Embroidered Prayers

20161025_164536I was sitting in the third row on the groom’s side between two brothers and their wives, alongside my mother and father, in front of a gazebo at the Ritz Carlton.  My youngest cousin repeated after the minister, “I promise… forsaking all others… in sickness and in health… ’til death do us part.”  I flushed, but it wasn’t the Florida sun.  I made those vows, too, nine years ago.  A Disillusionment of Marriage petition parted us four and a half years later.

The undying devotion between the bride and groom was palpable.  My older cousins were visibly moved as they stood up for their little brother while he made vows to his fiancé that would make him her husband.  He’s the first of the four boys, now men, to marry, and my aunt and uncle were glowing with the joy and delight of uniting their son with this young woman they’ve come to love, now welcoming her as their first daughter.

Auntie Cherry made the veil.  She’s more than a seamstress.  Her creations are delicate and elaborate, embroidered with precision, intricately crafted into christening gowns fit for St. Peter’s gates.  This veil was no exception.  I imagined what it must be like to make a veil for your youngest son’s future wife.  How many hours did Auntie Cherry invest in this symbolic gift of epic proportions?  I can picture her over her embroidery machine where I’ve watched her so many visits in the past, only now I imagine she was sewing prayer and hope and God’s promises for her son and her daughter-in-law into every stitch.

That moment when the veil is lifted, the true beauty of a bride is revealed, and attendants can’t help but smile.  In my row alone, there were my parents married forty-four years with four children, David and his wife at sixteen with two children, and Tim and his wife at four with a baby of their own.  When they see the veil lifted, I imagine these couples recall their own wedding days with renewed passion in the nostalgia of the moment.  When they hear the vows, they reflect on their own times of self-sacrifice, illness, and hardship, celebrating silently in a simple arm around the shoulder or squeeze of the palm as if to say they’re still living out their promises.  And they should celebrate.

Also in my row was my great aunt Gladys.  When my grandma’s little brother passed shortly after Tim was married, Aunt Gladys’ world literally imploded.  They had just made the move to their winter home in Florida a permanent one, and she was far from her lifelong friends back in Niagara Falls.  She travels to South Carolina and does Christmas with my oldest brother’s family now.  I hadn’t seen her in a few years, but she looked younger than I remembered.   The retirement community and warm weather have been good for her.

It wasn’t until the married couples’ elimination dance that I realized what Aunt Gladys must have been feeling during the ceremony, watching two youngsters begin their lives together while she lives alone with the pain of Uncle Endor’s absence.  At the reception, she admitted that she prays the Lord will take her home to be with him again.  When Aunt Gladys saw the veil lifted, she most certainly recalled her simple union before a Justice of the Peace, and when my cousin made his vows, she most certainly was feeling the pain that comes when death does, in fact, part you.

The Ritz Carlton resort is a stunning getaway with manicured pathways, expansive pools, and rich art and architecture.  For my brothers and their wives, the weekend was a romantic getaway.   For Aunt Gladys, it was a weekend away with her best friend from the retirement community as a travelling companion.  For my cousin, it was the beginning of the rest of his life.  We came together from the far ends of the country to celebrate the vows that would make two become one.  Widowed, married, divorced, and single, we would love watching love birth a marriage together, even in spite of our own mixed emotions.

For me, I was only too aware of my status as the third, fifth, or seventh wheel.  I resented the convention that kept Charming occupied in DC and unable to escort me.  I concede it should have been a very romantic place, but that’s best achieved when you’ve someone to romance you.

This was the first wedding I’ve attended alone since I met Charming.  Perhaps his presence at my side appeased the twisted guilt and shame, masking its full measure.  We’ve celebrated as three of our friends marked the beginning of forever, and we’ve danced the night away each time, enjoying being divorced together, feeling less “single” even though technically we’re still competitors for the bouquet and garter tosses.

When I saw the veil lifted, my mind drifted somewhere unique, I think.  While others recalled their own vows and dreamed of someday getting to say those vows themselves, I pictured the cherished ring bearer pillow Auntie Cherry made for my wedding day, with ivory fabric that matched my gown.  Edged in lace, ribbon to tie the rings, encumbered in embroidered butterflies and flowers on one side and a cross on the reverse framed by my name, my husband’s name, and the date of our ceremony.

It’s still one of my prized possessions.  When I told her it was too beautiful to be a ring bearer’s pillow, Auntie Cherry replied that it was special because it was for me.  It was a labor of love.  Though it pains me to turn it over and read the names embroidered together, the same names that would eventually appear on the final page of a divorce decree, she invested her time, prayers, and love into each stitch of that pillow.  I leave it facing butterfly-side up.

We inherently recognize facets of a marriage ceremony as symbolic and suspend reality to allow them the significance desired.  The ring, an unending circle.  The wrapping of the stole, a three-cord strand with the couple and God.  The kiss, a seal of promises made.  The cross, the union of Christ with His bride.

It wasn’t by accident that Auntie Cherry sewed butterflies into that ring bearer pillow.  They are my symbol for hope, promises, and new beginnings.  The night before I left for the wedding, my friend Mulan and I Skyped for our Bible Study on Fervent.  One of the chapters we discussed was on the role of prayer in combating the past.  Pricilla Shirer concludes each focus area with related verses, and she reminded me of a promise God made to me in my college days, weeks before I met Charming for the first time, nearly a decade and half before I’d meet him again.

Isaiah 43:18-19 reads, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Auntie Cherry embedded this verse into that ring bearer pillow in the embroidered wings of the butterflies.  God can still make something beautiful and enduring spring up in the wasteland of life post-divorce.

Even while I write this post on my front porch haven, Facebook is notifying me of my brother’s new Facebook cover photo featuring our family at the lake house this summer.  I’m in the middle surrounded by all the couples and their children.  Either I’m the fifteenth wheel, or I’m engulfed in marriages that uphold vows, that model for me how to have a God-fearing marriage and raise children with character.

During the ceremony this weekend, when the minister asserted that marriage was the best revelation of the relationship between Christ and his bride, the church, that the best way to experience the fullness of our union in Christ is in the symbol of our marriage, I agreed.  I grieved, and I agreed.

God is doing a new thing, for me, for Aunt Gladys, for Charming.  We see the wilderness and can’t imagine life springing forth, like glimpsing just the first few stitches and being unable to picture the butterflies taking shape beneath Auntie Cherry’s sewing needle.

When we vow ’til death do us part, we don’t want death, but it’s preferred on that day to anything else that might part us.  Auntie Cherry didn’t labor in vain on that pillow.  The symbolic reminder of my past on the reverse is covered by a hopeful token for my future.  I’m still believing for streams in the wasteland… for me, for Aunt Gladys, and for Charming.

 

When It’s Only Fun on the Outside

More than a year and a half ago I did this for the first time: sat on my front porch with a glass of red wine and a laptop and wrote from the top of my head.  On the other end of my long-distance relationship then was a younger guy who wasn’t ready for marriage.  Eighty-two weeks of writing and revelation later finds me entangled in another cross-state commute with an older guy who still isn’t ready.

That first night, what drove me to what would become my weekly writing perch was a desire to uncover some grand epiphany the way writing used to do for me when I was younger.  Dial it back to half my lifetime ago, and I was writing my way through Mr. Bugaj’s class during the entire unit for geometry proofs.  If I had something to work through, and this glutton for drama usually did, then I wrote about it.

In those days, it was a poem or a song lyric.  If the former, I’d evolve a half dozen drafts and take it to the school’s creative writing teacher, Mrs. Shelton.  If the latter, I’d sneak into the silent chorus room on lunch and generate the accompaniment on Mrs. Quackenbush’s baby grand. In college, my Advanced Writing class encouraged a non-fiction gene, largely inspired by the anecdotal collection style of Anne Lamott’s Travelling Mercies.

I wrote the bones and meat of a book in my twenties, an anecdotal collection of significant moments in my life and those around me, each explored in a chapter illustrating my primary theme; there’s no such thing as a dead-end street.  When you reach the end, it becomes a turning point, and the view is different as you find your way back on course.  You see the signs you missed that led you astray.  I wrote about those classmates whose lives had been cut short and seemingly dead-end relationships, and I attempted to make positive conclusions.

That book died with the dawn of my own career pursuits.  After five years in the classroom, I was growing bored of the same routine and pursued my master’s in instructional technology.  My writing took a collegiate turn, falling in love with research and analysis in APA style.  I began publishing my educational online journal with tips, strategies, lessons, and tools for utilizing media to enrich teaching and learning.

With grad school behind me, I took to creating multi-media presentations as tutorials for engaging educational platforms to supplement the myriad professional development opportunities I encountered back in Nashville before I resigned to save my marriage.  Before I failed to save it.  Before I left and started over.  Before I stopped writing altogether.  But for 80% of my life, I would have identified myself as a writer.

