Today is the day, the day we take Kayla back to school for her junior year, the first time we’ll be moving her into an apartment, the end of summer.  We take two cars up to Toledo.  I drive Kayla’s car so she will have it there. Tywana drives her SUV stuffed to the gills, as is Kayla’s car.  It’s a beautiful day for a drive we remark and begin the three-hour journey up I-75.  

I noticed that the VSC warning light in Kayla’s car is on. This has been a nagging problem since last summer and seems to usually present itself just about the time we’re scheduled to take her back to school.  We just had it in the shop a week ago and the light was out. Great.  Another thing for me to deal with. Ten minutes from the house, we run into an accident that has I-75 shut down. Waze lets us down by not telling us to avoid this.  We have to get off of the highway and start driving until Waze stops trying to put us back on the closed highway and finally routes us to the next entrance to the highway.  We lose half an hour of time here. 

It’s about 10 AM when we leave. This is very early for Kayla, so essentially Tywana is driving alone and I’m driving alone.  Normally, we’d talk and listen to Podcasts on the way up.  Thanks to technology we put our cell phones on speaker mode and just have a conversation like we’re in the same car all the way up.  The rest of the trip is uneventful, but as we’re driving through stop-start traffic in Toledo I hear this grinding noise coming from the left rear brakes.  Not good.  I’ll have to make arrangements to get Kayla to take the car to the Lexus dealer Monday morning. This car is getting to be more trouble than it’s worth.  But, for now, we’re here.  I’ll deal with that Monday morning.

We get Kayla unloaded from the cars.  She contacts her boyfriend and he meets us at her apartment. We head out to Target and Costco for some essentials. In Costco, I joke with Kayla that we are done shopping when the basket is full.  Well, we filled that puppy up.  Wow, have we spoiled that girl. She’s fully stocked with food. She’s got her blender, panini sandwich press, and toaster oven.  Her apartment is a brand new building. This is just the second year it’s been open. There’s a giant tubular slide to get from the second floor down to the first. The pool area has a covered bar with a grill where they are grilling something for the kids moving it.  She has her own bedroom and own bathroom and a walk-in closet. It’s a suite if you will.  She has a key to the front door and there is a separate key for her suite.  

As we’re coming out of Costco, we notice that the clouds that have been gathering have opened up into a downpour. But, they were so scattered, I’m sure it’ll stop in a minute.  As Kayla and Gabe are buying smoothies for the three of them, Tywana and I take the groceries to the car. By the time they come out, the rain has slowed significantly. We grab some chicken from Popeye’s and take it back to Kayla’s apartment.  I want to get on the road because it’s the last full night of competition for the Olympics and I really would rather not drive on the highway at night. So, we hustle out of there around 6.  By this time, the scattered clouds have become solid as far as the eye can see and the rain is coming down in sheets.  I get so wet making the two trips to the car that I may as well just have jumped into the swimming pool. 

My theory on heavy rain is it can only rain so hard for so long.  My theory for driving in heavy rain is to keep moving because the cells are only so big.  If a cell is stationary, pulling off means you’ll just be sitting in the heavy rain. And even if the cell is moving in the same direction as you are, you’re moving 70 miles per hour.  You’ll drive through it soon enough. This is also my philosophy on life. The heavy storms only last so long.  Just hold on and they’ll pass. And never stop.  Keep on moving. Well, that theory was tested last night.  It rained like I have never seen it rain for over three hours and for almost 180 miles.  Every time we got a break, it would start again.  There were even times I’d look over to the right and could breaks in the clouds and pink from the sunset, but the rain would just start all over again. People were driving with their flashers on.  People were pulling over.  I just kept thinking “Keep moving.  Slow down. Be alert.  Keep moving.  It can’t last that long.”  By the time we were coming through Dayton, just 30 miles from home, I was negotiating “Just give me 15-20 minutes of a break for these last few miles. Finally, 10 miles out, the rain stopped. The roads were actually almost dry. I wanted to get home and get the dogs outside   before the rain hit the house.  Just as I pulled into the driveway, the rain started at home.  Great!  Let me get the dogs out before it starts to really pour.

