You will face many obstacles during your life. Some are easy to overcome, and others will vex you. You will probably need help dealing with the tough obstacles. Asking for help is not something that comes naturally for me. I am pretty stubborn, and am usually overconfident in my own abilities. Many times this trait worked well for me. I have learned a lot by solving my own problems. But, at other times – my stubbornness has been detrimental. It would have been better to get help from others rather than go it alone. Nowadays, I am getting better reaching out to others when times get tough. The last lesson from my father that I will share with you comes from one of those times when I reached out to him for help to deal with the hardest phase of my life.
When your mother decided that divorce was the best path forward for our relationship things got really bad quickly. I will not go into detail here about why. Needless to say – I was not sure what to do, and needed help. A lot of help. I reached out to a group of Godly men that I know for advice. Men like Bill Hauschild, Jim Neale, Gary West, Chuck Riddle, Dwayne Smith, Bob Mosier, Scott Leib, and my brother Perry. Each of them had great advice for me. What they taught me was useful for sorting through the situation. But, the man who helped me the most was your Opa.
Divorce is devastating. I have yet to talk with anyone who is divorced that describes it as a pleasant process, or the road to happiness. It can be soul crushing, especially for Christians since we believe that God creates one flesh out of two people when they are married. I was ill prepared for the dark days that followed when I moved out of the house on November 3rd, 2013. I still remember watching my parents cry when I told them a week later about the divorce. They were sad about the situation and worried about the impact it would have on both of you.
A few days later I met my dad for breakfast – one of our Veteran’s Day traditions. I was not in a good place. Tired from a lack of sleep, and emotionally drained – I did not look good. My father noticed and asked me what he could do to help. I said that I did not know what he could do to help, or how in the world the whole thing would turn out. My words were full of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. I did not like the person that I had become, and did not have a clue about how I would crawl out of the pit that I was in. My father recognized my fear and reminded me of an important point that I had forgotten.
“I know you are sad and scared. You will overcome this obstacle. The reason you will prevail is because I know who you are. You are my son, you were a good husband, and you will continue to be a great father. Never forget that you are a ranger. You will be strong for your boys because that is what they need. It is going to be tough, but I am here to help, and will continue to support you until this is over.”
And that is what my dad did for the next several months. He would call me on a regular basis to see how I was doing, how the boys were doing, and how things were progressing. He still calls me on a regular basis. He sent me numerous emails with encouraging words full of unconditional love. My father even wrote me letters to make sure that I knew I was loved and supported by both he and my mother who was also great during this phase. Their faith, hope, and love worked. They helped me get out of the pit.
Boys – I want you to know that I am here to help you and offer my assistance when you need it, especially when you face life’s greatest challenges. You are not alone, and you are loved. I will help you to remember who you are, and that better days are ahead.
Psalm 40: 1-2
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand