New Year’s Day 2013

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

Last year around this time I decided that I needed change in my life. A lot of it. I needed to listen to the stirring in my spirit to find out who I am.  And how, in that, I’m to guide our family to the life we talk about, but aren’t quite living.

Stuck in my head was the thrashing I received on the bottom of the ocean in August 2011. The wave that crushed me, made me feel my own weakness and helplessness. I walked away with a concussion and a sprained shoulder, a week before Boulder 70.3. A loud voice inside of me said LISTEN:

BE the person you’re afraid to be. There is only NOW.

But it took me months to start.

I eventually started writing these letters to you kids.

I hoped that the practice of sitting down to write and explore would bring me clarity. It always has for me.

In the act, I would leave something behind for you. One day when you’re grown you’d think to read your dad’s ramblings. Visions of your childhood. Maybe a clearer understanding of where you came from.

Your dad: Fumbling around in the dark at 4:30am each morning trying not to wake you as I make coffee, my return by 5:45 smelling like chlorine, seated at the table reading my bible at 6:45am over oatmeal and coffee and then gone until evening. Weekends while you slept in I was out chasing something inside of me, trying to get home before you woke.

I’d never considered that gap until the last few years.

These letters are a glimpse into who I was while I was away. And what I dreamed of while I was underwater, on my bike, or alone for a run. The things Mommy and I talked about and dreamed for our lives. The realization that we’re waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Until it’s perfect. Then.

Last year I set a lot of goals. But within a few weeks I realized I’d set bad ones. They weren’t mine. It’s easy to get caught up in the tide and swept out with the rest.

Donald Miller wrote about the parade that Bob Goff has every year on New Years. And how everyone in the neighborhood participates by marching in the parade. There are no spectators allowed. No one sits by and watches the fun. That image stuck with me.

Again, waiting. Hoping. Watching the parade pass by.

I took some steps to stop that in 2012. I wrote. I published my first article in a large national publication. I wrote for big websites. I decided I was good enough and it turns out having confidence again changes everything.

Life’s confusing. It’s imperfect. Someone else’s ideals can infect you if you’re not authentic.

But one thing is certain. There is nothing to fear.

So as a family we’re stepping into 2013 with huge ideas. Ideas so big that when Mommy and I start talking about them the whole thing feels chaotic and crazy. They’re like a thousand birds taking flight from a field at once. A thousand directions. Then coming together in one form.  Beautiful chaos, so exciting it’s hard to take it all in. It’s bigger than a round wheel that somehow represents the parts of our life that “need work”.

Instead it’s a leap from a tall rock deep in the wilderness into a dark pool below. Your feet kicking at the dust at the edge, glenching your fists, releasing,  your heart pounding in your ears, a deep exhale, one more shallow breath, stepping back from the edge, suddenly running, the push-off, free fall, breathless, then into the deep, the coldness of the water around you. And the breathe of life when you resurface.

That’s 2013.

For the first time in a long time: we have nothing to fear.

I love you,

– Daddy