Posted by: Ed Deiss | February 9, 2016

Yes, It’s Worth It

yes its worth itDo you wonder sometimes, should I go there again? The familiar “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” can be hollow and fail to reassure.  Then again, who said love was risk free?  There is no such thing. Matters of the heart are hard to define and need to be experienced. Loving someone means being vulnerable, cut open, and can hurt., It is also life changing and breathtaking. You may wonder single parents, as I have, is it worth the risk (again)? Having risked it myself, seeing family and close friends do the same and witnessing first hand both my parents risk it again, that familiar poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson holds true. Rather would put my heart on the line, risk it by doing so, and lose it than playing it safe. Actually, playing it safe is the riskiest thing you can do.

“Don’t go through life, grow through life” – Eric Butterworth

My Dad said to me growing up: ‘Son, wish I could model a great marriage to you’. Though that was his intention and desire, it was not the reality of our lives in Asia. My parents were married for ten years, and our family split apart as we went our separate ways when I was seven and my brother, Will, who was raised by my mom, was five. Each of them learned from their experience and I know they look at me and my brother and are thankful for us, as hard and painful as the lessons were. I was close to my Dad (he was single the entire time I grew up) and he was quite comfortable in his own skin as a single adult for twelve years before he found love again, or found him. He was happy, knowing full well that it may be without the ever after. He did desire to share his life with someone again; love can be unexpected and when you least expect it. When he came back to the United States, he was introduced by a college classmate of his to my now step mom, and they have been happily married for over 30 years.

My Mom remarried quickly after the divorce, and she has told me that it was one of the biggest mistakes of her life. Wrong man, wrong time and knew she should have taken the time and space to figure things out and heal. After her second marriage ended with a night that she nearly lost her life before my eyes, she took that time and what a difference it made. Three times is the charm for her and she has been happily married to my step dad for over 30 years as well. My parents loved then lost it all. Love ran out the door, and it came running back again.

Though I was in love for nearly seventeen years, know there is much I still need to learn. Love often does not make sense and can come about from unlikely places. As I shared through growing up with my dad and where I am, certainly not going to put my life on hold waiting for it, thriving and happy are great on their own. It is more about becoming and being the right person rather than wondering when and are you going to find someone.

“This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.” C.S. Lewis

When I think about authentically loving someone, what comes to mind I’m sure is quite familiar to many. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

If you want to try a humbling exercise I learned that serves as a constant reminder of what love should resemble, substitute your name for each instance of the word “Love” or ‘it”.  Love, it is an action without condition or limits.  It is fearless. It is an indescribable and heart pounding feeling for someone that you know is there, can be felt yet hard to put into words. Yet, behind the words that are found, love is also a decision that has a purpose that is bigger than oneself, it is selfless. It involves work between two imperfect individuals that want and choose to be together, and there is no place they would rather be.

Sharing a life, with a smile that heals, a laugh that reveals, a lift up walking anywhere, a willing and eager shoulder and ear when you are down, that can inspire without a sound, a touch that turns you around, and new found strength to keep on going…I certainly don’t know what it is, love for someone just has a way.

So, do you want to go there again?

Sure sounds like it’s worth it…

“Love is a second life; it grows into the soul, warms every vein, and beats in every pulse.”  Joseph Addison

Until next time,

Ed

Posted by: Ed Deiss | January 7, 2016

Each Day Can Start a New Year

each day can start a new year1A blank page, three hundred and sixty five of them in fact, of change and new beginnings.  The yearly calendar rollover is often seen as a point in time where we can embark on a new start, a fresh opportunity, or a chance to change something in our life. May I ask, is today any different for you than last week, last month, or last year? I have noticed the gym has been more crowded than last month. Though a new year is seen as a place for a new start, it can often be forgotten by St. Patrick’s Day. The desire for change is there or just wanting something different for our life, however we can easily fall prey to never taking the steps to do anything about it. We just keep on with what we have been doing and then wonder why we are still at the same place years later.

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do” – Anonymous

What is it that makes resolutions stick? As I thought about opportunities and changes in my life, they have come in a variety of ways. Sometimes through knocking, searching, or perseverance, and other times through actions and circumstances beyond my control.  In all cases what comes to mind is the word intentional and living intentionally.  It involves taking responsibility to pursue changes and opportunities each day. It’s reassuring to know I do not have to wait until the next New Year’s Day for my next chance.

What does living intentional look like? Lynne Hughes comes to mind.  She is the founder of Comfort Zone Camp. It is a bereavement camp that transforms the lives of children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver (I’m honored to serve as a big buddy volunteer). Lynne lost of both her parents, her mother died when she was nine and father three years later.  She shares that after her parent’s death, no one had to be there for her and that the two people who wanted her were gone. She became aware that any time someone reached out a friendly hand, it wasn’t something they had to do and learned to appreciate, enjoy and grow from it.  She conveyed an “Aha” moment when her Junior High principal and mentor said to her about leaving your mark: “…you leave your mark every day, in each person you meet; each person you touch. You leave your mark every day here at this school with each of your classmates and each of your teachers and in everyone you come into contact with. You don’t have to be famous to leave your mark.”

You know what? That sounds like a great resolution, each and every day. Lynne certainly took it to heart to pay it forward and is leaving a mark with each child that experiences Comfort Zone Camp.

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson

As exemplified above and I’m sure many reading this can relate that throughout this year as in past years, life can become difficult and seem unfair. This is not saying anything new. I found this especially true going on about my days without intention or purpose. It was as if I was existing to get by while hoping for something without any involvement.  What became clear is that if my desire for change did not include a change in actions, I would just be in the same place twelve months removed (and older).

For example:

  • We say we want a new job, however don’t get out there and have conversations or prepare a resume, and then put little to no effort in searching.
  • We affirm we want to meet someone however don’t put ourselves in a position to meet new people or change past patterns of behavior.
  • We state that we are going to accomplish something this year, however don’t take any actionable steps towards that goal.
  • We say we want to get more involved in our community yet are frozen by indecision and uncertainty as to where to start and how to go about it.

We have to be intentional. No one else is going to do it.

As I was talking to one of my daughters this week about her upcoming workload, activities, and wanting to look for work next school year, she expressed some anxiety about how she was going to handle it.  Natural for all of us, fear of the unknown.  I flashed back to a few years ago in the sudden transition to being a single parent and getting through Tuesday.  I have also gone through two job losses and as every single parent knows, when it is all on your shoulders, anxiety and fear surfaces real quick.  A fresh start and perspective was needed, along with the ability to have more control of my time so I could fulfill the most important role I will ever do, be a Dad.  What I encouraged Rachel was to have a little courage and that fear is often just an illusion.

