Open Letter to the “Men Along the Journey”

The other day I posted a video on Facebook, tagging a crew of men to whom I was expressing gratitude.  As I watched the video of a young boy, fatherless, being held up by “A Village of Fathers” I began thinking of the men who have supported my son, Bryan, throughout his journey.  The list includes friends, teachers, pastors, leaders, uncles, coaches, neighbors, a grandpa, a brother, and an adoptive father.

The thing is, I didn’t really explain why I tagged so many of you, and I did not explain how you fit into the overall picture.  As a matter of fact, I started picturing each of you guys thinking “Uh, was it a mistake that Julie tagged me in this?  What was she thinking?  As far as I know Bryan was never in a Training Academy and I most certainly have never done push-ups with him on my back!”  Here’s the thing, though.  You have!  You have done push-ups with my son on your back.

Every time that you
Pushed Bryan to excel,
Challenged him, or
Taught him something new,

You were doing push-ups
With my son on your back.

When you chased him at the park,
Included him in your game of catch,
And high-fived his efforts,

You were doing push-ups
With my son on your back.

When you picked him up,
Dropped him off,
Or sat in the passenger seat while he drove,

You were doing push-ups
With my son on your back.

Every time that you said “Hello,”
Celebrated his birthday,
Reached out to him,
Listened, joked, supported, helped,
congratulated, encouraged, or coached,

You were doing push-ups
With my son on your back.

When you taught him
the quadratic formula,
how to mow a lawn,
how to get the ball in the net,
How to run faster,
Think smarter,
Speak louder,
Read more,
and to listen to great music,

You were doing push-ups
With my son on your back.

You were there when he
Hung drywall,
Asked questions,
Won a bet,
Broke a bone,
Waxed philosophical,
Painted walls,
Calculated algorithms,
Broke personal records,
Used power tools,
Volunteered his time,
Invested his money,
and learned that he was

worth the investment.

You were doing push-ups
With my son on your back.

When you
worried about him,
corrected him,
prayed for him,
laughed with him,

You were doing push-ups
With my son on your back.

When you went running with him,
Met him for coffee,
Or made chai for him,
Fed him,
Played Chess, Stratego, and Capture the Flag with him,

You were doing push-ups
With my son on your back.

As he continues to grow,
Learn, explore, change,
and transform into the man
he is to become,
I will be eternally grateful
for your role
in Bryan’s journey.

When I could not provide for his every need,
Because I could not teach him everything,
You stepped in.
You showed up.
You came through.

You were doing push-ups
With my son on your back.

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Mike, David, Doug, Charlie, Dan, Ryan, Charles, Tom, Jon, John, Kyle, John, Dan, Donnie, Michael, Jay, Zack, Craig, Martin, Don, Chris, Dave, Dave, Dave, David, Kareem, Ben, Bob, Bobby, Dan, Dale, Ken, John, Odis, Scott, Chris, Ed, Thom, Hubert, Keith, Seth, Dale, Pat, Tim, Adam, Sean, Scott, and the countless other men who have been there through the journey.

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NaPoWriMo – Day 16

I am cheating.  Rather than writing a brand-new poem, which is what we are supposed to do during National Poetry Writing Month, I am posting a poem that I wrote nine months ago.  Some friends wrote a book with a similar theme, so I dug this out today.  Also, on Day 9, the NaPoWriMo was “to write a poem that includes a line that you’re afraid to write. ” That line exists in this poem.

Reverse poem in which I reflect on my thoughts

My fear
Is bigger than
God’s love for me
“I want to run away.”
I will never again say
“I am free.”
Or
“I can stay here and be okay.”
I believe
Vulnerability is terrifying.
I no longer think
I am lovable.
I will never be good enough.
It is not true that
I am strong.
I am damaged goods.
Nobody believes
There is joy available for me.
Sorrow is my only option.
I used to think
I am strong enough to let down my guard.
I now know that
“I am broken.”
I will no longer say
“I can be whole.”

Now read each line in reverse order.

“I can be whole.”

I will no longer say

“I am broken.”

I now know that

I am strong enough to let down my guard.

I used to think

Sorrow is my only option.

There is joy available for me.

Nobody believes

I am damaged goods.

I am strong.

It is not true that

I will never be good enough.

I am lovable.

I no longer think

Vulnerability is terrifying.

I believe

“I can stay here and be okay.”

Or

“I am free.”

I will never again say

“I want to run away.”

God’s love for me

Is bigger than

My fear