We walk into the house, hands full of Kayla’s boxes and suitcases and I hear Stevie yipping in her kennel to be let out.  We had a friend’s daughter come in at 4 to let them out so they wouldn’t have to go 12 hours cooped up.  I hear Tywana saying "Where’s Zoe?”  Zoe hates thunderstorms.  We put Zoe in the mudroom when we leave and we put Stevie in her kennel and put the kennel in front of the door along with a baby gate. This keeps Zoe in, not that we really care, and Stevie has company.  Zoe can get out, but hardly ever does.  We figure with the thunderstorms, Zoe has panicked and gone someplace she feels safer.  But she always comes when we call her- unless we’ve accidentally locked her in the basement or she’s gotten behind a closed door somewhere else.  The girl who let the dogs out reported all was well when she left. So, we know Zoe’s got to be in the house.  I go upstairs to look for her as I’m calling her and she is nowhere to be found.  Our bedroom door is pulled shut. Kayla’s bedroom door is shut. The other two bedroom doors are shut. She’s not upstairs.  I check my office.  Panic is setting in now.  I’m calling her name. Tywana’s calling her name.  I check the basement. There is no reason the basement door should have been opened while we were gone and it’s closed and even locked now, but Zoe has to be somewhere.  I call her. She doesn’t come.  At this point, Tywana and I are both thinking the same thing. She’s dead.  Where she is, we don’t know, but we know she’s dead. I’m wondering how I’m going to tell Kayla. I go all the way to the back room in the basement- the store room.  No Zoe.

Now, I think she must have been left outside.  In normal weather that would not be a problem. Zoe would simply wait by the back door until we got home, even if it were hours. But, it’s been thundering and lightning for hours.  Maybe she panicked and ran off.  I knew she was going to die, probably soon, but I didn’t want her to suffer.  I think of her alone in the dark with the thunder and lighting and rain.  There are coyotes in our neighborhood, too.  I think of my friend who just lost his dog a couple of months ago and found his body days later.  I’m thinking “How am I going to search for her in the dark?” Which way do I even go?  I tell Tywana to call the girl who let them out.  What happened?  How did she possibly not know Zoe wasn’t in the house when she left.  

Then, Tywana opens the door to the one room in the house that we hadn’t checked. The girls’ bathroom upstairs. Zoe is standing there, behind the door, silent.  Zoe rarely barks other than when someone comes to the door.  If she’ is stuck somewhere and we call her, she’ll just stand there by the door until we find her. She also likes to get into small spaces when she’s scared. Her favorite place is our closet, but our bedroom door was closed.  She must have gone upstairs and when she couldn’t get into our bedroom, went into the bathroom.  The third thing Zoe does is when she goes into these places, she will go behind the door and push it to with her nose.  The problem is she doesn’t have hands, so if she pushes it too far she can’t get it open again.  Sometimes she’ll bark and Stevie will come let her out, but Stevie had been in her kennel.

Ah… crisis averted, for today. Tywana and I talked about it on the way home. All those days you dread, the graduation of your kids, the death of a parent, your kids moving away, the death of a spouse. They all come, in time. Today, there were times when we both wondered if we’d make it home. I knew we had to, for Kayla.  Today, I wondered if it’d be the day I had to call Kayla and tell her Zoe was gone.  Not today.  But the storms continue to roll in.  Who’ll stop the rain?

