Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Remembering Christmas

Have I mentioned that I love Christmas?
I always complain that it comes too quickly, and that it "sneaks up on me".  I get tired of  seeing how early the stores start putting Christmas merchandise on the shelves every year.  I get tired of hearing how someone is offended by it.  I never get the decorations up as early as I'd like, if at all.
And then, slowly or quickly, loudly or subtly, it's HERE!
And I remember...
I remember that stores can't tell me when to celebrate.
I remember that society can't tell me how or what to celebrate.
I remember that I wait in joyful expectation of it every year.
I remember that no matter what the year past has given me, or what the year to come will bring....
I remember that my God is HERE!
This is what all creation lives in anticipation of and always will.
There is no one who can limit the expression of the love my God has for me.
And so I remember that when all the wrapping paper is gone and the decorations are put away...
It's really always Christmas, for my God is still here, and I will spend my time with Him -
for then I am in good company.

Please remember Him, for He remembers you...
Merry Christmas everyone!

Dan Bode

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Picking Teams - " I looked over the pool of team prospects my eyes fell upon the last person I ever, EVER expected to see in that group."

When I was a kid I engaged in any number of activities that served to enrich my life.  There were also a number of other activities that almost served to end my life as well, but I’m not sure if the statute of limitations is up on some of those so I’m not talking about them right now.

I was reminded recently of something that I hope kids are still doing today just because they need to get out more anyway.  I never had to spend hundreds of dollars on anything in order to have fun.  I ran, I jumped (occasionally off the roof), I crawled into places I wasn’t supposed to be,… everything. 
And we played baseball.  Anywhere.  The street, an empty field, a too small backyard (windows were in danger), - all that was necessary was a bat and a ball, or a stick and a rock if that was all that was available (we were more careful with the rocks). 
An inevitable part of the process of playing baseball was picking teams.  This was always a source of anxiety for pretty much everyone involved.  If you were the captain picking then you were anxious because you wanted to get the first pick and the best players.  If you were in the group being picked from you were anxious to be picked, and your anxiety increased the longer you remained unpicked. There was also anxiety surrounding who else got picked for your team because you didn’t want to have to play with someone who happened to be your sworn enemy that week.
There was one day when I found myself in the best and worst situation of my life.  If you had asked me to imagine a bad situation I would NEVER, have been able to make this one up.  NOT EVER! I mean NEVER in a HUNDRED MILLION BILLION YEARS would I have imagined this could happen!  Not only could I not imagine it, but I wouldn’t even wish my worst enemy to be in that situation! 

I was 8 or 9 years old, and we were at a church potluck.  I went through grade school at a school that was part of our church as well so all of the kids that I played ball with at school were there too.  The school principal, Mr. Janzow, organized a baseball game.  Mr. Janzow was the ultimate authority figure.  Strict, fair, and respected by the most hardened child.  We called him "Chrome Dome" behind his back due to his baldness, which he knew about and took in good humor.  When Mr. Janzow got enthusiastic about something everyone just naturally went along with it.  And he loved baseball.  Every year he would bring a television set into the classroom to watch the World Series.  Back then hauling a TV anywhere was a project in itself.  They were heavy and they didn’t have wireless hookups or remote controls.  You had 4 channels max.  Maybe a couple more if you got the rabbit ears just right to pick up a UHF channel.

So we all ran out onto the baseball lot at school to start the game.  And this is where IT happened.
Usually the best players were always the captains, but today Mr. Janzow chose the captains and he called out their names. 
“Ok the captains are going to be Danny, and David!” 

Huh?  Not Jeff Schultz and Steve Diaz?!  Is there another Danny here?  There actually was another Danny in the class who was my good friend Danny Buice, but we always called him Dan to differentiate between us.
“Danny come on up here and pick your team!” 

Stunned at my good fortune I walked up to take my place.  I was a good player, but I was by no means the best so I didn’t usually get this opportunity.  I have to say I actually probably basked in the glow of the spotlight for a few minutes.  This was the best moment for me.
Then came the worst.

“Ok everyone come on over to pick teams!” He yelled, but then came the fateful words:  “Adults too!”
All the kids looked at each other.  Adults?  They play baseball?  Who would have thought?  We all kind of shrugged our shoulders as if to say, “Yeah ok.  We can still have fun.”
Then we turned around and realized with quiet horror that the adults there were OUR PARENTS! 


