Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Staying Even When You Want To Leave

It's 6:30 AM on July 19, 2017.
I'm sitting in my kitchen, getting ready to go to work. 
I've been contemplating this return to writing here on my blog. I haven't written nearly as much as I used to and almost nothing in recent years. So much has happened. I considered, at one point, deleting this blog. I thought maybe it had run it's course. But every day I get hits. 20, 30, 50...
Every day, a large number of dads stumble across this page in their sorrow and sadness and find some measure of peace. 
There is a pattern. I get the heaviest traffic on Sunday nights and Mondays. I know exactly why. That's the day most of us take our kids back to their mother's and we are alone again. Mondays are the first day we wake up without them after a weekend visit. The pain is crushing. 
I lived that way for 15 years. My daughter was only 18 months old when we divorced and I spent her entire childhood, rebounding from the pain of every-other-weekend fatherhood. 
I watched as her life disintegrated because of her mother's second marriage. I rescued her many times from the clutches of the animal her mom was married to. 
In 2008 I lost my career and then my home when the economy collapsed. Because her life was in such turmoil, I could not leave to find work. I had to stay in Nashville. So I stayed. That meat living in my car. I was homeless for 6 years, until 2014 when I was hired by my alma mater and my daughter moved here with me.
A lot of damage was done. She went from age ten to age 16 without her dad having a place to live. We lost our weekends together. I saw her during the week, and I'd pick her up on a Saturday to spend a few hours, but it wasn't the same. It hurt like nothing I can describe. But I stayed.
I stayed and I endured that horror because she needed me. 
I know there are a lot of guys reading this who are in the same boat. I know there are others who could not handle the disappointment and chose to leave. I know there are some reading this article this morning who are on the brink...you are facing divorce and you think the best thing is to just walk away. There are others who are like I was...so broken and crushed that you wonder how you're going to make it through another day. The pain from missing your kids is so great and your life feels so empty without them, that you consider not living at all. 
To those men I say, "Hold on." Even through tears, even through disappointment and mistreatment by your ex and by the courts and sometimes by your kids. Hold on. My daughter wasn't always aware of my sacrifices when I was making them, but she is now. Hold on.
There is hope. You can make it. There is a God in heaven who loves you. He sees your tears and feels the pain you feel. I have no secrets to how I endured six years of homelessness for the sake of my daughter except this...only my faith in Jesus Christ got me through. There were nights I considered just letting myself freeze to death. Or buying a bottle and drinking myself blind and letting myself die. But my faith sustained me. It wasn't pretty. I cried all the same tears. I suffered the same broken heart. But I did not suffer alone. Jesus walked each painful step.
Dads...do not give up. Do. Not. Give. Up. Find yourself in the faith I speak of here. Lean on the God who adores you and wants to help you through this. He loves you. He loves your children
Trust Him to give you the strength to stay till the end.

You are loved. 
You are still the daddy.

Craig

2 comments:

jaywong said...

Wow. It is super painful to realise that dads like you all really exist. I am having a hard time accepting, no believing these comments. I so wish that my ex felt that way about his kids. I can't even see the keyboard right now. I have tried every trick in the book and then some to get there of them together more to no avail. This August is the first vacation time they have spent with him in two years. Its hard because he doesn't talk to me at all. Calling them is a problem. I have a call curfew that I can't miss by even a minute. When he jumps into the conversation I can't defend myself. I am afraid if I do I won't hear from them in days.I have been trying to be normal but without them its so hard. Everyone keeps saying it must be so good to have a break. I just smile and say nothing. They don't get how I feel. Thank you. I now know that what I feel is normal. I have to work on believing that dads can feel like this because my ex doesn't.

mike tarose said...

brothers,

never give up...never. I can attest personally that the suffering which I think I may have endured in order for me to be with my daughter not only toughened my resolve to be a significant parent in her life, but also allowed me to see, and improve, on my Parental/Father role. No pain, no gain....fight for your child and fight for your right to fulfill your Role as Parent/Father.
Craig had shared a touching and personal story about his journey. I also had a similar story. I am blessed to be with my daughter, and I am blessed to be a parent/father.
There is a prayer which I would keep in my wallet during the divorce/child custody battle...from Mother Teresa....the pray is called "Do it Anyway"

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Brothers....blessings to you all!!!!