I remember being a kid and, I think like most kids, I couldn’t want to grow up.  When I was grown I would be able to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.  No more people telling me where to be and when to be there or what I couldn’t do.  Ha!  What a laugh. Shayna always had the right idea. Shayna cherished being a kid. Once she told us she didn’t want to grow up, she just wanted to stay our little girl forever.  Oh, how I would have taken her up on that.  We explained to her she had to grow up.  It wasn’t our choice. It wasn’t her choice. She asked if she had to get boobs.  She definitely did not want to get boobs.  She cried when we told her there was no way to stop the process.  Google “adulting memes”.  I’m not the only one.  This one pretty much expresses the way I feel today.  Adulting- We Hates It

When the girls were born, they were each joyous days, but there was that niggling feeling always in the back of my mind. I knew that it wouldn’t last forever.  One day- in the far, far distant future, they’d grow up, go to college, get married. But, that day was not today, so I’d set it aside and try to enjoy the day. Each milestone was bittersweet, kindergarten graduation, the first day of public school, all of those things. I celebrated for them, but my heart would break for me.  Each time would let me know I was growing closer and closer to these days which are worse than my worst imaginings.  Looking forward from four or five years ago, Kayla should be in college now. I was as prepped for that as I could be.  I would look at Kayla and think one day she’s going to get married and she’s going to want me to “give her away.  I can’t do that.  Maybe I’ll be stronger by then.  Shayna was supposed to be in her junior or senior year of high school.  I was not prepped for this- not even a little bit.

This summer has been a bit of a respite. Kayla has been home since May and it’s been joyous to have her in the house, even though I haven’t seen her a lot since we have such different sleep schedules.  A couple of weeks ago it hit me that it was almost time for her to go back to college. That’s been part of the funk I’ve been in.  Today, is the day.  Each of these days we dread, no matter how far out they seem, one day they actually do come around.  

Tywana has been awesome helping Kayla with her college. Tywana is the one who took her on all of the visits, helped with the scholarship applications, filled out the financial aid paperwork, helped her shop for her dorm and now her apartment.  She has done it all.  I’ve sat back and let her handle it because i just  can’t, especially now. I haven’t been much help with Kayla’s getting ready to go back this year and move into her first apartment. The best I’ve been able to do is not complain too much about all the stuff Tywana is buying for her to get her set up. Kayla will lack for nothing as she moves in.  Oh wait, her tapestry for the wall in her bedroom has been delayed. She won’t have that for a couple of weeks.  How will she manage?

In a little while, once they get up, we’ll head up the road to Kayla’s apartment. I will drive Kayla’s car. They will go in Tywana’s.  So, I’ll have three hours by myself to think about it.   They need my muscle to help her get moved in.  We’ll make a stop at Target for something Kayla needs and take her to the Costco up there to get her stocked up.  Moving her into her own apartment is the last thing I want to do right now.  Whose idea was it that we have to grow up?  Shayna, you were right.  This adulting thing is no fun at all.

I never thought I’d see the day when an REO Speedwagon song would bring me to tears.  But, it doesn’t take much these days.  I was on my walk/run this morning and this song came, In My Dreams, came up in my playlist.  It makes me cry every time I hear it now.

There was a time some time ago
When every sunrise meant a sunny day, oh a sunny day
But now when the morning light shines in
It only disturbs the dreamland where I lay, oh where I lay
I used to thank the lord when I’d wake
For life and love and the golden sky above me
But now I pray the stars will go on shinin’, you see in my dreams you love me
Daybreak is a joyful time
Just listen to the songbird harmonies, oh the harmonies
But I wish the dawn would never come
I wish there was silence in the trees, oh the trees
If only I could stay asleep, at least I could pretend you’re thinkin’ of me
‘Cause nighttime is the one time I am happy, you see in my dreams

As I was listening to it, I broke down and started crying.  The tears come when I feel things are going to be this way forever. That’s when despair sets in.  And the “rest of my life” does seem like forever. That’s the perspective I’ve always had.  Time began the moment I was born and will end the moment I die. So, anything that is the “rest of my life” is forever from inside this life.  When this happens I have to shift my perspective. I feel Shayna right there beside me. I can sense her hugging me and telling me “It won’t be forever.  It won’t even be that long.  Just hold on for a little longer.”  Meanwhile, I have my dreams.

I end my walk/run with a personal best time. And as I’m finishing up, Do You Feel What We Feel by Frampton comes on pumping me up for the rest of the day.

… and so are you.  