And as I looked over the pool of team prospects my eyes fell upon the last person I ever, EVER expected to see in that group.  Huh???!!!  That’s my MOM!!!  What the heck is SHE doing there?!  I’m pretty sure she never played baseball in her life!   Everyone saw her move into the group, and then everyone looked at me.  I could see the same thought pass through their minds.

“You HAVE to pick your mother!”

Some bowed their heads in sympathy, some snickered.  I don’t remember how long it took me to recover my senses, but by the time we were ready to pick teams I had a strategy in place.  I was going to pick the best players first to make up for my mom. 

“Ok Danny first pick!” called Mr. Janzow.

“Jeff.”  Jeff came over and stood behind me.  He had a sympathetic look in his eyes. 
Dave, another kid in my class, was the other captain and he called out his first choice.
My turn.
“Bobby.”  Bobby Finke was Jeff's best friend, and they were always on the same team.  It was protocol.
I don’t remember the rest of the choices, but it inevitably came down to the last person. 

No one ever wants to be the last pick.  It was like the walk of shame.

You know when you have kids, and sometimes you hear yourself saying things that just don’t seem to go together?  I just realized looking back on this situation that kids have those moments too!  I was picking teams for baseball and I uttered the one word that never should have passed my lips in this situation.

“Mom.” I said. 

I will never forget the sight of her standing there with a BASEBALL GLOVE ON HER HAND, (a baseball glove ON HER HAND!  How did that HAPPEN?!), and the biggest grin on her face that I had ever seen.  I remember thinking then that, as bad as the situation was for me in that moment, I loved it when my mom smiled.  I liked it when my dad smiled too.  It didn’t happen enough.  I think a lot of it was simply the proof that if they were smiling at me it meant I had their attention and I wasn’t in trouble.  So I knew that my mom was in no way put out by being picked last by me, and had in fact expected it.  Then she started to walk over to my side.

I was kind of smiling at her, until I realized that she was walking straight towards me rather that to the rest of the team, and in my head I’m thinking, “She’s NOT going to….  NO MOM you can NOT do this in front of everyone!!!!!!  This is a BASEBALL GAME!!!!  PLEASE DON’T DO-!”

She leaned over and kissed me on the cheek.

Kids HATE it when their mothers kiss them in front of their friends.  It’s genetic.  I won’t ever claim to have been a completely normal kid, but in this one respect at least, I was normal. 
I was also mortified. 
Public Displays of Affection are fine for adults, but when parents do it to their kids - it's just wrong.  And parents don't care!  They take special joy in tormenting their kids that way.  I know 'cuz I did it to my kids.  I guess it's genetic for parents too.

One of the things about playing baseball with my friends was that we could let loose all the new cuss words that we had learned, (or made up on our own) during the game without getting in trouble for it.  And now, in my head, as her lips touched my bright red cheek, I thought,

I know, I know, I was too young to have that kind of vocabulary, but, well I heard most of it from my Dad anyway so what was I supposed to do?  He got in trouble when he said it in front of my Mom too.
This was going to be the worst baseball game of my life!  I heard Mr. Janzow quietly laughing.  Ugh.  I couldn't even whine or stomp my feet! 

We took the field.  My team had first ups.  We did pretty good too.  Scored a couple of runs right off if I recall correctly. 

And then my Mom was up.  Mr. Janzow was permanent pitcher so I knew she wouldn't get hurt (even while mortified I was still worried about her, I still could NOT believe this was happening!).  First pitch, swing and a miss!  Not unexpected, I didn't think she was going to - Crack! - hit the ball! 

What?!  She hit the ball!  My MOM hit the ball!  MY MOM HIT THE BALL! 

To say I was shocked was a complete understatement!  If I thought I was unprepared up to now then this sent me over the edge!  I stood there with my mouth open.  Stunned into silence!  (Probably the third or fourth amazing thing that happened that day.)

Then I realized that my Mom was just as surprised as I was!  She was standing there laughing as she watched the ball roll away!  Now technically the hit was more of a hard bunt in terms of effect, but it was enough to get it past Mr. Janzow so she had a chance! 