What does it take to be intentional? To convert a desire for change into action?

Benjamin Mee is single dad who after the death of his wife, felt he and his kids needed a fresh start.  What did he do?  He bought a zoo, the Dartmoor Wildlife Park in Devon, England in 2006, that came with a house too. This scene from the movie based on his story ‘We Bought A Zoo’ says it well…a little courage and it is amazing what can happen.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” -Walt Disney

It is quite an adventure when we pursue living purposefully, deliberately, and intentionally.

It can be done any day and no need to wait to see the crowds next New Year’s Eve on Times Square.

Each and Every day can start a New Year.

Until Next Time,

Ed

 

Posted by: Ed Deiss | December 4, 2015

The Day Everything Changed

3wise01This time of year can serve as a reminder of what was, and what’s now. For many Christmas time can be a tough time of year filled with sadness and loneliness. You may not have your kids with you this year, remembering a parent, spouse, child, or loved one who has passed away, a failed marriage or relationship, or health.  After reading a story shared a couple of years ago about a mom having just given birth to her first child was given 15 months to live, I was reminded about what hope really is all about.

As was shared in that story, in his book “God Came Near” Max Lucado writes:

“The problem is not that God doesn’t give us what we hope for. It’s that we do not know the right thing for which to hope. Hope isn’t what you expect—it’s what you would never dream. It’s a wild, improbable tale with a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming ending.  Hope is not a granted wish or a favor performed. It’s far greater than that.  It’s a zany, unpredictable dependence on a God who loves to surprise us out of our socks!”

The Christmas of 2010 was my first as a single parent and remember that morning my kids saying how great a Christmas it was, a heartwarming day after a tough year of just getting through Tuesday. I remember the first Christmas morning I woke up without my trio, expecting them to come breaking through the bedroom door. Been grateful to be able to stay in the house they have grown up in, and I came downstairs to where years of Christmas mornings had taken place and though uneasy and empty, looking at the Christmas tree and nativity it was quiet and calm. Of course, there were flashbacks in time however I had some time to truly reflect on the day that changed everything.

Looking at the gifts waiting to be unwrapped, I thought about the other ones not there to be grateful for such as:  strength gained from scars; how storms gone through have become purposes; how other single and former single dads became a ‘band of brothers’; how close I have become to both my mom and dad; how I have learned from my little brother and the pillar he has been; how simple things and time with my kids are truly wonderful things; how long car rides have become a blast; how being comfortable in my own skin again really feels; how neighbors truly care for one another; and these past two years how friends have become sole sisters and brothers through running that encouraged and inspired me to take a chance, and follow my heart.   As I reflect on that, the reality of Christmas as God’s love for us becomes evident. Someone really does care, God’s gift of reality to us.

As I come in my front door everyday, and come down the stairs, this picture below is always there.  It is from a while ago, however it serves to remind me whether I am going/coming from work, after saying good night, getting ready for another school day, or on Christmas morning. As I look at that picture I know that the best thing I will ever, ever do is be a dad to Will, Rachel, and Zoe. Another gift not found under the tree.

Dad and trio picture in foyer

May the Lord continue to grant you time enough, energy enough, hands enough, and heart enough.

Merry Christmas!

Until next time,

Ed

Posted by: Ed Deiss | October 30, 2015

Take a Chance, Follow Your Heart

finish-line1Chances, they are there for the taking.  They represent hope, some may roll away, some may get lost.  What I do know is that if I don’t take them I will never know.  As I get ready to my first marathon ever, have run more training miles than I thought possible, including three 20 mile runs within five weeks.  I have learned a lot about myself these last few months getting #richmondready.  After my second 20 miler it dawned on me that:

The more I run, the more I learn about myself. When running uphill, just keep going and catch your breath if you need to. When you think you can’t go on, it is akin to a mirage and you can. The pain of a long run is certainly felt, don’t fear it…so is the satisfaction felt of having gone through it.  Consistency and habits seem to complement each other well.  Not every run goes as planned, learn, adapt, and move on. It’s not so much about pace and time, rather making a difference and the journey.  I never would have imagined running 20 miles twice in 3 weeks a year ago.  The difference is #megsmiles; reminding myself to keep fighting, finish the race, and keep the faith; running buddies; and running alongside my #MTT En Fuego #wolfpack each week.  Today a 20 miler for second time ever…it was a large part of the #RVAMarathon course, hills included.  #werunasone 

It is getting close to heading to the starting line.  Richmond, Virginia on November 14, 2015.  Been grateful to #runasone with so many over this journey.  When I think about it we all have the ability to positively impact lives of those we cross paths with and be remembered. You can push through your own struggles and setbacks, and it can be rewoven into purpose.

Purpose driven miles, and grateful for each one whether it be a person, people, country, organization, matter of the heart, school, team, or lesson learned that has inspired and impacted me along the way.

Mile 1 – Meg Menzies: I asked Meg’s husband Scott if he would not mind sharing what mile they were on when they went out for their run on January 13, 2014 before Meg was taken from his side.  He graciously shared that it was Mile 1; for you Meg in the streets of your hometown.  Your life has reminded me that lives can impact others, even those we have not met and still are.  Grateful for #megsmiles, Mile 1.

Mile 2 – My Mom:  The long road to reconcile was worth every mile, from coming home from school one day when I was seven and her not being there, to a childhood growing up in Asia without her, to almost having her life taken at gunpoint before my eyes, to what we have now.  Amazing.

Mile 3 – My Dad: ‘Can’t have quality time without quantity time.’ That was what my Dad would say to me, and man did we ever!  He was very purposeful, always encouraging my self-confidence and his time with me was a priority to him. He knew it was not the ideal situation for me growing up apart from my mom and brother on the other side of the world, and it was certainly not the plan.   ‘I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”  – Charles Swindoll.  You lived it, I saw it, thanks Dad.

Mile 4 – My brother Will: “I wish we could have grown up together.” We shared the same blood however our lives were torn apart and we were separated too soon.  Siblings are meant to grow up together.  Our shared experience has led us to being there for one another, and doing our part to not forget the painful lesson we learned that has strengthened our brotherly bond.  You are a great brother Will, thanks for being there.

Mile 5 – My son Will: Son, you make it look easy.  Though as I live through each day with you and your sisters, I know it’s not.  So heartwarming as a Dad as I’m inspired by your work ethic and how you handle yourself.  Unflappable.  I love you buddy.  Let’s go camping and fishing soon, I know you need some time away from your sisters…I get it!  Let me get through Mile 5 first though.