Even in middle school, Mrs. Lacava commented on every journal entry I wrote, even ones about the two-day romance that ended with a note in the hallway before class.  I had a biological instinct to write through my pain, and I appreciate her humoring my dramatic dribble.  She taught me how to freewrite, and as a teacher, it’s one of my favorite indulgences to get my kids writing without concern for punctuation, handwriting, spelling, or grammar.  I value it because the world stops for a few minutes.  Some of them fear it for the same reason.  Alone in the silence with just their own thoughts is a rare five minute occurrence for adolescents in 2016.

As a teen like my students are now, I knew I had to hone my writing craft, practice and seek out instruction.  Each influential English teacher handed me off to the next with a new set of techniques to incorporate, and I grew as a writer of poetry, song lyrics, personal narrative, analytical research, and technological professional development.  As a teacher, I find my students now help me hone a different craft, instruction, and I gain confidence when I see a new strategy has been successful.

Mrs. Shelton taught me about line breaks in poetry and freed me from the need to rhyme endlessly.  It took multiple attempts for her to demonstrate this with red ink on subsequent drafts, but eventually I got it.  We both knew I got it when I did it on my own with a new poem.  She had to find what worked.  In my last block class, my third attempt at the same lesson on subject-verb agreement last week, I had figured out a way to explain some rules as mathematical equations.

One of my football players was more active in this lesson than he has been in the past month.  I’d ask what “and” between my subjects meant for my verb, and he chimed in without hesitation that 1+1=2.  Two singular subjects necessitate a plural noun.  I’d put up another sentence, and he’d call out, “Negation,” meaning that if you put the word each or every before the previous rule, it negates it and you need a singular verb.  I am not very good at math, but for a class of sophomores in the STEM Academy, equating subject-verb agreement with mathematical representation was like Mrs. Shelton’s fifth attempt with my poem about my grandfather’s death.  It clicked, for them and for me.

See, freewriting is another strategy that I believe works.  After seeing it with my football player, I have confidence in this mathematical subject-verb agreement method.   After seeing it with myself and thousands of students over the past decade, I believe that freewriting can help you target the things that you need to write about the most.

Since it was Homecoming last week, I thought that a freewrite on the word “Fun” would be appropriate for my yearbook kids.  They know the rule is that if four of them share, I will share.  Eight shares later, and they looked to me.  I hadn’t done it.  I didn’t want to write about that word.  I agreed to share an old freewrite instead, and the significance of my avoidance technique was lost on all but me.

It should have been a fun weekend.  Charming got in to town early on Friday night, so we had extra time together.  On Saturday, we started with my nephew’s soccer game, grabbed snap dogs at the Barking Dog, revisited the pumpkin patch we trampled last year, and dressed up Roaring Twenties style for dinner with friends at an Italian restaurant and a Halloween party to conclude the festivities.  So much fun, right?

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I kept waiting to feel the “fun”.  Seeing my friend Angel in my borrowed red flapper dress.  Authentic lasagna fork-fed with black opera gloves draped in pearls.  Taking Charming’s arm as we floated in to the party, every inch of him handsome from fedora to felt spats.   I had a drink to loosen up, but I didn’t loosen, and I didn’t want another one.  It seemed that no matter what I imagined might have brought me joy or pleasure in the past just didn’t satisfy.

Why?  I didn’t want to write about “fun” with my kids because I didn’t want to lose myself in my awareness of the absence of it.  It is biologically instinctually for me to write through a crisis, and I’m convinced my maternal instinct operates in much the same way.  It might be a clear night sky above me, but there is a cloud in the silence between the cricket’s chirps.  The chill from last week is gone, and it accomplished its aim: to make me confront the cause for a persistent, depressing nagging.

Earlier today, my gym mentor Chuck played me a Lauren Dagle song with the disclaimer that this was his prayer for me.  My pace on the elliptical was unaffected through the verse and the chorus.  The bridge, however, had me practically weeping on the machine.  “You are more than enough.  You are here.  You are love.  You are hope.  You are grace.  You’re all I have.  You’re everything.”

And if that “You” were lowercase, I could try to make the same statements about Charming, but they wouldn’t mathematically compute.  Even if he marries me and we make a couple of incredible tiny Christian humans to build a family with, it wouldn’t be enough.  I cried because I knew this was the answer.  I couldn’t have fun because those things which have typically satisfied me in the past have come up lacking.