She realized she needed to go and started to run.  Now here's something about most mothers that is true, especially if they have a lot of kids, and I was the youngest of six: most mothers of multiple children have, by the time the third child is 5, perfected the "Look" and the "Yell".  When she has had to run after more than one kid in different directions she is inherently able to perfect a system in which she can vocally or non-verbally reign the children in to her whenever necessary.  She calls and they come running or the consequences will be severe.  My mom had perfected this system.  What this meant in the reality of the present situation was that my mom hadn't had to run in a long time.  So, when she started running it was more of a "trot" I think, but she was moving! 
She was also laughing uncontrollably as she moved which meant that she was moving that much slower, which in turn made it easy for the second baseman to run up and tag her out long before she made first base.  Even then it was still ok, because we got a run in from the guy on third and it was only the second out.  And again, I uttered words that I would have never thought would come out of my mouth.

"Good run Mom! That was -" , the rest was cut off when she walked up still laughing and HUGGED ME IN FRONT OF EVERYONE!  PLEASE STOOOOOPPPP!!! 

But I let her hug me and didn't try to squirm out of her arms, because really that would have just made it worse.  I just resigned myself to the inevitable when she kissed the top of my head too.   
I don't remember who won the game.  We laughed a lot that day.  There was no real competition going on.  It didn't matter at all. 

But do you know the only reason I remember this game at all?  Do you know the most prominent image of this whole event that I key in on every single time I think of it?  No, of course you don't. 
I'll tell you.

It was my mother's smile.

Every time I heard anyone talk about my Mom there was almost always some mention of how beautiful she was.  It was true.  She was a Danish beauty.  Her smile was genuine.  She had just the slightest gap between her two front teeth, but it was a smile you never forgot.  It was like the sun, and for the most part anyone present when she smiled would smile back.  It was like you got to take a part of it with you when you walked away. 

And, really, this was just another day in life, but something inconsequential to everyone else randomly took on a much greater level of importance to me that one day.  The bottom line was that I knew my Mom was happy that day. 

My Mom smiled,

God was in His Heaven,

And all was right with the world.

©Dan Bode 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Love Conquers All. I’ve heard that phrase for most of my life at one time or another, and I’m not sure I ever really understood it until now. I have no idea why it took so long.

Love Conquers All.
I’ve heard that phrase for most of my life at one time or another, and I’m not sure I ever really understood it until now. I have no idea why it took so long.
It portrays love in the sense of the conquering hero.
The one whom no enemy can stand against.
The difference for me now is that I understand that the battlefield on which all this conflict takes place is in my own heart.
When I examine it realistically I have to admit that I always thought of it in terms of conquering someone else. I wanted love to conform others to my own expectations of what they should be. I wanted love to be at my command.
Imagine my surprise then, when the blade turned upon me instead.
Love will, if I let it, overcome my pain to grant forgiveness, or ask for it.
It will overcome my pride to extend my hand in friendship to my enemy.
It will overcome my anger to allow my faithfulness.
It will overcome me.
Love conquers all, but first, love conquers me. My walls must be overcome from within.
It is sometimes hard to love, but worth your whole life to reach just one moment of being completely known by another, and to know the other in turn. To reach out your hand unseen in the dark knowing the hand of another is already there in expectation to take it.
It is worth everything for just one moment of this. To be known, and not forgotten.
Living your life in pursuit of that first, and maybe only, all encompassing instant of perfection.
Because God is Love, He created us as an expression of Himself, hence we are created in His image. As an expression of God Himself we are inherently worthy of His sacrifice for us, and yet God on a cross seems so incongruous to our concept of love. That’s the problem with our interpretation of love. It’s so watered down we have no concept of what real love is. It’s as though in so many ways we have sanitized the true expression of love to be bloodless. It’s all butterflies and sunny days to our general way of thinking.
We seem to forget that love "endures all things"(1Cor 13:7), and the need for endurance implies conflict, distraction, and sometimes pain. We should love fiercely letting nothing come between us.
Love, when practiced honestly, becomes beauty incarnate.
Love influences the practice of my life. It gives everything I do different meaning.
Love truly is an action, and yet it is more. It becomes what we do, where we go, who we know and how we know them. Love cannot reach its full potential in our lives if we do not allow ourselves to live in complete surrender to it. If I am only capable of loving someone when things are all good, then I don’t really love at all.
Each of the qualities of love (1Cor 13) implies that there is a need for that quality because its opposite exists in the world. Patience is needed because the lack of it causes bitterness. Kindness is needed because cruelty exists. The difficult part of this is that we all know that we are capable of dealing out all the opposing forces of love. We focus on the positive aspects because we feel better when we actively pursue them as a lifestyle. There is healing in the practice of love.
“Love your enemies” (Lk 6:35), is the most difficult aspect of love, but Jesus gave us examples of it throughout His life. Judas was the most difficult enemy to deal with because he was already loved. His ability to cause pain was increased by the measure of love Christ gave him. There are times when the evidence of the love of God seems so profound to me that I actually understand why some people fear it rather than readily accept it.
Even the one who betrayed Christ was allowed at His table. Christ knew that Judas was His betrayer, and yet His love for him was such that He still desired Judas’ presence in the Passover meal; one of the most intimate of settings.
Judas didn’t deserve that and he knew it. Jesus knew this as well, and gave it to him anyway. All this made Judas’ betrayal that much more profound to Judas, for the greater the love we give when betrayed causes that much more pain for the betrayer.
And is it not one of the most important aspects of love that we should find the ability to love our enemies for the simple fact that when we sin we ourselves act as the most intimate of enemies to God, and He loves us still? Is He not the greatest example of loving one’s enemy simply by loving us for, “He loved us while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8), let alone the ones we condemn without authority?
It is the ability of love to not only conquer all things, but to remain after everything is done and over with. After all the blood has been shed, the ground churned, and with the vultures circling overhead to pick at the corpses of our discontent, Love walks among us to restore us after all the pain to a healed state ready to love again. It is self perpetuating by nature so that when we learn to love ourselves, as God loves us, we understand that we must do something to maintain it in ourselves in order to stay alive to share it with others.
His love makes us matter.
And so we are filled with possibilities.
Because of His love Jesus not only died, but He came back for us!
He. Came. Back.
It is this single, overwhelming act of love that inspires every other expression of true love that we can ever submit to or practice in the human experience.
Through His redemption we are alive with the potential to discover the worth of our very souls.
Live in love,
Do battle in love,
Rest in love,
Die in love,
Return in love.
God did.
It’s called Easter.
©Dan Bode 2010