Mile 6 – My daughter Rachel: The middle child, and though there are days I wonder if I should transform my SUV into a FedEx or UPS delivery truck getting you to where you are going, how great it is to see how you have become such a good friend to others, and truly listen to them when needed. As for our dance moves at stoplights in the car, when running this marathon going to need to hold off on the ‘upper dougie’..need to save the energy.  I Love you!

Mile 7 – My daughter Zoe: My youngest, and it is going by all too soon.  There is something about having daughters that adds another dimension to a man’s soul, it softens and adds tenderness and at the same time makes it more valiant and protective.  Grateful to you and Rachel for that.  After we returned from our latest Y Princess Longhouse camping weekend away you said to me “Dad, I want every weekend to be a Longhouse weekend.”  So do I Zoe…I love you and Mile 7 for you!

Mile 8 – Single Parents: Always amazed how you do it. As a single parent, their world rests on your shoulders; it is if you are wearing an invisible cape. You need to be adaptable, versatile, and all at once; parent, friend, mentor, cook, coach, pastor, banker, doctor, healer, protector, handyman, and a warm hug and shoulder on which to cry. It is always your turn. As a child raised by one, and one on that journey now, I have a heart for you all and can say that I am truly grateful for the strength gained and how my focus as a Dad is so clear.

Mile 9 – Kids of Single Parents: It was not the plan, was it?  Though not having the other parent in your life may be a conclusion for your Mom or Dad, it is uncertainty for you.  They are both part of who you are, and as I have experienced a soul can be conflicted.  Be reassured that tomorrow does hold out her hand and that ‘strong people don’t have easy pasts’ (C.S. Lewis). Having been raised as a kid of a single parent, my heart is with you.

Mile 10 – Third Culture Kids (TCKs):  How many times have you answered the question ‘So, where are you from?’ and wondered why can’t it be easy.  When I say Singapore, I usually hear ‘You don’t look Asian.’  I call it the puzzle identity that falls into place one piece at a time.  For me it was discovering who I was with all the dynamic factors in play that were ‘out of synch’ with others from my country of birth.  You may be running in search of who you are. Rather than be on the run searching, why not embrace it.  Be it the island of misfit toys or squares with round edges, I have come to appreciate being a blend of Asia and America as a TCK.  My heart is with you as you navigate and face adopting a country that becomes your home and significantly shapes your life and who you are. And I’m hopefully at Mile 10.

Mile 11 – Singapore: When my Dad and I arrived, we were hoping for a new tomorrow setting out to make the best of it as father and son apart from my mom and brother.  You are in my heart and run through my veins, I became a blend of your Asian culture and my Dad’s.  Your journey from third world country to first happened right before my eyes; everyone does know your name. The Lion City is Lion Hearted. Growing up on your shores I was able to experience relationships and gain perspectives I never would have otherwise.  Can’t wait to see you again in 2016! Hopefully will make it to Mile 11 beforehand.  Saya suka anda dan jumpa lagi Singapura!

Mile 12 – Cameron Gallagher:   It happened at mile 12.  Cameron needed to stretch her legs, and turned to her best friend and running mate Abby Donelson and said “Let’s Finish This.” They crossed the finish line together, then something was not right and she went to her parents and fell into their arms and died of an undiagnosed heart arrhythmia.  Cameron spoke of an idea she had to her parents the week prior, a community race to promote childhood depression awareness as she struggled with it herself.  Words spoken at Mile 12 became a mission for SpeakUp, a nonprofit that works to cultivate awareness and understanding of teenage depression and anxiety, and encourages teens that it is OK to Speak Up about their personal battles.  Always knew this was going to be your mile Cameron!

Mile 13 – CZC Family and Little Buddies: Always look forward to Comfort Zone Camp, as I have learned that being there for a child in need who has lost a parent or sibling is one of the best investments one can make.  I have shared with them in the bitter and the sweet of life; what love is and how it truly looks and works; learned to be more compassionate and be made humble; and reassure that there is still much to look forward to.  The experience each and every time opens my eyes and heart for others as I look through the eyes of my little buddies and CZC family.  Thank you for inspiring me, this mile is for you!

Mile 14 – Mark Isabelle and St. Baldrick’s: Diagnosed with leukemia at age 4, Mark was in the fight of his life.  He and his family are my neighbors, so it hits close to home, literally.  Looked in his eyes everyday as he got on the school bus with some of my kids.  He would go with me and stand beside as I got my head shaved with St. Baldrick’s every spring, which raises funds for child cancer research.  It is now in remission and Mark can join me as we get our heads shaved together.  What he and his family have faced has been with love, faith, and courage, and they have inspired so many others, me included. Lose my hair, find gratitude for these kids and their families.  Thanks Mark.  Until #teamchickmagnet gets it done again, this mile is for you buddy!

Mile 15 – Running Buddies: I ran a race in New England this summer that brought home the strength of #runasone. The race is for John Kelley who was the 1957 Boston Marathon winner and on two US Olympic teams.  He coached Amby Burfoot, another running legend and winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon.  I had the pleasure of meeting Amby at the race, and he still runs remembering his coach and good friend John Kelley, who passed away in 2011.  What has been validated during all these training miles is the importance of encouragement and having others around you; and I could not have reached this point to be prepared without those that ran with me, encouraged me to keep going, and were always there whether we ran together that day or not.  Thanks and this mile is for you!

Mile 16 – Forgiveness: The boulevard of broken dreams, hearts, and lives. The Wronged Road, sound familiar?  Been on it too, going the wrong way. Feels justifying to stay, and don’t feel like getting off it either.  Wronged Road can be deceiving, with the perceived power and justification that the offender is being held accountable for their actions. Then I hit a wall and realize the further I travel down this road, the more I can’t move: shackled and bound by a time and place someone else has chosen. It weighed me down and imprisoned my soul as I chose to stay on it and turn my back on my future. Do you need to find a bridge to cross? Does this journey sound familiar? If you want to break free, need to set it free. You won’t feel like it as the pain caused is certainly real. If you so choose, need to give something away that will take everything you have. It starts with a decision and your will to carry it out. Forgiveness.  Whether it is on this mile or another, set yourself free and run for that bridge.

