. It was a long and exhausting trip. When I dragged my ragged carcass out of the terminal, I saw my wife’s car on the curb. As I waked towards it, she flung the door open, jumped out and ran to me. Her smile was incredible. She jumped up and wrapped herself around me, kissing my face and squeezing the breath out of me.
That single moment told me that she loved me. That moment told me I was a good husband and father, with a family that thought the world of me. That single moment was when I felt like my life mattered more than ever.
A few months later, 9-11 happened. Then we had another baby. Then I began questioning my life and my priorities, my accomplishments, my worth.
By the end of that year, my attitude began changing. I got tired and bitter. The promises and plans weren’t what I expected. My business suffered. A good friend died. The money dried up. The workload got harder and less profitable. My world got darker. My attitude went bad.
From there, it got worse. By the end of 2009, I was nothing more than an angry and depressed jackass. My wife was sick of me, my kids didn’t like me. I was lost. The divorce threats began and I pretty much lost my mind for a season. I spent three months sleeping on the sofa, and later, over a year in a basement. Hence, the stories you have read on this site.
In desperation, I ended up talking to multiple counselors, eventually finding Joel Davisson. The next four years were brutal, trying to save my family and get my life sorted out. My stories and lessons in here, barely do justice to those hard years.
All of that followed the greatest moment in my life. Thinking about that moment, and the time that followed, is still a little overwhelming.
So, there I sat, last night. Thinking about our amazing family, my unbelievable wife, my crazy life and where we are now. I know life moves in seasons. The good times don’t last forever, but neither do the bad times. Things change. We change. We learn more, experience more, live more and grow. We can’t dwell on those extreme memories and declare that life will alway be like that, or never be like that again.
We have to take each day and celebrate the life we have. We have to decide to live in defiance of bad situations and negative influences. We can’t let life wear us out and make those choices for us. I allowed my selfishness, insecurities and circumstances to dictate what I believed about my life. I allowed myself to become lost. It took a long time to get back on track.
That single memory has been a beacon of hope for me. My passions, now, are in pursuit of becoming the kind of man that matters that much to his family. To become the kind of man that makes his wife love him so much that she runs to him. That’s all that really matters to me.
I hope you guys are doing the same.
If you aren’t moving in this direction, but want to… Consider picking up a copy of Becoming a Better Man.