Today I was taking my walk, making one of the turns at the end of a cul de sac. There I encounter a guy I see walking his pit bull  pretty often. He came across the street toward me.  I removed my headphones so I could hear because I saw his lips moving. “How far do you walk every day he asked?”  I answered “5 miles”.  “Good for you.” he replied,  He sees me out there struggling and sweating and was impressed by my determination. Ha! He doesn’t know the half. I put my earphones back in and kept moving trying to maintain my pace and get back to the time goal I had set for today.

Walking is therapeutic for me in many senses.  I sometimes imagine each step is another day on my road Home.  My walk is about 8,500 steps.  If each step were a day, that’d be 23 years.  Could I make 23 years?  No way.  But, each morning when I start out, I don’t feel like I can make that five miles. The first quarter mile is tough as my body is warming up. Then I hit a rhythm and it gets easier. At times I get tired. I feel the muscles in my calves seizing up.  If I think “Three more miles, I’ll get discouraged.”  When I feel like I can’t make the whole thing, I look down at the road and just focus on the next step, then the next step- one day at a time.

A few days ago as I was walking with Bill, he was concerned that I was “stuck”.  And in one sense he’s right.  I’m not in a good place. But, here’s what also came to me.  I’m getting up every day.  I’m going to work. I was walking with him.  I have started a group to help other parents get through this journey.  I am a warrior. 

I hope that one day some other parent who is dealing with the premature transition of her son or daughter will read this.  If you’re reading this and that’s you, I want you to know you are a warrior, too.  If you’ve gotten out of bed.  If you’ve eaten, if you’ve gotten dressed, if you’re just sitting there and drawing breath, you have won a victory.  You have won a battle.  You are a warrior. Give yourself a pat on the back and take a bow.  You deserve it.

Fight on.

Wow. Last night was one of those restless nights where dreams just kept rolling from one to the other, mostly incoherent. I remember meeting Kenny Loggins and singing songs from his This Is It album and reminiscing with him.  I remember bits and pieces of other things. Then, I remember being shown old pictures of Shayna when she was between being an infant and being a toddler.  It was more of the feelings that I remember than any actual event or people.  I was alone, I don’t even think I was in a body. These images of her just kept going by and I was loving looking at them until I realized that this wasn’t real and Shayna wasn’t with me anymore.  I remember thinking “This is a dream.” then I woke up, still in my dream, and I was in bed crying- again all alone.  Then I woke up back into this reality and I was crying in this reality.

Something Bill and I discussed a couple of days ago keeps coming back to me.  The reason that it’s so difficult for me to go on is I keep thinking this is permanent. This is my reality forever. I’m caught up in the illusion that this life is real and doesn’t really change. It’s easy to do. I wake up in the same house, have the same people around me, do the same thing.  I get caught in the routine and think what is now will always be.   I’ve had enough experience to know this isn’t true.  Impermanence, you cut both ways. You take away the good things we want to hold on to. And I’ have cursed you for that. But, you take away the bad things as well.  This won’t last forever. And for that I am grateful. 

Pressing on one more day.  One day closer to reunion.

My buddy Bill and I meet every few weeks for a walk along a bike/jogging trail. Today it looks like we won’t be able to make it because it’s pouring rain and it’s supposed to rain most of the day.  So, I call it off. But, Bill’s an adventurer, way more adventurous than I.  Bill sees a gap in the weather where there is only a 40% chance of rain. For me, a 40% chance means don’t go.  For Bill, it means there’s a 60% chance it won’t. So we go for it. 

It’s a pleasant less than 75º day, a rarity for this time of year.  It has thunder stormed most of the night so the trail is covered with less and small branches. The bicyclists are not here today and few walkers are. The river is running higher than I’ve ever seen it and the stream crossings are flowing faster than I’ve ever seen. We talk about Bill’s kids returning to school.  Bill doesn’t read my blog, so he doesn’t know that just a couple of days ago I wrote about how watching other people’s kids going back to school is painful for me now.  His daughter has just been dropped off at UK (an hour and a half away) for her first year.  His son is deciding where he’s going for his junior year. Bill’s dealing with the first year of one away from home and helping his son make this decision.  He’s going to be an empty nester for the first time. Ah… the struggles of being a parent.  