Mile 17 – Radical Gratitude: I remember the day after losing my job in 2009. With all that was going on around me at the time, felt as if the sky was falling. That day, June 1, 2009 went with my youngest daughter, having just graduated pre-school, to a park and had one of the best days ever. Swings, slides, stories, picnic lunch, staring and talking about the clouds. I came to realize after reflecting on that day there is a difference in feeling and being grateful; a radical difference. Being grateful grows from the inside out so that it becomes part of who you are not just something you feel and do; it involves having a deep appreciation for everyone and everything around you realizing that life is made better by so many people, things and events that too often go unnoticed; and it provides a perspective from which we can view life in its entirety and not be overwhelmed by living in our own head too much and temporary circumstances. No matter what happens, if you dig deep you will discover as I did there is really plenty for which to be thankful.  Know I’m going to be digging deep at Mile 17, and being grateful for it!

Mile 18 – Not Listening to Odds: There are certain quotes that always seem to stick. “Never tell me the odds” is one that comes to mind. I never want to be told the odds, never sought to understand them anyway. I certainly understand doubts, they are natural and we all have them at times. What odds allow is for others to define you.  In reality it seems to me it applies more to the one doing the defining as they are in fact limiting themselves. I’m sure many of you have had experiences where odds were not favorable, and wonder how you did it.  If I had to guess, faithfully pressing on is one way.  For mile 18, that’s what I will be doing.

Mile 19 – Fueling Up: Have realized that strength does not come from success, whether it be a run, running a house alone, or anything else. The long runs long runs on the weekends, midweek, and hill repeats requires fuel; every mile, quarter mile, tenth of a mile. What is strength’s fuel?  Struggle. And without struggle, there is no strength. Let it be the fuel to strengthen you through the ups and downs of the ocean waves, or marathon, that life brings.  I’m going to be fueling up on it for Mile 19.

Mile 20 – Embracing the Struggle: Great things can come through pain, though this does not sound right at first read.  However I have come to appreciate and see a purpose through the pain and how faithful God has been to carry me through. It is natural to only see troubles and pain, rather than results of enduring the struggle.  As I contemplated whether or not to do another hill repeat, my mind has gone from rather than run from it, run to it.  Embrace the struggle as you will be grateful for the strength.  Mile 20, first half of marathon is done and will be embracing it from here on out!

Mile 21 – Leela and Raj: She calls me her godson, not because of any formal ceremony rather recognizing how our lives crossed paths. When we moved to Singapore, a family lived with Dad and me that became family.  What I love about Asia and has become ingrained with me is the culture of hospitality and generosity.  Leela and Raj (they adopted a son, Mohan) became family to us.  Raj did not speak any English, and I could not speak Tamil.  We tried Malay however it did not seem to matter, we loved being around each other.  After around 5 years, I came to the U.S. to visit and my Dad got a call we will never forget.  Raj was murdered because someone wanted to borrow some money. Violent crime is very rare in Singapore and his assailant was caught and did not live long after, however that was of no consequence to me.   I still look at his pictures, and in touch with Leela and Mohan…grateful my kids met them both.  This mile is for you Raj and Leela.  Love you!

Mile 22 – UWCSEA: The United World College of South East Asia, one of the schools I attended.  Some of the best classmates and teachers from all over the world.  Name a country, and you will be right.  Still in touch with quite a few and as a tribute to our days together, at mile 22 my friends!

Mile 23 – SAS: Singapore American School, and am grateful to have lifelong friends and classmates that are always there, just as above.  The classrooms, halls, fields (and cafeteria!) of Kings Road and friendships forged will always be with us.  It is if we can always to back to a place only we know, and do when we get together as if no time has passed.  Getting close, Mile 23!

Mile 24 – Church Family: My church home is in the inner city, a multi-denominational church where I worship alongside people of  different nationalities, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds.  Not named after a street, rather a timeless place.  Where we live and our ethnicities have no bearing on how we relate to each other.  Our blood is red. In many ways reminds of my church home in Singapore.  This mile is for my church family in Richmond and Singapore…need faith to know I will see the finish line soon!

Mile 25 – MTT EnFuego: My Marathon Training Team!  Little did I know when I saw my name on a list how bonded we would become by running together every week.  Sportsbackers, the coaches…Greg, Elliott, Rich, Michelle, and Laura.  There is no way I could ever dream of attempting a marathon run without my EnFuegos.  Always inspiring, encouraging, serving, and leading by example.  Thank you!

Mile 26 – The #wolfpack: As we ran every Saturday, we started running together and it became us.  The wolfpack.  We enjoyed just being together, running, laughing, telling stories, asking ‘what ifs’, being chased by squirrels in the Fan, surviving the chain link fence of doom, chugging chocolate milk after our long runs, sitting down after 16, 18, 20 milers and risking not being able to stand up for a while, and encouraging each other that we can all get there.  Ashlee, Kelly, Sarah, Matt…we are at Mile 26.  I would not be here if it were not having y’all by my side each week. “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” ― Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book. 26.2… The pack is coming for you!

Mile 0.2 – Richmond, VA USA: My first marathon.  If I was ever going to attempt one, wanted it to be where I call home now.  This place has become part of who I am, and love it here raising my kids.  It has welcomed this Third Culture Kid with open arms and as one who was uneasy as I transitioned back to my country of birth, I love this life right here in RVA.  This last 0.2 is for you…thank you!

Your life can have impact, your story matters, and each mile above are some of those that have impacted, encouraged, challenged, and inspired me to honor myself to be a better person, dad, son, brother, cousin, friend, running buddy, 3am friend, and teammate.  I agree with C.S. Lewis’ observation that there are no ordinary lives; setbacks are not final conclusions and what seems to be ordinary things can be quite extraordinary indeed.  Challenge yourself to be a better version of yourself, be willing to learn, be willing to teach, be willing to sweat, be willing to struggle, be willing to believe in yourself, be purposeful, be vulnerable, be a chance taker, and be grateful for it all.

26.2…my eyes are on you.

 

 

Until next time,

Ed

 

 

Posted by: Ed Deiss | September 27, 2015

What I Realized When the Dolphin Asked

dolphin-rescueScuba diver Keller Laros will not forget January 11, 2013. He was in the right place at the right time.  Having a fish hook and line entangled in your mouth and fin is painful. The dolphin needed help and he was the right person. Leading up to this encounter, the dolphin was just not sure if and when help would arrive. Or for that matter, what form.

Ever sought help and not sure who or how? For me, it happened as a seven year old kid when I came home and my mom was gone. When I left life as I knew it, and my brother and mom, soon thereafter for Asia with my dad, with our clothes and faith in what life had in store for us. I know it often occupied my mind during the transition to being a single parent and even well along the way now. Do you find yourself at times entangled in anger? Bitterness? Doubt? Grief and sense of loss?