When I was struggling with monotonous rhyming poetry, Mrs. Shelton tried different strategies until I got it.  When my kids were struggling with subject-verb agreement, I tried new strategies with them until they got it.  Charming told me fight the loneliness by getting involved in more hobbies.  That strategy won’t work for me anymore.  The loneliness has a purpose, like the silent five minutes of a freewrite.

That loneliness softens me to the bridge of a Lauren Dagle song, such that I can feel the whisper of encouragement that God would be enough if only I looked to Him instead of Charming or family or teaching or writing.  Filling up all the empty spaces in our lives will find us achieving, attaining, and acquiring.  Nevertheless, idle hands don’t have to be the devil’s playground.

Here, where the silence is cut only by passing cars and crickets, I sit every week with a glass of red wine and my laptop like I did for the first time a year and a half ago.  If I didn’t do this weekly self-analysis and evaluation, I might look at the similar circumstances of advancing from an ex-boyfriend to a current boyfriend who aren’t ready for marriage and fail to see any progress at all.

The progress is in the true subject of the sentence.  “You are more than enough… all I have… everything.”  It’s not about me or my circumstances, not about an ex-boyfriend or Prince Charming.   This is why I write.  To get past the stories with all the other subjects.  To get me to You.

Climate Change and Character

I wanted a blanket tonight, not because it is too cold to sit outside, but because it’s comforting.  Temperatures fell in Hurricane Matthew’s wake, and while I lost a few branches, its death toll sounds at over a thousand lives taken, euphemism cushioning the empathetic blow.  Sunday’s presidential debate reenacted the harsh rains and unforgiving winds of the hurricane.  Despite a pleasing fall night, I feel a chill in the air.

A chill in the cultural climate, one created in conflict, hardship, and uncertainty.  A chill born out of a storm that claims houses, possessions, and people.  A chill that whispers winter is coming to US political soil.  A chill that resonates at a frequency just below normal such that you have to stop.

Stop.  To feel it.

I wonder if it’s been there for others, under the surface of everyday moments.  I can describe it only as a singular awareness that something isn’t right, but unable to come to a swift conclusion, I dismiss it and reengage in the task at hand.  Sufficiently inundated with work and workouts, the chill disappears, and any consideration of its implications with it.

This weekend, my brain responded to the cold front and endless rain with a muddled stirring of thoughts and feelings.  I was disappointed to miss out on the Renaissance Festival.  I resented my computer for deciding to uninstall all of my applications “accidentally”.  I worried about balancing the coming week with picture day, Spirit Week, and an observation by my principal with all the unanticipated needs that would present themselves.

By church on Sunday, the chill was no longer encapsulated by a fleeting moment.  I couldn’t sing without my voice catching.  Once again, I attempted to hide the tears from Charming.  Though I was aware of his presence, I was alone.  In that moment, I could identify all of my preoccupations of the previous day as absurd, all of the average pursuits of my life as calculatingly meaningless.

I could make a disclaimer that the fall in temperatures effaced in the darkening of an existential mood, but it’s likely pointless, too.  After church, we’d have lunch with friends and watch the Redskins play, and I was there, but I was a robot.  Maybe I still am because the chill never left.

I watched these men in fashionable leggings duke it out, witnessed Charming sitting forward anxiously in his seat as the last two minutes found his team the victor.  I installed apps on my computer at the same time.  Ones for photo, audio, and video editing.  Ones for documents and printers and language learning.  I drove the same route home to Hampton, passing cars and advertisements, stores and lights.

At home, I had to retrieve my umbrella from the neighbor’s yard and pick up the fallen branches from the storm.  I unpacked, graded papers, did laundry and the dishes, took out the trash, and decorated for autumn.  And to prove to Charming that I would still be interested in the news if we weren’t dating, I watched the most recent presidential debate.

I haven’t figured out where this is headed, but mention of the debate certainly won’t lift the mood.  I watched the candidates do battle while my memory supplied competing feed of Theodore Roosevelt Island where Charming brought me back in February.  There, a stone monument boasted a presidential quote that read:

“Youth.  I want to see you brave and manly, and I also want to see you gentle and tender.  Be practical as well as generous in your ideas… Courage, hard work, self-mastery, and intelligent effort are all essential to successful life.  Alike for the nation and the individual, the one indispensable requisite is character.”

Character.  Strip away the business of life, and it’s what we’re left with when we finally stop.  With each presidential hopeful encumbered in scandal in varying arenas, Teddy Roosevelt’s call falls on deaf ears.  I say little about politics.  My mother says a lot.  After these debates, I found myself reassuring her with the idea after four years without it, America is going to crave a leader with character and integrity.

