Sunday, March 4, 2018

Meandering Thoughts

Melody doesn't know what it's like to have a mother.  That's why she doesn't like me to date.  She likes our lifestyle, even as I know that her life would be so much better with a father AND a mother.  I feel so inadequate most of the time, but I'm trying so hard to give her the best life possible.  When she was old enough to start recognizing what she was missing, I felt like I needed to remarry before Melody got too much older, because I knew it would be more of a struggle for her to connect with someone in a mother-daughter way the older she got.  But while I dated here and there, it was never anything that would lead to a more serious relationship.  I think I was trying too hard.  It was also the wrong reason to look for a relationship.  I think it's wrong to get married to someone just so my daughter can have a mother.  That needs to be a benefit, but not the reason.  When Teresa and I got married, it was because God knew we were ready to be married, that our love for each other was strong enough to carry our relationship to the level of devotion necessary to sustain it.  And we both had a relationship with the Lord before we knew each other.  And it was fantastic.  Teresa and I were a great match for each other, and we became best friends.  It hurt so much to lose her.  It's something with which I still struggle.


I dated someone very seriously about 8 years ago.  She was a work colleague, though she lived in and worked in our offices in Oklahoma City.  I had known her for a few years before we started dating.  She had never been in a serious relationship before, let alone a long-distance one.  I had been in a long-distance relationship back in the 90s, and I knew it was difficult.  That one had crashed and burned after six months.  This one had promise, and after communicating via email for several weeks, she admitted that she felt like our relationship had reached the stage of us getting together.  Because I travel to OKC often, I was able to tie a long weekend with her in OKC with a business trip, and she proclaimed her love for me.  She began making marriage plans without telling me, and bought a wedding dress.  She told me she was willing to move to Maryland.  A few months into the relationship, she came to the DC-area and I allowed Melody to meet her.  They really didn't connect, and it was obvious that the woman didn't have a clue how to relate to Melody.  Melody wanted so badly for it to work, though.  As the relationship progressed, it became very clear that the distance was too much of a strain, just as I found that she really had no desire to come to Maryland, trying instead to persuade me to move to OKC.  The red flags were all over, and not just because of the distance.  She wasn't ready to be a mom, and she also couldn't handle the fact that I had been married before. We had been seeing a pre-marriage counselor, and he told us he didn't think we were a great match, though not before discounting my marriage to Teresa as not being long enough to be a good gauge of my marriage-worthiness, which I resented like you wouldn't believe.  The relationship ended badly, and Melody took it worse than I did.  We broke up over the phone, and I never heard from her again.  She quit her job and moved on to something else.  I found out she got married about a year and a half after our breakup, so I guess she was able to use that wedding dress after all.


My father is one of eight siblings, so his side of the family is very large, and I have a lot of cousins.  We used to get together a lot more than we do now, and I enjoyed those times so much.  Dad grew up in Western PA, in Uniontown.  It's less than an hour south of Pittsburgh.  That's why I'm a Pittsburgh sports nut.  Dad raised me right. :-)  My grandfather, Chester "Pap" Freed, was an awesome individual, and, when I was old enough to start driving, I loved to go visit with him.  Every month, I made the 4 hour drive to his place, and I loved to just sit with him and soak in his advice.  He once told me that the greatest thing in life was the pursuit of a woman.  He was a lay pastor at the little Methodist church in town back in the day.  I never heard him preach, but he was a wonderful storyteller.  Everyone loved him.  He worked in the coal mines in that area when he was younger, but quit after experiencing a cave-in and his partner was killed.  He worked three jobs after that to support his huge family, working as a nightwatchman at the Methodist camp in Jumonville, PA, up in the mountains;  he was a barber, and he cut hair for many years; and he was a preacher on a circuit of three churches in the area.  Pap had a long battle with cancer, beat it, then it came back with a vengeance and took him from us.  On his deathbed, after a week in a coma, the whole family surrounded him, encouraged him, and told him it was okay to let go, and as he took his last breath, he suddenly opened his eyes, then slowly closed them as the life left his body.  I was holding his hand at the time, and I'm convinced he saw Jesus in that moment.  He died on his 84th birthday.  I was 25 at the time.  Next to my parents, he was the biggest influence on my life to that point, and he was the one who inspired me to consider youth ministry.  I love talking about him.

Have a great evening, everyone.

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