The picture above speaks for them both.  They did not say a word to each other, nor could they. Actions spoke.  He motioned for the dolphin to come over and freed the entangled mess of fishing line and hook from it’s pectoral fin. Laros knew the injured dolphin had complete trust in him and he is humbled by all the attention and hopes those who watch it see more than just a rescue at sea. The video has touched the hearts of millions of people across the world:

I have been on that dive in Garden Eel Cove off the Big Island in 2002; been diving since I was 14.  Saw many Manta Rays and touched them as they gracefully and effortlessly swam by, with a wingspan the width of a car.  There were no dolphins to be found that night however what is clear from this event is the dolphin actively sought and asked, in it’s own way, the diver for help. There is an obvious connection between the two. Perhaps the thought bubbles the dolphin was having could have been translated as “See this fishing hook and line I’m entangled in, can you remove it please?” “Hold on, I have to go up for air then will come right back down. “I trust you.” At the end when swimming off, a shy glance while saying ‘Thank you, friend.’

“It was an emotional encounter,” says Laros in an interview. “My first surprise was when the dolphin was right behind me. Second, I was shocked when the dolphin came over to me after I signaled it. Next, I was nervous that I’d screw up, drop my scissors and not be able to help the poor dolphin. When the hook and line were removed, I was relieved and happy that the dolphin was going to be OK.”

“I think this encounter has reinforced my belief that we can all make a difference in the world by being good and simply doing the right things every day,” says Laros. “Be it holding a door for someone, recycling cans, bottles and paper, being polite and patient with others, or helping an injured animal, do your best and do what’s right and every day the world can get better.”

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” – Booker T. Washington

Why is it so hard for us sometimes?  When pressed with troubled hearts and minds, what gets in the way? Pride, shame, embarrassment come to mind. Not wanting to appear weak or bother others. Figure one can handle it best on their own, and that way keep it to themselves and maintain control over it. The presumption is that not only is there something wrong with asking, there is something wrong with the person who is asking.

These behaviors and attitudes actually hinder us and shut the door to learning and growing.  It will close off the help we need to learn the things we need to know. It will keep us from securing help and advice to become the person and parent we need to be. My experience has been that as a parent, I also need to be a student.

“Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I had a similar experience to Keller Laros. Diving in the South China Sea off Malaysia towards the end of another ocean sojourn and came upon a nurse shark which appeared to be resting at the bottom. Something looked wrong. Looked closer and there was a fishing rope tightly entangled around its body and fins. Without any words possible or exchanged, I could tell the shark was signaling a call for help. It had to be freed.

Reached down and I took out my dive knife from its sheath. I approached and started cutting away the rope. The shark knew I was helping and stayed very calm. The rope was so thick, it became a race between breathing the air I had left and getting through the rope. The rope proved thicker than the air I had left in that tank and had to stop and go to the surface. Perhaps the shark had a thought bubble that said “Know you will be back.”

Taking a surface interval with dive buddies off coast of Malaysia in South China Sea

Taking a surface interval with dive buddies off coast of Malaysia in South China Sea

When I reached the surface and swam over to our dive boat, was asked what I was doing.  Informed my dad and dive buddies that there is no way I’m going to leave without giving it a shot with whatever air we all had left. Came back down after I switched tanks and kept cutting away. I recall it took around 20-30 minutes to cut the rope and get the shark free.  The rope left a deep skin imprint around its body, however looked to be fine. Remember the shark slowly swimming away, threw me a glance.

Akin to the dolphin off Hawaii and the shark off Malaysia, we are free when not entangled in pride and other attitudes and behaviors. Be rest assured that you are not alone and there have been (and will be) times when you come up against problems that are too large to deal with based on your own knowledge and strength.  You can Get Through Tuesday.

Don’t stay entangled. All you need to do is ask for help, you may find it comes from an unexpected place.

“The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” ~ Unknown

Until next time,

Ed

 

Posted by: Ed Deiss | September 3, 2015

A Letter To Myself in Ten Years

ed and will at pierDear Ed in Ten Years,

Your kids are likely on their own by now, and you may be as well (or not, it is ten years from now after all). Will is now twenty-seven, Rachel is twenty-four, and Zoe is twenty-one.  Need to get, or pickup, any of your kids from sports practices? Is their homework done? School papers signed? Do you have any laundry to fold this evening? Any lunches to make sure get made? Dinner for four? Great, all done and caught up!

I know there were times you wondered what qualifications you had to be a parent, let alone a single parent. What you experienced was not always as it seemed by flipping through your Facebook news feed (by the way, is that still around or did it go the way of MySpace?). There are probably times you are looking back right now and think about saying good night to them all as I do now.

As you are looking back on this time, I’m asking you to remember. Really remember. You never planned on being a single parent, yet decided to put into action the wisdom of Coach John Wooden: “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” Dad modeled it raising you as a single parent. Both Mom and Dad were there for you during this time, always. You learned growing up in Asia as a Third Culture Kid, though uneasy at first you adapted to your new environment and that ‘call of the unknown’ started to fill you with wonder as to what was ahead. Most days ended with exhaustion yet you were strengthened by the experience. You were navigating unchartered waters, yet you became more resilient. Though there were many times of doubt and instead of allow them to weaken your faith, you gained strength as you carried on. Raising kids is hard and there is a mirror in your face everyday. Gretchen Rubin was spot on when she said “The days are long, but the years are short.”

me and my trio at the beach

Will, Rachel, and Zoe are fantastic and you have enjoyed each and every stage. Football, basketball, until midnight summer swim meets, gymnastics, fishing, canoeing on the Shenandoah, beach time, camping, father/daughter dances, parasailing, water slides, the ‘dougie’ in the car at stoplights, making up our own lyrics (Zoe was right, you are a lousy rapper), Asian food dinner nights, speaking Malay to clear things up, school morning wake up routines with Zoe the wake up machine, ‘I love you notes’ that melt your heart, ‘I love you’ words out loud that melt your heart too, the look in their eyes when they don’t want their eyes to leave looking at you, and you at them, and saying goodnight before and after they are asleep.

will playing footballrachel on boatzoe at beach

You may have not realized it at this time where I am; sure you miss these times now. There is a tipping point and the years start to speed by. Oh, almost forgot. Make sure you call them; sure they will still have phones of some kind that have a voice feature in ten years. They will be paying for them too by then. Whether you are just letting them know you love them, thinking about them or making plans to be together.