We have created distractions in abundance.  I postpone the update on my phone every day at five p.m. because I don’t want to unplug from the world for a half an hour.  We have Homecoming, football games, Renaissance Festivals, cars, and stores with aisles where we get to choose from twenty flavors of the same potato chips.  We store memories on the cloud and maintain relationships over the internet.

The abundance ultimately consumes us.  We don’t stop or sit still or unplug because when we do, when we’re silent, we feel that chill.

Something isn’t right.

Then we consume ourselves with making dinner, running errands, and repeating some variation of a forty-hour work week.  Underneath all the clutter, the business, the weekly agenda, and the electronic devices, who are we?  Why are we doing all this doing?  What is the end game for the playbook on this existence that values men in tights getting a ball into an end zone in as high regard as political leaders responsible for the life and death of its citizens?

I love the quiet of my front porch when I write.  Out here, my scarecrow keeps me company.  But inside, in that quiet and stillness, all of the clutter of the current cultural climate is ultimately silenced.  Why do I so desperately long for motherhood?  People are meant to exist as part of a family unit.  We grow up as a part of a family, and our identities are shaped and formed by those key influences.

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Then, we’re supposed to form our own families, right?  I tried.  I failed.  More than three years living alone, and I’m worried it’s stunted my growth, that I’m less than the woman I could be if only I were a wife and a mother.  My belief is that by experiencing the trials coming in the next four years, our nation will build character.

I see the abundance.  The abundance in loss in the wake of a hurricane.  The abundance in uncertainty in the face of an atypical national election.  The abundance in distractions that consume us.  Only when I see the abundance, it means nothing.  Every point of engagement in our daily lives is defined by one trait alone, alike to the nation and the individual. The one requisite is character.

Unplugged.  Alone.  In silence.  Who am I?  The chill is like pain in my knee after a hard workout, an indicator that something is, in fact, wrong.  Why is it that my tattered road led me to a longing for a family of my own?  Because when you strip away all these manmade creations that consume me, man and wife, father and mother, that was God’s design all along.

Alike for the nation where trials build character, this present realization will test me and I probably won’t find any answers soon.  A chill is uncomfortable, but it points to a climate change.  Something isn’t right.  If we stop, really stop, that’s where we have the potential to become brave and manly, gentle and tender, practical and generous.  To build character, we need to stop long enough to identify what’s wrong in the first place.

A Story Worth Writing

There’s nothing legendary about me.  I’m thirty-three, divorced, and my brother is kind enough to share his kids with me.  I teach high school, work out, and tend a garden.  When I was in high school, I believed I was destined for greatness, that I would somehow change the world.  I’d get discovered and be a famous singer-songwriter/actress.

Legendary denotes the heroic stories of medieval knights and also, more generally, one who is well-known based on his or her acclaim.  That’s the theme for the 2017 Kecoughtan yearbook.  Legendary.  Black bonded leather with our school logo morphed into a golden crest with green accents celebrating the epic journey of our everyday heroes on scholarly quests toward greatness.  It’s inspiring.  I get excited just summing it up.

Some of my young bloggers were less than enthused with the original theme suggestion of a fairy tale book; the concept was quite brilliant, but the girls had developed a Disney princess-esque theme that would better suit a middle school.  When a medieval kingdom like Game of Thrones twist emerged, I had a vision.  It was brief, but it seized me.  I suggested the word, “Legacy” as a title.  I could see the kids hadn’t caught it yet, that they were still rejecting the initial Disney idea.

So I went on my own after class and met my yearbook rep from Herff Jones at Marker 20 in downtown Hampton during the middle of the school day on my planning block.  We were doing a Google search for the word “Legacy”, and another word struck me.  Legendary.  That’s a story worth telling.  That’s our theme.  I worked up a proposal from that unifying concept, and my students seemed to jump on the bandwagon.

There’s nothing legendary about me, but if that belief that I would one day change the world had been absent in my adolescence, I’m not sure I would have ever left Syracuse suburbia. I sensed an inherent responsibility, at times perhaps even misconstrued as a divine calling, to positively impact society.  I had an Angelfire website I wrote using HTML tags where I would publish little sermons.  Looking back, I may have been the only one to ever see them, but I didn’t care.  In my fourteen-year-old Converse, I was a published writer.

I felt the same way at fifteen after paying that $5 entry fee to a poetry website and seeing my poems published online some months later.  And at sixteen, I felt the same way performing in Grease at Turning Stone Casino.  At seventeen, it was making it to State qualifiers in the 100 meter dash.  At eighteen, it was hearing a song I wrote and recorded played through the sound system at our graduation ceremony.

High school was like a wedding cake tasting.  I’d sampled a little bit of success in different combinations of batter and frosting, and some tasted sweeter while others were richer.  I want my students to believe, like I did, that they are leading characters in stories worth writing.  They should believe, like I did, that they will be legendary, and if by shooting for the moon, they land among the stars, they will be satisfied.

I am satisfied.  I tasted acclaim and renown in a fish tank in Syracuse suburbia.  Then I moved to Nashville.  A lesser known fact is that my first summer there, I recorded a demo with five songs I had written or co-written with my friend Bob Cowherd.  It was the product of lots of late night jam sessions on breaks home from college.  By the time the demo was finished, I was fully into my first semester as a transfer student to Belmont University, and I did try to get it in the door on Music Row… and I sent a lot of packages in the mail… but nothing ever came of it.

So maybe I wasn’t supposed to change the world as a singer-songwriter.  Maybe it was modeling and acting.  I leaned out, got new head shots, and resumed a childhood hobby with a new agency.  I did some magazine ads, commercials, and music videos, but the side work fizzled out after a couple of years.  When I married my husband, I truly believed that our union would be the platform for that future of significance.

He was a songwriter, singer, and rapper.  He could bring me to tears in one worship chorus.  So maybe I was meant to be a part of that legendary story, that I would be his support system.  I stopped writing, and I threw my support to his late night studio sessions instead.   He was the one that was meant to be legendary, and everything leading up to that point was to prepare me for the role of his wife.

Only he stopped pursuing that dream shortly after we were married, likely drained by the monotony of a nine-to-five he’d taken on to try and gain my father’s approval and prove he could support me financially.  My efforts then went to grad school and the conception of my educational training company, Building Perception.  LegalZoom was my companion in that venture… a venture that ended when I left Nashville and my husband.

When it comes to my divorce, I am most grateful for one thing.  That senseless striving to pursue and achieve and attain renown – that self-compelled instinct to elevate myself – it died with my pride back in my high school bedroom in the spring of 2013 under a white lace canopy.  I no longer longed to be legendary.  I was too fragile to dare to hope for a reason to get out of that bed.  I was camping out in my parent’s house after more than a decade abroad, trying to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

Starting over was cathartic, and in some ways I’m still rebuilding my life three and a half years later.  I see a clear path that came to a clear end, a journey on which one dream or pursuit or longing was quickly replaced by another.  I see junctions where I attained a small measure of the stuff that “legendary” is made of and ultimately found no true fulfillment in it.  I sought the next great thing, and once achieved, it still was not sufficient.  Our goals change like the songs at a wedding reception; they reflect the current mood and atmosphere we’re trying to achieve.

Before Charming entered my story, I was on a quest for love.  Now, I’m fixated on family.  This weekend, I took him down to the boardwalk in Virginia Beach.  We walked for miles, enjoying an art festival and scattered live concerts.  Charming’s favorite statue was of Neptune, the ancient Roman’s God of the Sea, palming a turtle in his giant stone hand.  He’s a product of mythology that gained such renown that he’s worth building a statue to honor him.

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Legendary.  Pursuits change.  We complete one quest only to encounter another.  Epic stories are the ones with subjects worth writing about, and I choose to write about cruising the Virginia Beach boardwalk on a bicycle built for two with Charming.  If we marry and have children, what new desire will emerge that’s as unquenchable as this one is now?

When I first conceived the theme for our high school yearbook last week, I was thinking, “Legacy.”  For me, it’s what ultimately replaced my own high school predecessor’s desire to be legendary.  Legendary fits my students.  That’s the theme that will drive them to achieve and accomplish more than they ever could have if they didn’t believe, deep down, that they were meant for greatness.

And this, what I have, is a great life.  There’s nothing legendary about me, and I don’t want there to be.  I want to leave a legacy, though.  Fulfillment won’t come in my next quest or adventure, either.  Not this side of heaven.  As long as my feet touch the ground, God’s going to keep writing a story with my life.  Like my little website at fourteen, maybe no one will ever read it.

But it’s mine.  It’s the life I’ve been given.  For the better that He meant it or for the worse that I let it become.  To the God that created me, I was someone worth writing about.   I don’t need a statue of stone.  If I never find a way to leave a legacy, then I trust as author, His plot curve will simply develop a different theme out of my life’s myriad quests.