I tell Bill I don’t want to be this way, but the graduation parties, the kids going back to school, they are all painful for me. I want to be happy for other people and I am genuinely happy for them. I don’t begrudge them anything.  I just miss that for myself and for Tywana.  And facing Kayla going back to school adds to the loss because the house is just so quiet when she’s not here, upstairs in her room 😉 .

We dive into philosophy. Bill is a pretty fundamentalist Christian. We discuss the problem of evil (the age old theodicy question). I’ve come to the conclusion that what we perceive as evil is just what we don’t (yet) understand. There are no accidents, it’s all planned and it’s all working together for the good. What we perceive as “bad” is that which we do not yet understand.  I give Bill the example of a toddler getting a vaccination.  When you stick that kid with a needle he screams like it’s the end of the world.  He has no idea why you would poke him with a needle. You know however, that needle stick could save his life one day.  You know that pain is worth it.  Bill comes back to the Christian worldview that the world is wrong. It’s screwed up.  It’s off of its original design. Something went wrong with creation and evil popped up.  God allows this evil to exist for a time. Then God will set things right. That begs a lot of questions.  Was God not able to anticipate the evil?  Couldn’t God just stamp it out now?  How does any entity operate outside of God’s will?  I leave those questions for now and allow Bill to express his view. This is an area where we have agreed to disagree.  Then Bill brings up Romans 8:28. Ah… now this we can agree on.  “All things work together for good.”  We may not agree on the mechanism, but we can agree on the outcome.  

Bill asks me how I’ve been doing.  He’s one of the two or three people in the world I can be completely transparent with. I tell him “Not good.”  These last few weeks have been particularly tough, again.  He asks if it’s the back to school stuff, the graduations, etc.  Maybe… I don’t overanalyze it.  I tell him that grief is just exhausting and sometimes I don’t know how I’m going to “make it”. We discuss the “making it” concept.  Bill gets it. He says “What I hear you saying is that you can only look out so far into the future.  Looking any further overwhelms you because you are carrying so much pain you cannot bear the thought of carrying that pain for all of those years.”  Yes.  I tell him “It’s like running a race, Bill. The Olympics are on right now. When you watch the 100m dash, you see runners running one way.  When you watch the marathon, they are running a completely different way.  I don’t have any idea how long the race is going to be, so I don’t know how to run it.  I just want it to be over.”.  Bill analyzes all of this and comes back with what is obvious. If I could stop holding onto the past and stop looking at the future as if it will always be like today, if I could get “unstuck”, I could go forward in life and regain the joy I once had.  No duh, Bill.   I tell him “Yes.  I realize this. But, that’s the problem. First of all, letting go of the past is easier said than done. I’ve studied Buddhism and one of  the first principles of Buddhism is attachment is the cause of all suffering.” This is also a ‘no duh’ observation.  If you never love anything, never hold onto anything, you will never feel the pain of having it ripped from you.  The problem is we are not robots, we are human beings.  Now, my practice is to the point where i can easily let go of most things. I look at the world through a very different lens now. I know I am just passing through. I drive around and look at buildings coming and going and I know that this is all temporary. The problem is  I am still attached to people.  I tell him I am as attached to Shayna as I’ve ever been to any person and always will be.  Therefore, I will always (in this life) suffer.  I don’t know that I can break that attachment because I don’t know that I want to. Yes. I know it makes no sense to hold onto something that is causing you pain to the point of wanting to die.  But, I’d rather die than let go of Shayna.  What’s so important about this 3D life anyway?  Why am I even still here?  These are the questions I wrestle with now.