I’m on my way to where you are Ed, and so far I have come to realize and appreciate what C.S. Lewis realized as well that “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

By the way, remember those summers we chased the sun?

Just as this year, each one has its own story.

Stay Strong,

The younger Ed

Posted by: Ed Deiss | August 11, 2015

Getting Through Tuesday

helping_hand_by_lhhusky07He came home from an ordinary workday, yet something seemed amiss.  It has been 14 years, however the day that changed futures is still fresh in his mind. What he saw when he opened the door, he never expected, wanted, or had a passing thought would ever happen.  There was a car he did not recognize in the driveway, what is going on?  Went in his home and found his then wife with another man who was in turn being confronted by his wife, and carrying their 2-year-old child as a shield during the heated confrontation. A volatile mix of emotions and actions; surreal, confusion, confrontation, and anger. Though in the midst of one of those blindsiding ocean storm waves he never saw coming, he had the strength of character to protect. My buddy’s wife was so distraught with her actions she went for the Drano to poison herself, he knocked it out of her hands.  She then went for a gun, he blocked her. Then she raked a butcher’s knife across her wrist. After more threats and waving the knife at him, he called 911.  The street was filled with police cars, and in they came with guns drawn. Away she went in cuffs.

That day changed and impacted many lives, that guy who walked in that door is one of my ‘band of brothers’ who has encouraged and been there for me. We can share and relate with each other as we both have experienced human betrayal and pain beyond our, and probably your, wildest imaginations, yet we got through it.

He shared with me for this post that afterwards:

  • The future went from 10 to 15 years out to simply Tuesday
  • His initial reaction was “trust no one” …who has keys to the house? Close the bank accounts! Buy a safe! Change the locks! Cover the windows with sheets! Draw the curtains! Cancel all the credit cards!
  • Learning to trust was a huge challenge ….let me rephrase that …making a deliberate and conscious decision based on blind faith to trust was a huge step
  • Being an independent minded man, I had NEVER relied upon my friends so heavily. Without fail each one was there, no questions asked. One was packed and ready to drive from Colorado until I convinced him that I was ok. My neighbor was right at the door right after police left.
  • He came to a place where he could be comfortable in his own skin again and was completely transparenent with his now wife; the first time they met…let her know “I have baggage.” Being graced by God with his new wife coming into his life (they have had 2 children as well), she is from a country on the other side of the world.

Fast forward a few years. We met for lunch to catch up with each other, as I was just learning to fly on my own and as a single parent.  How did you get through it, I asked?

‘Ed, just focus on the day at hand, and then getting through the next day, and then just getting through Tuesday.’

One step, one day, at a time.

Thank you buddy for sharing this to encourage others, as you have with me…you know who you are.  You have gone through Tuesday and beyond.

“We’re stronger in the places we’ve been broken” – Ernest Hemingway

Seems that is the way life goes, living each day as ordinary as they seem and then one day, something happens. Suddenly, we are on the boulevard of broken dreams; lives are shattered.  Life as it was and we have known is gone, feeling both helpless and hopeless.

There will be times in your life that you will have to deal with personal hardship of some kind.  It could come in different ways, and more than one at a time; loss of your job, death of a spouse, adultery, divorce, death of a child or parent, or the inability to have children. The experience may seem overwhelming, and knock the wind out of you.  You can press forward and though it won’t be easy, here are some ways to maintain that focus and peace of mind that authors Marc and Angel Chertoff have learned, with some of my insights:

  • Learn to trust yourself – Trust your instincts and your gut, and move forward with faith in your abilities.  Stay true and honor yourself, life will not forsake you. Though I could not see it at the time, I was reassured it will work out in the end.
  • Focus on what you are learning – Any journey worth going on is supposed to be just that, worth it. Not easy, worth it. “I have never met a strong person with an easy past” (Unknown)
  • Ease your expectations – Had to remind myself what happened and what it was all about, as was completely unexpected. Perhaps there was a greater purpose, and seeing things as they are is just what I need and where I need to be.
  • Open up to someone you trust – See above. I came to realize that I was not alone and other guys and dads who had been on a similar journey, they had been there. They walked beside me, picked me up, pulled me through, and were there at 3am when I called too.
  • Use hope to drive positive action – Encourage and inspire, strive and grow. Even when circumstances say otherwise. As my heart healed I figured out that I needed to get to a place where I could appreciate and be grateful where I was at this point in my life. One of the ways I learned to get on the road of hope is by being there and serving others, you will likely learn as I did that serving others serves you. Serve with who you are, wounds, limitations, and experiences and your heart changes, perspective is gained, and appreciation will grow.
  • Give yourself time – Remember my pastor saying probably take a year to year and a half to heal. I took that time and more, thought best to take what I need and no need to rush. It is a process that is as unique as each person and circumstance. Be patient with yourself and don’t force it, better to take the time than mask your pain.
  • Look for the beginning in every ending – Let the adventures of what lies ahead fill your heart with wonder, as the lessons of the past serve you well for a great beginning.

Though this does not sound like a gift anyone would want, I have come to appreciate and see a purpose through the pain and how faithful God was to carry me through.  Namely:

  • Through the storm and fog that blurred my vision, my faith was strengthened, more refined, and pure by being put through the fire.  Strong convictions does not mean doubts do not creep in. Walking the foggy road of doubt and confusion after being on the boulevard of broken dreams helped solidify my faith.
  • My heart has grown more compassionate toward people around me as I look through a new set of eyes.  I have a heart for single parents, kids of single parents and Third Culture Kids who just need someone to encourage, believe, and be beside them through the tough, uncertain, doubtful, and dark days.
  • My focus as a Dad has become stronger; as my Dad was with me I treasure the time with my kids.  As a new school year is upon us and our summer days are getting shorter, am reminded that though ‘though the days may be long, the years are short’.  They are all getting taller though.

IMG_3919

 

It is natural for us to only see our circumstances with the troubles and pain, rather than results of enduring the struggle and the hand walking us through the storm.  Arthur Hays Sulzberger was the publisher of the New York Times during the second World War. Because of the world conflict, he found it almost impossible to sleep. He was never able to get worries from his mind until he adopted as his motto these five words: “One step enough for me” taken from the old hymn, Lead Kindly Light.