Saturday, June 22, 2013


I watched a dragonfly die today. 
It was the oddest thing.  It landed on the curb next to me gently setting down.  It laid its tail section down one segment at a time, then folded its legs, and finally laid its wings down for the final time. 
It just stopped. 
It shut down.
And then it died.
I watched it for a few minutes just to make sure it wasn’t just resting, because I’d never seen anything like that before.
It’s so foreign to me to simply know when it’s time to die, and then do it.
Our purpose is so different.
There have been times in my life (long ago) when I wanted to die, even felt the need to die.  To just sleep and not bother waking up.  
But I realized that my death would accomplish nothing. 
And in opposition to that same realization came another: My life can accomplish much.
I have a different purpose from the dragonfly, and have devoted my life to the One who saved it, so it is not my place to end it.

I don’t want to waste my death, because even that has purpose when I put my life in the proper context.  Finding my purpose is one thing, but accepting that purpose and choosing to live it out is something else entirely.
I have always looked at dragonflies as intellectual curiosity personified.  It’s a picture of what humans do on the inside.  The dragonfly flies about, sees something that arouses its curiosity, hovers over it in examination, and then moves on to the next thing having satisfied its curiosity.
I live on curiosity.  I thrive on wonder.  If I lose that then I’m as good as dead. 
If I seek nothing, if I lose the desire to know and be known, then what is left for me? 
What if I cease to strive to know myself?  How do I run from that? 
Yet that’s what I’ve been doing – running from myself, and it’s surprisingly difficult to get away.  It’s exhausting.  It’s like spraying bug repellent on an insect – how does it get away from itself?!  I fill my time with activities that I can’t remember by the end of the week, and I have nothing to show for it.  I can’t maintain commitments to myself so I have trouble committing to others.  I hate that, because I know the value of commitment, but I understand that my commitment to someone is insufficient to satisfy all of their needs.  And in the end I have discovered that my need to satisfy the needs of others can actually be selfish sometimes.  I’m not always doing it for them.  Sometimes I’m doing it because it makes me feel better about myself.  And in a circular mentality I realize that I’m doing so much to keep myself busy so I have an excuse to avoid examining myself.
My mirror has been left covered for a long time, but having recently divested myself of a few responsibilities my thoughts turn more frequently to myself.  I have fewer things to distract me.
I have a different purpose now.  It’s odd how I found out.  Or maybe not.  Maybe this is how we always find out - when a stranger makes an observation we never considered before.
I had a landscaper come by the house recently to give an estimate on removing a tree stump in my front yard.  He stopped by during the day when I was not home and left his card with the estimate.  When I talked to him later he asked, “Is there anyone living there?  It looks vacant.”
Hmmm.  I went out to the street and looked back at my house.
Oh, you mean because I ripped every living thing out of the flower beds?  Or the dead lawn?  Or the peeling paint on the trim?  Or perhaps the grass growing in the rain gutters? 
Where have I been?
Sometimes it takes new eyes to realize you were blind. 
I got so used to living by simple attrition that I forgot to push back against the forces that I thought were limiting me.  I have been avoiding all the things I need to do to make my life liveable.  Sometimes life requires that “you must be present to win”. 
Sometimes I have to actively take possession of it.
Sometimes…ok, all the time, it’s worth it. 
It doesn’t always feel that way though.  It’s in those hard times that I remember my intrinsic worth that still remains regardless of my circumstance or another’s opinion, and this is important because one of my strongest desires in life right now is to be in a relationship.  I learned to interpret my self-worth through my relationship so now I long for it.  At times it consumes me. 
