Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,
I get emails and messages sometimes from other moms and dads who read my letters to you here on the blog. They often thank me for sharing my journey at this stage of my life – for being vulnerable – and honest – and brave. While it makes me feel good to know others are being encouraged by my writing I also feel like a hypocrite sometimes.
Sometimes I don’t feel brave at all.
Like a guy sitting behind a computer writing brave letters to his kids (who are still too young to read them).
Sometimes I paint pictures for you with words. They’re fun to read. And they’re how I feel. Descriptions of chasing whisps of hot breath into the woods on a cold morning. Images of diving into the subterranean currents of my own life to rescue something that’s missing.
But sometimes it just feels like words.
And that’s not what I want at all.
Mommy took the pictures of you two little ones a few days ago – leaping from the chair to the bed. Mid-air. Head first. Flying. No fear of falling. I love it.
Last spring I took a trip with two great friends. We did a century ride in the mountains in northern Alabama. The day before we rented a boat and set off an adventure across a lake to find a waterfall someone told us about. We anchored the boat in a cove (kind of – I pulled it up and forgot to drop it again, so the boat drifted to the bank). We swam ashore, climbed over tall rocks, searching for the sound through the trees.
The heaviness of falling water. Like some animal’s constant growl through space. Always. A dark pool below a cliff – and a worn path, wooden ladder, and precarious approach to the edge.
We were all scared. You don’t just jump from a tall cliff into a dark pool below. So we held our breath and swam deep searching for the bottom first. Darker. Colder. No bottom. Perhaps it’s safe.
We climbed to the top. And in our own time – kicked the dirt around at the edge, peeking over at the pool of water below.
I was the last to jump. I stretched my arms, closed my eyes as tightly as possible. Carved a line in the dirt with my bare feet that was my point of no return. My heart raced. I felt alive.
Somewhere in the woods of northern Alabama – off of a remote cove – middle of nowhere – on a lake I can’t name.
What’s to fear? Besides the emptiness of climbing back down the cliff. And looking up at it again before walking away. Wondering how it may have felt to experience the weightlessness.
What’s to fear? Besides writing letters to your children about doing something. Being happy. Pursuing calm abiding. Pursuing the absence of anger, bitterness, regret, and attachment.
flailing my arms on the way down. The landing wasn’t smooth at all. In fact, it hurt.
But I’d jumped. And the pain subsided quickly as the laughter ensued. The rush stayed with me. My heart slowed. I was proud to have taken flight.
We sat on a rock nearby for a few minutes afterwards and talked about what had just happened. What each of us was afraid of before the jump. What jumping meant. I think it meant a lot.
I love hearing from people who read what I write. It makes me feel like I’m making a difference somehow. I hope one day my words will mean everything to you.
As a writer one of my greatest fears is that one day I’ll have no more words. I hope if that day comes there will be memories and a life exciting enough to fill the void.
This is the beginning of jumping from more tall cliffs into the unknown. Flailing in the air. Learning to fly. Or crashing. And smiling because it was worth the risk.
My promise to each of you is that where ever we go together in life, whatever we do, your dad decided to pursue life – a full and open heart with you and Mommy. My words meant something. And the adventures I longed for became reality. For better or worse.
I’m learning to trust the voice I’ve been trying to ignore. Believing that the racing of my heart means something beautiful about the future.
I love you,
For no word from God will ever fail – Luke 1:37
“Yesterdays are over my shoulder, so I can’t look back for too long. There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me, and I know that I just can’t go wrong.” – Buffett
TRAINING: (transition back to training week)
Tues: Swam 2000
Wed: Biked 1 hour
Thurs: Swam 2000 / Ran 30 minutes
Fri: biked 1:10