I figured out that all I needed was a lamp to my feet, not a crystal ball into the future. Don’t know what will happen tomorrow, what I do know is I’m not alone and though God is not going to let me see the distant scene I’m reassured that “Faith tells me that no matter what lies ahead of me, God is already there.”  – Unknown

Finally, getting through Tuesday can involve questions of identity. My journey has circled around it and the lifelong puzzle that falls into place one piece at a time.  Where do we find it, and why does it matter. If there are times you can’t seem to see your own worth, don’t need to look to yourself to find it.  Allow yourself to be reminded that your identity is not found in how you look, your income, education or relationship status.

Rather than run from it, run to it and be reminded who you are.  You can get through Tuesday, and beyond.

Until Next Time,

Ed

 

 

Posted by: Ed Deiss | July 27, 2015

The Strength of Scars

strength of scarsI was asked a question one evening a few years ago by some good friends that know where I have been. Just take a look at your scars, Ed. Look closely, what do you see?  I have one immediately in sight from when my Dad accidentally slammed the car door of our Dodge Polara (anyone remember those?) on my index finger when I was around five years old. What came to my mind was ‘Looks tougher, more resilient than the original skin tissue and serves as a reminder of my past; it is real and healed’. Now, what did I realize after that epiphany? The strength of scars. Even though I was going through another life changing storm at the time, I had a choice to make, namely choosing to dwell in the scar or realize and use the strength gained from it.

“A scar simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” – Unknown

In life, we are going to encounter bumps and ‘jagged rocks’ as we climb through the years. Many of them hurt us, scar us, and leave us sore and bruised. However we can choose to see all the bumps, bruises, and scars not in terms of the damage they caused, but as stepping stones that provide focus to a higher plane of living; they make you strong.

From every wound there is a scar, and from every scar there is a story.

As writer Jeff Goins has said about stories, they sure can be powerful. You know why?

A story is where we came from and where we are going. A story is what connects us and binds us to each other. It is in the story of God and mankind amongst love and fear and failure that we make meaning of our lives. A story is what defines us and sets us apart. It’s what allows us to connect with each another to truly know and be known. Nothing is so warm and inviting, yet so challenging and poignant, as a powerful story, told well. They are written to be shared not only for our own sake, for the benefit of others. Stories change people.*

“Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.”– Henry Rollins

As you realize the strength of your scars, I’m sure there is a story behind it that others can learn from.

The story of a healed scar became a gift not found under the Christmas tree as the relationship with my mom transformed through time. This week we are going on our annual trip to New England to see her and my step dad. She visits several times during the school year as well, spending time with her grandkids and me. She also helps get ‘stuff’ accomplished around my house including tasks I’m not good at, such as going through girls clothes. Spending time with each other, I sometimes reflect on how I may have ended up not having her around at all.  Being raised by my Dad in Asia, I did not get to know my Mom until I was an adult. However that may have not even have happened. Wounds become scars, and scars become stories.

In the middle of a high school summer night visiting my mom and brother, she and my former step dad had passed the point of no return in their marriage. Awakened suddenly in the middle of the night, it was my mom crashing the bedroom door open in what I will call a heated exchange.

That ‘heated exchange’ was attempt on my mom’s life. When she crashed in the door and I was awakened, there was a gun to her head and an arm around her neck. She flipped on the light when she opened the door and yelled to wake us up, her life was in imminent danger. There was a rush of adrenaline through my body as I tried to awaken my brother and look for the baseball bat that was in the room. My mind and blood were racing, and so was I to beat the sound I feared hearing, gunfire.

Thank God for sheep dogs.  As protectors of their herd, her dog, Katie, was barking her head off and growling fiercely at my former step dad when she was forced downstairs. Next thing I know, neighbors are at the doors and so are the police.

That was a wounding night for us all, it left a scar, and it has healed. We all have moved on from that night and our bonds are stronger because of it. The memory and images are still there, however the smiles we have now are ones of hope and strength. How much I love and appreciate my mom.

ed and mom

The question I was asked that evening served as a reminder that scars are evidence of something that happened in my life.  There are others and they are part of who I am and represent where I have been. We should take heart because:

“Scars are badges of strength and courage. They tell the story of what we have endured. Only survivors wear them” – Kaki Warner

Since you are reading this, you have scars.

What are they and how have they made you stronger?  Can you name one you are grateful for?

You know the wound, you know the scar, you know the story.

Be grateful for the strength.

Until next time,

Ed

*from “Why I believe in the Power of a Story” by Jeff Goins

Posted by: Ed Deiss | June 7, 2015

We Run As One

Run As 1

Everyday reminder of getting through the long runs #werunasone

 

The end of a 26.2 mile run.  I know it is there, just can’t see it.  I know there will be  times I don’t think I will ever see it.  The muscles will get tired and sore, my heart will beat faster than my pulse, the pain to keep going will become to great to bear, and I will wonder, why am I here?  As with long distance runs (in my mind anyway) I have completed,  there will come a point where I want to come to a full stop. The pain on the inside is several times more than what is being shown on the outside.

Sounds akin to life at times, doesn’t it?  Life is a series of runs, some of them long.  There may be a point where you want to give up; can either quit and go home or finish the race.  Leaving the American midwest and all that was familiar as a kid, including my mom and brother, certainly was a long run as I grew up in Asia having Adventures with Dad, to restoring the relationship with my mom as an adult.  Only within last couple of years did I find out why she was not there to say goodbye; disillusioned, hurt, and abandoned are natural as you would imagine a seven year old boy would be experiencing.  It was a long run to reconcile, from childhood to my adult years.  The road to heartfelt forgiveness can scar, bruise, and seem like running on rocks.  It’s not easy, yet was certainly worth the run.  Every mile.

“We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” – C.S. Lewis

The fact is we are not promised the absence of struggle with abundant strength in this life, it is through struggle through which strength is built.  Whatever long run you are on, you will get through it. You think you won’t, however you will.  Relationships, parenting, responsibilities, the storms in life that will hit; final tears shed at chemotherapy, betrayal, a parent who left or passed away, death of loved one, a job loss, or keeping close to a loved one’s bedside during a time of need.  How do we flourish in the midst of this?  How do we not only survive, but thrive?  How do we get through those long runs?

#WeRunAsOne

Approaching finish line at Shamrock Half in Virginia Beach, eyes on ocean sunrise and going for 26.2

Approaching finish line at Shamrock Half in Virginia Beach, VA; eyes on ocean sunrise and going for 26.2

What I have learned as I have run longer and longer distances transcends running.  There is the importance of encouragement and having others around you; lightening the load and letting go, throwing off what is holding you down; perseverance as a good mind and heart are a formidable combination; keeping your eyes on what’s ahead of you, just as important as finishing the run in my mind; faith of how amazing it can be when we step into the unknown, with full confidence that God will not let you go; and trusting others who have gone before you in more difficult circumstances that inspire you to keep going and not lose heart.