We wrap up our walk at this point.  It’s good to talk with someone who gets it even though we are worlds apart on religion.  Bill asks if he can make another book recommendation to me. I think he’s still trying to get me back into the fold of Christianity. He opens his car and I see three books.  “Have you read ‘Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis?”  I explain to him I have read everything C.S. Lewis wrote.  “Oh.  Did you read his last one ‘Surprised by Joy’?”  Yep. After I read “A Grief Observed”.  I tell him my favorite C.S. Lewis book is “The Great Divorce” because of its description of the doors of hell being locked from the inside.  He moves to the next book. “Have you read anything by Philip Yancey?”  “Yes. He and C.S. Lewis were two of my favorite authors when I was making the trip out of fundamentalism.”  He reaches for the third book “Have you read ‘Wild At Heart’ by John Eldredge?”  Yep.  Read the book, went on the weekend retreat.  I even gave it to my father and my mother listened to it on tape.  So, now it’s my turn. I ask him if he’s heard of Emanuel Swedenborg.  He has not.  I tell him I’m going to send him a link to a video that explains (for the most part) what I think about the “problem of evil” and why bad things happen.  Why Bad Things Happen is a long video but it’s one of the best descriptions of why (from a Christian perspective) God allows and uses “evil” to suit His purposes which is our “salvation”.

It’s time to go.  Bill’s got to get to work and so do I.  He prays for me and we part ways.  I only got in 4.3 miles and I didn’t get my quiet time. So, when I get home I do another couple of miles and process some of the things we talked about.  I can’t know this, so I won’t state it with certainty, but I don’t see how suffering will not be a part of my life for the rest of my life.  There just is no letting go.

It’s a rainy Monday morning. I was supposed to take a walk with a friend, but it looks like we will have to take a rain check. My back was hurting too much to walk yesterday, so it looks like I will miss two days in a row. Bad for my psyche, nut probably good for my body.

We are down to just a few days before Kayla goes back to school. We took her out to dinner last night, wringing every drop of experience with her before we have to move her into her apartment.

A couple of days ago my buddy checked in with me and asked again how I am doing. I’m so tired of having to say not great. At what point will I have “made it”? I was telling him I had been listening to “Just One Victory” by Todd Rundgren. I’ve loved that song since I was a child. It was Day 408. I had had 408 victories in a row. 408 days of pushing through when I would rather not. My friend said I would “make it”. We tell each other “Hang in there. You’ll make it?”. What does that mean? When will I have “made it”?

I am resigning myself to the fact I don’t know what grief holds for me in the future. I was never particularlu thrilled with this world anyway. Tywana and the girls made it worthwhile for me. I know it will never be the same again, but will it ever again be a place I really want to be? I would have said no before. Now I don’t know. I can’t envision it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.

So, I “hang on”. I fight to “make it”. How long is anybody’s guess. The struggle is real.

Back to school time and everyone is posting pictures of their kids excited to start a new year. It’s a bittersweet time for a lot of parents. Kids are excited, but mindful parents know that the beginning of the school year marks one more step towards that baby you carried home going off on her own.

We are of a certain age where many of our friends have kids going off to their first year of college. Our Facebook feeds are full of shiny happy people marking milestones in their kids’ lives. I want to be happy for them. I really do. Not everyone’s world has been colored like mine. So, I scroll past the pictures maybe clicking the “Like” button and I console myself with the fact I had my time and it was amazing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But my time is over now.

Last night we watched the Olympics with Kayla because that is what we do in this house. If the Olympics are on, we are watching. Michael Phelps made his last swim. Kayla noted this strange feeling she had that she has never had. Kayla is about as far from a sports fan as you can possibly be, but she is a Michael Phelps fan. She has read his biography. She remmebers him first from the 2008 Olympics. She has followed his ups and downs. She ask “What is this feeling I’m having about sports? I feel kind of melancholy because I know this is his last swim.”. I remember being her age and starting to watch some of my heroes retire. It was one of my first lessons in impermanence and I did not like it. Later she remarked how just when you think you have life figured out and things are going along great, something happens, things change. Yes, too bad she has had to deal with that at the tender age of 19. Nothing stays the same. Earlier in the day, Tywana and I were watching Russell Simmons talk about how Zen he is and the Buddhist philosophy of non-attachment. The Buddha figured out if you never were attached to anything nothing could hurt you. If you were totally unemotional about outcomes, you could never be hurt. So, some people set out to seek this non-attachment. The problem is it’s not human.

