Just start

Being a parent has taught me that I have more to learn than I knew there even was to learn.

One of the things I have always struggled with is structure. I don’t like the idea of having a rigid set of guidelines or rules that determine what I do next. In fact one of the hardest things about school was the projects that couldn’t be done in a day or two, not because I didn’t like the projects themselves but because they required me to plan and stick to a schedule/structure for finished the project over time. Once my 7th grade history teacher called me out in front of the whole class, she said “John likes tests because he doesn’t have to remember to do anything, just show up and take the test.”

She was and is right. My job is requiring us to do a “show and tell” type project for our work activities from 2011. This is largely due to the nature of my job – which is working on a team spread across the country (I only see my boss and co-workers once or twice a year). Besides the feelings of self-doubt about the quality of my work, I am my biggest critic, the project hasn’t gotten done because it requires a start and finish that will likely spread over more than a couple of days. Of course in not starting this project I have now gotten even closer to the due date and the deadline is looming larger in my mind.

Just one example of how I self sabotage my own work. It applies to anything I do, even things like web design and video production which I REALLY enjoy. I will get so overwhelmed by the potentialĀ lengthĀ and obstacles that I just don’t start – until I have a deadline coming quickly.

Listening to the sermon at our church this past week there was one thing that caught my attention. The pastor said, “…everything important has already been done…. Jesus finished THE work on the cross”, and my brain and heart and soul realized that I am free.

Free to start, without fear of imperfection
Free to start, without over planning
Free to finish, knowing THE work has already been finished

Now I just need to embrace Jesus and start….

The stories of my life

Growing up I had a lot of time to myself. We moved so often that it was almost a way of life. The first move came at 4 years old and the typical things, like sports teams, weren’t there to help me make new friends right away.

I often found myself lost in stories.

Stories about the time I saved my whole class from danger by using only my wits and good looks.
Stories about seeing a girl I thought attractive and winning her heart with my words.
Stories about being friends with the boys who were good at sports..

When other kids were talking about the popular songs and getting their new Adidas sandals, I was imagining the building catching on fire and being the one who leads everyone to safety. Some times I even forgot about my disconnect from reality and started smiling about the life I had in my head. It seemed like the whole world wanted to be part of my stories when I imagined national emergencies that needed my blend of super hero abilities and open availability.

For a couple years I invited two boys in my grade to enter this world and we played as a team of Three Musketeer style, high tech super heros. This went on for a couple years until my real story took over and I left Virginia for Connecticut with my family. When I arrived in the ghetto of Bridgeport, CT my stories took on a distinctly darker shade. Crime went from high tech cartoon style to real bullets and real blood. Bridgeport is also when and where I discovered endless porn on the web.

A girl from the boarding school in New Hampshire I attended was the first female I let read my writing. She gave me a four page “Writers Creed” because my story had too much explicit content. The story? A hired gun assassin traveling by air ruins a disguise so he drugs and drags a woman to the airplane bathroom where he uses her outfit as his new disguise. All without the flight attendants knowing.

Stories like that one have been part of my dreams for years.
War games
Spy hunts
Assassin marks

All the time I added characters from my real life. Girls I wanted to woo and the guys too cool to even notice me, all became part of these action adventure movies in my mind.

There were many moments of emotion as well: conversations with my dad about his work or befriending a classmate between crazy running and jumping. My mind would take me on these wild adventures during forced study hall or even while snowboarding (just add guns and national secrets) but always as a way to connect to the greater reality of my life. My stories were strangely real. As I got older my stories stopped working out so easily and I stopped always being the hero. In fact I often find myself as the villain or the broken protagonist who needs help.

The stories always put me in the place of living out my emotions instead of holding them tight. And when I met Lee Anne I slowly began to share these stories, she let me know I couldn’t say or do anything to make her love me any less.
That is the story of life worth living: feeling out loud, letting others see your pain and inviting them to join you for an adventure in vulnerable connection.