With a heart that doesn’t harden, and a resolve that never vanishes, pain can be rewoven for a higher purpose.  We can rise up from the rubble,  feel our pulse, with full confidence that setbacks are not final conclusions. Tears and sweat can become a symphony of hope in the cathedrals of our hearts.

Richmond, Virginia on November 14, 2015.  My first marathon. Grateful to #runasone with so many; and for a new license plate.  Will be getting #richmondready for #RVAMarathon where each mile is going to have a purpose, whether it be a person, country, idea, or matters of the heart.  I will be running for you as well single parents, kids of single parents, and Third Culture Kids; including my Comfort Zone Camp little buddies. Every one of us has a story and your story can impact others.

There are two families that come to mind when I run, one of which got me started running and the other encourages me to finish the race.  Their stories are one of impact, with tears and pain which has fueled a higher purpose.  Still pictures of Meg Menzies move hearts for us all to #bethegood and live out the true definition of 1 Corinthians 13 love in action.  For Cameron Gallagher, The Mission at Mile 12 has become her legacy and parents vision of inspiring others to take to heart the message of Fight, Finish, Faith in 2 Timothy 4:7 and SpeakUp for others who are down and fighting depression.  Both Meg and Cameron loved running and have inspired so many others.

Two families that inspire, with Dave and Grace Gallagher, Pam Cross (Meg's Mom), and Scott Menzies.

Two families that inspire, with Dave and Grace Gallagher, Pam Cross (Meg’s Mom), and Scott Menzies

As with other families I know and have shared how purposes found them through their storms, there are times in life in the midst of trials where we don’t know if there’s a purpose or a meaning behind it all. Tears can become waterfalls; our symphony of hope in the cathedrals of our hearts.  A song on my playlist speaks to my heart about how even though we can go through rough times and trials, and tears, we can reweave our pain into purpose and raise the flag of hope. Waterfalls are a beautiful sight afterall.

We #runasone, my heart is beating, my pulses start….26.2 my eyes are on you.

Until next time,

Ed

 

Posted by: Ed Deiss | May 7, 2015

A Letter from a Mother’s Heart

ed and mom (2)A choice no parent wants to make, ever. Nor ever should. Which one to keep, which one to let go.  In order to save herself, and being the older one, her heart froze that day. The risk was that our relationship would be gone, so she put time in a bottle as I grew up on the other side of the world.  Surrounded herself with pictures, each one telling a story.

Growing up without my Mom meant Mother’s Day came and went.  Can’t get that time back, but what we have is now is great.  It did not happen by accident; it took time, time together, forgiveness, a decision to trust, and understanding.  Her life was almost taken away when I was a teenager on a night I won’t forget, and this story would have a different ending.  However the best gifts are the ones not found under the Christmas tree.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I asked her if she would not mind sharing a letter she wrote me in 1997.  It is a letter I keep close at all times, a letter from the heart of a Mom to her son.

By sharing it I hope it conveys the bond of a mother and a child no matter the circumstances and encourages Moms (and Dads) to share their hearts with their children, no matter what age.  My Mom certainly did with me, when the time was right.  She had taken the time to heal, with the courage to face and honor herself; what a gift to give.

For Moms, Happy Mothers Day and God Bless You All!

March 16, 1997

Dear Eddie,

I use the name of your childhood.  You and your brother are the most precious treasures of my life.

This letter speaks of and to you.

As you know, I surround myself with pictures of you at many different stages of your life.  Each picture has a story to tell and I pick up the pictures and think about what we were doing when the picture was taken.  My “mind” camera sees a little boy:

Tugging on Jingles

Wearing chocolate ice cream from forehead to chin

Playing trucks with Rick (best friend next door) in our tire sandbox

Hugging your first kitten, Princess, tightly to your chest

Singing the songs with Dancing Bear on Captain Kangaroo

Sitting in my lap and handing me your favorite books to read

Intently pursuing each days activities…

sprinkler run

I shared your first eight years, I treasure every memory.  After the divorce and your move to Singapore, I lived for the summers when the three of us were together and tucked my feelings under the bed covers when you left in August.  Those years will not come back to us.  I have written about the events surrounding the divorce, and put these issues to rest.  I will share what I have written with you at anytime we are together.  All you have to do is ask.  However this letter is to and about you, not me…

ed in singapore harbour

With the unhealthy marriage over, you had two homes in which to grow, not hide.  Not forced to spend your youth and young adulthood negotiating peace treaties or side stepping land mines in hostile surroundings.  Laughter returned and we looked forward.

You gained self confidence, and each year when you returned to me, I noticed.  It was like watching a beautiful tree growing and extending branches – the trunk was strong.  Children have a way of showing adults what is to be valued.  Eddie, your intelligence, love, laughter, and trusting nature were daily miracles unfolding before me.

ed waterski

Being a mother was and still is the most important part of my life.  It is who I am before all else.  The role changes, the mother-son connection does not. My love for you Eddie, is unconditional – no strings.  Like breathing and heartbeats the love is and always will be there. After my breathing and heartbeats are gone, there will still be the love.  I live in your heart and you in mine.  Remember that I love you because I gave you up.  It is the only answer I had for you when you were eight years old, feeling abandoned and hurt beyond description.  It is the only answer I have for you now, and understanding why your father and I divorced.  Love is the core – my center.

Eddie, there is not another person that I share laughter with like I do with you.  I can hear your giggle starting as I write these words.  Thinking of the many times we have rolled out of our chairs in tears over some ridiculous event is spiritual food. Laughter is a beautiful melody – you do it well. It is a gift to both give and give in to a good laugh…you have it.

I am immensely proud of your academic and professional accomplishments.  However, it is the person you are that leaves me speechless…filled with tears of pride and joy.  You are rare and unique.  Living your beliefs, actions are your words – the metaphors.

ed at sas

Without even knowing it, Eddie, you have given me the gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy.  I take these gifts with me and hang onto them when I come across rocky terrain.  Your love has led me to a new beginning, a new church and God’s love.

Having the opportunity to write this letter has been another gift.  I know you will receive it with all the love that is in my heart for you.

with mom

Praising God in gratitude and love for all that we share.

Our past, the present, and the future.

Lovingly, lots of hugs

Mom

I love you too Mom, Happy Mother’s Day!

Ed

 

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: