Reflections on a Fairpoint Diary

Writer’s block has gripped its fingers around my throat and it has begun to squeeze. I gasp for breath and do the only thing I can think of when words are so hard to come by during times like this. I cheat. I peek at someone else’s work and hope it will inspire me. There must be something out there

I can’t see my hands in front of my face on a night like this
I just look back on my life and think of all i’ve missed
I grew up south of here in towns they tore apart for coal
as if to excavate the darkest secrets of my soul

The first hint of winter blew through here last week. One night I gazed at a crystal clear skyline situated under a crescent moon so thin you’d cut your hands if you tried to grab it. After a long, slow, lazy summer, the pace of things has picked up quite a bit and I feel like I’m on a train speeding towards a head-on collision with marriage. I haven’t got even the slightest of cold feet, but I can start to understand the fear of marriage. There is an amazing finality to the whole thing, like the world ends on December 16, 2000.

But it doesn’t. The world begins anew on December 16, 2000. Nothing will be the same, but there is nothing wrong with that.

I’m fighting to keep the current from carrying me off and leaving me somewhere in 2001 saying “How did I end up here?” but it is taking every ounce of strength and every breath of air when I go under for a moment. Then somedays there is the waiting. Wondering if I will _ever_ move on to the next stage in life. Will I spend the rest of my life just engaged? Will I have to drop her off every night with a “good-bye” and “I’ll see you some time soon?” I bounce and oscillate between these two poles and keep telling myself to rest in God’s peace or I’ll end up married some day and wishing for something else. I light a candle. Thank God for the day and try to stop. Just for a moment.

everybody’s story is more interesting than mine
it took me twenty-some-odd-years to see i’d been born blind
so I just feel my way to you I try to keep you close
i’m never very good at getting what I need the most

This is not the life I wanted. A whole lot of lives had to die for me to live the one I am living now. One of those lives had me married by now, maybe even celebrating a first (or second) anniversary by now doing God-knows-what but coming home to my happy wife and living in some house in a pleasant little suburb. If I couldn’t have that life, then I wanted the life where I cut every tie to my past like so much dead weight and flew as far away from home as I could and became some hot-shot cutting-edge programmer or artist or some other cool job that scored me lots of hot dates with good looking women at trendy places in some far off downtown. Or maybe I became a true scholar, engrossing myself into studies and eventually growing old as a brilliant professor agonizing freshmen at some university.

But God would have none of that.

Instead, He firmly planted me into the hills north of Atlanta with a job that I never would have thought of doing, but have enjoyed so much I feel guilty driving to work each morning. Then like a great Choreographer orchestrating some elaborate dance wisked away some important people while causing others to appear out of nowhere and into my life. Then, just for added measure, he penciled in someone who was perfectly equipped to spend the rest of my life with me, and then I fell in love with her.

This is not the life I wanted. Then again, maybe God knew what He was doing when He killed those other lives. Maybe this is the life that God wanted for me.

This is not the life I wanted, but it sure is the life I want now. I wouldn’t rewrite the story any other way.

the darkest part of every night is just before the dawn
the sun begins to rise when we admit that we were wrong
so here I stumble home to you to find the words to use
it seems the voices in my head I seldom get to choose

There is a chilling inertia about graduating from school. I spent six years clutching and clawing for one and only one goal, a piece of paper that said I could get a job. I stayed up late into the night, forsook friendships, drove myself mad, and generally was a pain to be around so that I could get that piece of paper. Now, I wage war to keep inertia from dragging my life into mind-numbing boredom. Cooking a frozen dinner and wasting time in front of the TV. While the day waits impatiently outside, checking her watch, I stare at useless stories about things I shouldn’t be looking at anyway. Even when I don’t feel well, I force myself to take a run by the Chattahoochee River. In no time, the leaves will be turning red and orange and yellow and will fall on me as I run. I cannot let inertia drag me down. There is too much to do in today, so thank God there is a tomorrow, at least for now.

I think sometime soon, I need to sit down and make up some new goals. Dream big. Go to Australia. Sing in a choir. Climb a mountain. Run across a field. Figure out what Adriene wants for her birthday.

so it seems life is just a troubled sea that we sail for free
don’t let me drown if the rest of the world’s goin’ down
you gotta breathe your breath in me

And so as the days get colder, I’ll be reminded even more that big things are a ‘comin and while I can’t see anything just yet, it looks like there is a tiny cloud on the horizon which might be heading this way soon. Only God could orchestrate things so well that my wedding would fall upon the third anniversary of The Darkest Night of the Year, so I would guess that I’m going to be bursting at the seams with all sorts of clever parallelisms (well, maybe clever only to me) and thoughts that I will have to make sure to jot down as I scramble around like engineers before a shuttle launch. Until then, I must remember to enjoy every day that God has given me. Tomorrow, Adriene and I will celebrate two years since our very first evening together by going back to the very place that we first figured that “hey, maybe this could be something more than a friendship” and we will sit back, gaze at amazement at what has happened since then, and then buckle our seat belts and get ready for what’s ahead. This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. Amen.

Fairpoint Diary
Lyrics by Linford Detweiler, Copyright 1998