I think attachment is part of the human condition. Thus, so is suffering. To go through life without attachment isn’t fully being human. So sadly, to go through life without suffering isn’t fully being human. Today we are happy. Tomorrow we suffer. Maybe the next day we find happiness again. And so, the roller coaster of life goes.

So, shiny happy people enjoy today, fully. I hope it lasts as long as possible for you.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

So yeah, Jesus said that.  And, for a very long time, the straightforward meaning was good enough for me.  Jesus meant that He was going to sacrifice Himself, to go the cross to die for His friends.  He was willing to give up His earthly existence to save His friends.  But, this morning, as I’m coming back into my body and really not wanting to be here, the word that comes to me is “sacrifice”.  

Sacrifice is giving something up to attain something else, a greater good that might or might not benefit you personally. I’ve always said I would lay down my life for my wife or for my girls.  That’s always been a no brainer.  No hesitation there.  I would trade places with Shayna in a heartbeat.  I would die so that she could live longer if it were in my power.  I would make that sacrifice.

I was talking with a friend the other day.  She’s just a bit older than Kayla.  She shared with me how her father passed recently and how she misses him and wishes he were still here to share her life with her and to guide her.  I’ve been mulling that over the last few days.  Kayla is 19 now.  She’s moving into her first apartment in just a week.  By many measures, she’s already grown.  Does she need me anymore?  How much longer do I need to stay around for her?  How much longer do I need to stay around for Tywana?  This morning it comes to me. 

If we accept that Jesus was pre-existent before coming to this place and He came here and endured what he did for 33 years, what was the real sacrifice? Was it “dying”?  From everything I’ve learned, dying is easy. Dying is returning Home. It’s “living” here that is hard. Jesus gave up everything to come here, to live with the pain and the frustration of being human.  Jesus had His cousin and best friend, John the Baptist, murdered and had to live with that.  Being here had to be full of pain for Him. What if laying down His life wasn’t going to the cross, but choosing to leave Home to come here?  What if His sacrifice was every day He lived here with full knowledge of what He was sacrificing by being here?  Would I make that sacrifice?

Many have said (oh, no I sound like Trump) that we are here for a purpose.  There are those who say a major shift is happening and light workers are needed to be here at this time. Maybe I’m one of those.  Maybe not.  But, I do know that I have a purpose to be here for Kayla and for Tywana.  

Most reading this will not get that living here can be a sacrifice.  Many however will.  The more our eyes are opened to our true nature and our true Home I think the more we long to be who back to who we truly are and back where we truly belong.  But, we’ve got to hang in there and lay down those lives for our friends here.

Most days I will wake up with a phrase or a word on my mind. That time between sleeping and waking it when my inspiration or my theme for the day will come to me. Today, it’s a single word- Broken.  

The last few days have been particularly rough. i could try to figure out why they have been worse than “normal” (at least normal since 06/24/15), but the reason doesn’t matter. They’ve just been tough.  Yesterday I did a yoga nidra meditation. After the meditation I just laid down on the bedroom floor, rolled onto my side in the fetal position and let go.  I don’t think I actually fell asleep, but my consciousness was in a place where I wasn’t having to work, not thinking, not processing.  I don’t know how long I was like that, maybe twenty minutes. The nice thing is even the passage of time didn’t matter, for a time.  Then I had to get up and face the world again.

So, this morning as I’m on my walk, I listen to songs with the theme of the day.  Broken by Seether and Amy Lee and Broken Down by Eric Clapton are the two that best match my mood today.  It’s a ridiculous humid day.  At 7:30 the temperature is already near 80º.  I’m sweating bullets.  Just a few days ago I did 6.25 miles and had energy left over.  I only came back to the house because of time restraints. Today, I just crank out my 5 and I’m done.  Spent.

But, I have no time to be Broken.  Back to the grind.  One more day.