stories of a failed holy man


on crying and stuff easier to keep inside pt 2

Pretending is so damn hard.

Tonight, I wandered the house. I paced, back and forth, feeling uneasy, having an idea where my angst came from, but not completely sure why it was hitting me now. After all it’s been with me for years. On this night, it became too much. Even as I realized part of what perplexed my heart was a garbage day at work and exhaustion, the logical reasons failed me and led to me running away from myself. 

So lost in my own world, I announced to my wife I was going to Safeway, as if that was a thing I did. When asked why, my answer was simply, “I don’t know.” There was a vague idea of ice cream and chips, as if that would solve my anxiety and rising anger and discomfort with my inner turmoil. Sometimes those things work, but tonight it wouldn’t. I left, Missy knowing I just needed to run away for a while. Not from her or my beautiful girls. Definitely not. They were my only sense of sanity anymore. I just needed to go because to stay would be to wallow and drag down my family into the pit with me. So she let me go, always sensitive to when I need to be alone with my annoying self.

I went. I walked down the chip aisle. There were good sales, but nothing looked good. I went to the ice cream. Everything looked good, but nothing was on sale. I refuse to buy things that aren’t on sale. That’s not totally true. I just make myself sick thinking about the $1.50 I might have saved. So I pick up the ice cream, only to put it down again, knowing it won’t solve the swirling, rising mountain of emotion building up inside of me. I walk to the Redbox, flip through stupid movies I’ve looked through 20 times before, knowing I’ll find nothing worth my time. There is no distraction to solve this, not this time. Not ice cream, chips or Hobbits in imaginary lands could stop the wave from coming.

The drive home feels long. I want to arrive as if my leaving served a purpose. With something to show for my random disappearance. To act like all is well and it was actually normal for me to wander off. I can’t muster the strength. So I drive slowly with the music loud. I skip song after song after mind numbing song until Derek Webb, “Eye Of The Hurricane” comes on. The catchiest chorus I know speaks directly to the depths of my soul. Tears begin, but I do my normal thing and pull them back into their ducts. After the first verse, I can’t hold them back anymore, not even certain why. 

Cause I am the man from which I am running.

So even if I wanted to, I can’t escape.

This is the man that I am becoming.

Running in the eye of the hurricane.

The chorus describes my life beautifully. The idea of running from myself, being stuck with who I am, being the man I am whether I like it or not seemed to fit in the moment. Because I’m so sick of myself. I’m a 30 year old, failed holy man trying to be more than what I’m capable of being without the grace of God, which on most days feels too good to be true for me, so I run the other way. I feel the full weight of being a saint and a sinner (minus the saint part) and can’t bear the weight anymore of pretending to be the saint when I feel anything but.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Only that I am tired of running. I’m just so damn tired. Tired of not measuring up. Tired of a broken world, a broken me, broken trust and broken facades that used to be easy to hide behind. I have a history of being overdramatic, so forgive me if this sounds like a sob story wrapped in a big pile of give me a break. But I am oh so tired of pretending. And Derek Webb gave me permission to be honest about the garbage man I feel that I am. I beg of you. Please don’t comment here with how wonderful you are sure that I am. That only makes me believe it less. 

Because this isn’t about my self esteem, which will rebound into arrogance in no time once I meet someone on the interwebs I disagree with. This is about the man I am becoming. And if I can’t be honest about the sorry state I’m in here and now, then what’s the point of the rest of my journey? If my recurring smoking habit doesn’t catch up with me, I should have a good 40ish years left. If I have to fake it for that long, I won’t be able to stand myself. 

So I don’t know what this is. A prayer? A confession? A scream in my dark corner? 

I skipped ahead 4 more songs for some more Derek Webb truth and profundity. 

“It’s hard to keep from giving up. It’s easier to just close up your heart.

You place your votes, misplace your hope on men who let you down

with loaded words and broken promises, it’s hard to trust in anyone.

It’s easier to just fold up your arms.”

“Everything’s gonna change and nothing’s gonna stay the way it is.

One day you’ll wake and the curse will break and even you won’t be the same. 

Your hope is not wasted on the day when everything will change.”

That’s another writing session for another time. But for now, it feels true. It at least gives me hope that there’s more than my veiled eyes can see at the moment. For now, I hope in the day when I wake and won’t be the same. 



on crying and stuff easier to keep inside

it’s always been easier for me to cry in front of people than to cry in front of the one/ones. what i mean by ‘the one/ones’ is those people that mean the most to you. it can be a friend, family member, the montreal canadiens. i’ll never let Pacioretty see me cry, no matter how much it hurts when someone slanders Carey Price.

but if i’m in a crowd, it’s easy to let my guard down. there’s something about being vulnerable on your own terms that makes it manageable; when speaking in church or addressing my youth crew. but when someone else tries to set it on their terms…screw that. that’s when things get tough.

when i was a kid, crying only happened on other people’s terms. when i was in trouble. when people made fun of me. which happened more than i care to admit. i remember hating it with a passion. i remember feeling weak and vulnerable. like when Troy kicked me in the chest. im so tired of crying on others terms, that i fight the instinct telling me to let it out. no matter the situation, it seems that i try my hardest to keep it all in in front of my loved ones, even when it’s reasonable to let it out. it’s as if my reflex has become to do the opposite of what my heart tells me to do.

lately, this has changed. my protective instincts are gone and i am wide open and vulnerable as if i’m a child again. i feel like crying all the time. luckily, the Canadiens are still in the playoffs, or I’d be a mess. like i said, Carey Price completes me (my wife and i have an understanding). everything is as good as it should be, but nothing feels good as it could be. so the tears come even as i fight to hold them back.

wrestling with depression has kicked me into the gutter. it’s subtle and sneaks up on me. the over reactions to minutiae; so small, it doesn’t warrant a notice, let alone a full fledged man cry. a new job and an early 30’s faith crisis have taken me to the brink of what i can handle.

i’m tired of holding it in. but i know me, and i will continue doing so until i break. learning to be comfortable in my own skin is something new to me. much of my life has been spent trying to be someone i’m not. faking my toughness so my man-card can get punched (yes, ladies. that is a thing). putting on a smiley face and pretending my faith is in check so i can be a good pastor and not freak out the children (even though i know that’s the opposite of what Jesus wants from me). pretending i know what i’m doing, even as I run like wile coyote off the edge of the cliff, unaware of my imminent demise and fall.

i keep telling myself, “trust in Jesus. have more faith. just pray.” and those are all true things that i should strive for. but no matter how hard i seem to try or how much truth is in those statements…it doesn’t take away the intense pressure chasing me down that says i’ll never measure up to God, who is so very, very disappointed in me. and so i feel like crying, knowing deep down this isn’t how i was meant to live, knowing that it isn’t even the truth. but feeling more entrenched than ever.

that got dark fast. get back to the love affair with Carey Price jokes, already.

i know i’ll be okay. my God and my family have too tight a grip on me to let the depression win. i started writing again to be honest. to share not only my stupid stories and terrible jokes with the world, but my heart and soul as well.

so there it is. not crying is overrated. time to start listening to my instincts and kick depression in the ass. write more. love more. open myself up more. pray more. play more. play with my kids more. play tennis more. date my wife more.

and give less attention to the lies…more. just felt like i had to add ‘more’ one last time.