This has been an unusual and challenging week for me, one that has challenged my fatherhood, brought on great emotion from past marriages, and made me wonder what's ahead? Can you identify with something like that?
My son's death weighed heavily on my mind as I cruised through Duluth, so I called the only one who would understand my pain, his Mom. As we spoke together, the feelings of the pain of divorce, my own stupidity as a husband and a father, and all sorts of emotions raged in that thirty minute conversation. But afterward I felt relieved, my emotions were released.
A couple days later, my middle daughter (3 boys, 3 girls) was arrested in Mobile, Alabama and after many conversations with hwe and her Mom (another ex-wife), we decided the best course of action for her was to bring her to ATL and go to rehab. Since she and I had not seen each other in several years, due to many different scenarios, this was a homecoming and had way more emotion than I thought possible.
As I looked at her across the table at an IHOP breakfast, I saw me, at the same age, and I truly saw her pain, although differing circumstances and drugs of choice. And I thought how the consequences of my addictive actions had affected her, and then another set of emotions wailed away at my heart. For an Ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who likes to stay level headed, my head was spinning like a top.
Say nothing of all the meetings, phone calls and texts from other people in recovery, here comes a text from my first ex-wife who should have long ago turned her back on me, who will be in Atlanta for a day or so and wants to see our ATB Building and have dinner. Little did she know that just last weekend I was looking at old pictures and thinking how I married and had 3 children with such a beautiful and talented woman who ended up with a half crazy war veteran with a rebellious and selfish spirit.
Not sure what else is in store this week, but I know this for sure, God has opened my heart wide open to understanding, becoming a better father, looking at what value I squandered to learn from my own selfish desires, my only child mentality and wants me to open up even more to love.
After all, His love for us brought us the healing of our souls despite our past mistakes and his command to us says it all:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul,and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself!
I figured it out, I never loved Him or myself enough to love others. Now I do, now I will, it's not too late for me. How about you?
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.