To be once again connected to another. 
I lived so many years where my value was directly related to what I could or could not do for another person, in a value system that was completely false, that my desire to now choose a relationship based on a purer instinct is often overwhelming. 
I discovered that love is what comes back to us, but only the love of God comes back in its purest state.  All other love is tainted by the sediment of this world.
We are abused so we understand that love is pain.
We are abandoned so we understand that love is loss.
We are deceived so we understand that love is untrue.
Because we seek other loves before His we learn avoidance.
We learned that disagreement was to be avoided and gave up intelligent discourse for inauthentic relationship.
We learned to lie for fear that others wouldn’t love us if they really knew us.
Because we learned the wrong expressions of love, and yet are created to love, we keep looking for the incorrect expressions of our deepest desires.
But I also discovered that my desire and my purpose are not always the same. 
I was fortunate enough to hear what I think God was trying to tell me about it. 
The weird part of it all is that my desire hasn’t changed, but there is definitely a shift in my focus.  I have to make a determined effort at times not to think about it, but I’m better when I don’t.
So I wait.
Waiting is a worthy cause, it’s just not terribly enjoyable.
My desires and my purpose are different, and when I try to fulfill one while still anchored in the other this prevents me from being effective in either.

In order to effect change in my life I have to make choices.  Making choices requires effort.  It means saying “no” to things, some of which I desire, but would not be good for me.  I convince myself that it would be better to just let life happen to me so I wouldn’t have to work at it, make no sacrifices.
But a life without sacrifice is a worthless life. 
I paid no price and therefore gave it no value.
It’s easier to wait for someone else to regulate me, than it is to make the choice myself.  But that’s just one more way to put responsibility for my own choices on someone else’s shoulders.
It would be so easy…
And it is done so often.  The role of “victim” is easily assumed in our society.  Everything seems better when someone else is there to take the blame.
But I am faced with the same questions in life over and over again.
What is my purpose?  To seek and glorify God in my life.
Am I living according to that purpose?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Does my life have more meaning than my death?  It does now.  There was a time when it didn’t.
Because when Christ said, “It is finished!” He meant that His purpose had been accomplished. 
The purpose of His death was to purify me.  To give me a clean slate from which to start over in my messy life. 
Every day I have a new opportunity, a fresh start that makes no mention of yesterday’s sin. 
For Grace is such a heady thing, intoxicating and giving of life.  Forgiveness releases me from so much pain, and yet is so often difficult to practice.
Forgiveness is not such a small thing.  Consider how difficult it is for us to forgive some minor offense against us, and compare it with His forgiveness of the world.  It’s a crushing burden, but He came to take it willingly upon Himself.

After the dragonfly died a small breeze wafted by and caught his wings.  It balanced on the edge before falling off as though it still felt the need to do one last thing, but then it succumbed.  It seemed as though it had no more weight and was lifted off the curb onto the ground beside it.  His purpose was complete, and so his life.
Purpose gives me presence, impact, and compassion. 
Purpose allows me to see the differences of love; which is pure and which is less so.
Purpose shows me what to change, what to be, where to go.
Purpose gives me a reason to keep going.  It’s simultaneously a future goal as well as a present place.  It allows me to think freely, to wonder, to question, and ultimately to stand in awestruck wonder of the love of He who is greater than me.
So I suppose that dragonfly had a greater purpose than I thought.
Imagine that.
©Dan Bode 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Year Gone By

So it’s been a year.
I don’t really understand the idea of a year being the official time period for recovery. 
Certainly there are milestones within the year that mark its passage.  Birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries are all contained there.  But up to now these were all important only to the living.
This year past is most certainly gone.  The one to come is most certainly here. 
Years aren’t really big on waiting for us to catch up are they?
I made a lot of plans this year.  None of them came to fruition.  In retrospect it’s much better that way. 
I woke up on New Year’s Day, the day she died, and it was just New Year’s Day.
I woke up on January 2, which was once our anniversary, but it was just the day after New Year’s Day.
And there were tears.  A lot of salt was shed, but not wasted.
There was so much more lost than I realized, and much that I was forced to give up.
It’s never easy.
There have been so many times earlier in the year where I would walk into the house expecting to see her, and then I would remember, “Oh that’s right, she’s not here anymore.  She’s really gone.”
Then, one night a few months after she died, I had a dream. 
Usually my dreams are fairly unremarkable, and I seldom remember very much about them.  This one was profoundly different, and I believe it was more than just a dream.
I was in a condominium that we had rented several years earlier.  Sue was there and we were just going through our home and doing normal everyday chores.  We were working together happily and accomplishing things together.  This never happened in reality.
I realized as I looked at her that I saw in her face what I had always wanted to see.
She was free from pain.  She knew she was loved.  
She was happy.
I saw the Sue who existed beneath all the layers of garbage the world had piled upon her over the years that I could never clear away for her.
It felt good to be in her presence.
In the midst of this dream I was struck by the realization I had in my waking moments when I walked into the house and realized that she was gone.  At first I was confused, but then I realized that I wasn’t in the real world although it was a place I would have liked to stay. I was conscious that this was a dream.
I turned to her and I said,
“You realize that you’re not really supposed to be here, don’t you?”
She looked at me with a sad smile and said,
“I know.  I love you all.”
And I woke up.
Many will tell me that it was just a dream that my mind created to resolve the issues I had related to her death. I’m a psychologist; I know all the explanations and rationalizations. I don’t care.
I’m convinced it was real.
I have said that the two things Sue needed in life were to know that she was truly loved, and to be free from pain.
I now know that she has both of these things.  This has allowed me to live my life.  I will grieve this loss at different times; that is the way of grief.  My parents died when I was a teenager and I still feel that loss. 
But I am better able to live my life now knowing that she’s ok.
I believe this was a gift to me and my family from her and God.  I believe this was her way of taking care of us in the best way she could.
Life is different now, and I can now say without guilt that it is in many ways better, because she is no longer suffering.
I understand that it was never within the scope of my abilities to make her well.  I could only support her in her own efforts.  She had to make the choice as I could not make decisions for her.  I could not think for her.  My guilt came from my inability to change her for the better.
Because the reality is that I can never change another person.  That is an ability that God reserves for Himself and each of us individually.  I might be able to instigate change, or support change, but it is ultimately a conscious individual choice, and one that my wife did not make. And this is what I will always mourn.  My greatest struggle was that she was never able to understand how much I, and everyone else, truly loved her.  I miss what could have been, and never was, but what I always hoped for.
This has been a year where I have learned a great deal about my limits. 
I learned that I am incapable of saving anyone.
I have learned that my way is not always the best way.  I’m learning to hold back rather than simply run over everyone else’s feelings.  This is a work in progress by the way.
I’m learning generosity, and grace.  Lots of grace, because I use so much of it for myself.  It is absolutely essential for my survival.
I am slowly learning to be content with what I have instead of taking what I want.  I have come to understand that while I have less than some, I still have far more than most.
And finally, I am beginning to see the effect real love has on real life.  I see that often we use things and people as temporary placeholders, or substitutes, while we wait for the real thing to come along.  I can do without until the real thing shows up, and I will be better for it.
When I say, “I love you” to someone, I mean it.  They are not merely three words.
My family and friends are more than necessary.  Life without them would literally be hell.
I miss my wedding ring.  I miss being able to twist it on my finger and feel the reassurance that I was bound to someone else.  I miss knowing that regardless of how she felt about me at any given moment there was still an underpinning of love for me alone.
Despite all that I miss, God is making me whole again.  It’s a process, but a process made easier by the fact that I now understand the meaning of commitment.
He needs me to pursue Him.  He needs me to find my meaning in what He asks of me, rather than what I want.  To find my great value that never changes in His eyes, regardless of what anyone else might think of me. 
There is no greater gift.
I’m running the race again.
So, it’s been a year.
© Dan Bode 2013