Coloring Outside the Lines…

I don’t really remember at what point in my life I began to properly color a picture and stay inside the lines.  I know that as a child I must have colored all over whatever picture I was working on.  We all have.  In watching my own children, I have noticed that, as they mature and get a little older, their pictures have become more precise.  They have gotten better at coloring inside the lines.  I do remember in school that some of the children were better artists than others.  Even though we all began the same and all improved our ability to stay inside the lines, some became masters of their artistic ability.  While some were creating what seemed like a masterpiece for the parents refrigerator door, others were doing their best to just keep their crayon inside the lines on the page.

As an adult I feel like i still suffer with this battle.  I have never learned to create a masterpiece.  My whole life has been a struggle to keep it between the lines.  From the time I was young I have wanted to paint a beautiful picture of what I felt like life should be.  Unfortunately I am not a very good artist, at least not in creating the portrait of my life.  I struggle every day to stay inside the lines and not destroy the good that I do have.  In the same way that a little child wants to present the picture he colored in class to his parents when he gets home from school, I also want to present the most beautiful picture for the people I love.  I want to give my children, my family and my friends a masterpiece.  I want them to be proud, but I cannot paint.  Even as a journalist, I want to create a masterpiece for those who read my stories.  I want to present a beautiful piece of artwork, still, I struggle.

One day my kids will grow up.  They will have a life of their own.  Have I colored the picture of them the best way I possibly can to provide a promising future?  Have I stayed between the line enough to build on my relationship and create a masterpiece that will forever be cherished?  We can’t all be great artists, but is what little I can do enough?

I am going to try my best to simply keep it between the lines in this life.  I hope no one expects a masterpiece.  Maybe in the future I will be able to create stand out work.  Right now, It is more than a full-time job to keep everything between the lines.  Maybe you have struggled with this as well.  We all want a masterpiece.  Many of us fall short.  I feel like I couldn’t ask for better people to be in my life.  I can only hope I live up to offering back to them what they have given to me.  I want to give you all a masterpiece you will never forget.  I’m going to keep it between the lines.

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Beating the Storm…

I spent some time with my girlfriend in Charleston this weekend and had an amazing time helping her do some shopping and just spending one-on-one time together.  I must say it was probably one of the best weekends ever.  I think I fall harder for her every time I am around her.  While in Charleston, I received some reports of bad weather that was going to be heading in and was informed it may be in my best interest to head back home early.  Obviously, no one wants a perfect weekend to end for any reason, but I decided it may be best to pack it up and come home soon.  After carefully considering weather reports, I decided I would stay, but come home early this morning to beat the weather that looked like it would hit around noon. This morning I headed home trying to beat a storm that to this moment, 11:30 p.m., hasn’t really hit hard yet.  I wonder where is this storm?

It is kind of funny how a report can change the course of a weekend.  I mean, I guess I was going to be coming home soon anyway, but I left extra early to beat a storm that I didn’t have to really try to outrun.  It didn’t come at that time.  I wonder how many other courses in our lives we alter due to a circumstance we can see in the future that may not have ever happened in the first place.

Some people fight because they believe something is true that has not or will not happen.  Some people end relationships based on a rumor.  Some may marry thinking another means it when they say, “I do take you now and forever.”  We never know what the future holds, but sometimes we act according to what we feel may happen.  Is this the smartest thing?  I tend to move a little slower.  I want to believe that I do not know the answers and I need the time to step back and see what is true and what is not.  We should all be careful not to race to a place based on reports of a storm.  We need to prepare for the storm, but not alter our course because of it.

I have dealt with many storms in my life.  Sometimes it seems I have faced enough to last a lifetime, and the rest of my days should play out with peace and joy filling my every moment.  This will not be the case.  All of our lives are filled with turmoil.  We all face struggles in our every day lives that we need to be careful not to run from, but to face them head on. We need to allow them to shape us in to who we are.  We do not fear the storm, we prepare for it.  By doing so, we have beaten the storm.  We may not have out raced it, but we beat it.  Beat the storm.  Don’t let it alter your course in life.

Navigator down…

Yesterday I decided to travel to West Virginia to visit with my girlfriend who is moving there for a job that she just started working recently.  Unfamiliar with the territory, I decided to use the gps on my phone to navigate the course to the hotel she is staying in.  I was probably about half way into my trip before I realized there is something wrong with my gps.  It refused to work for me.  I was without direction.  Luckily, i remembered the route in my head from when I looked it up earlier in the day.  I arrived at the hotel with no problems, but I did show up with an understanding that I need to figure out why the gps on my phone isn’t working.  I could have easily gotten lost if I had not remembered the directions.

It is always nice to have a voice to tell you which turn is the right one.  It helps to know which road we are on and which one is coming next.  It is comforting to know there is a turn coming up that we previously were not aware of.  These are the kind of things gps will point out to us, but without them, we must navigate on our own.

I feel like this is the lesson we need to learn in life.  All of us can appreciate that voice telling us where to go and how to get there, but many of us are finding our own way.  Most of us do not have the course mapped out for us.  The best chance we have is to take the turns that seem to be the right ones, and hope we end up where we set out to go.  The answer is coming to us in spoken form, but it comes with a good educated guess and hopes of heading in the right direction.

The promising thing for me was that I did have a map to look at before I left.  Although I relied heavily on my memory to get me to my destination, I was able to get there without a navigation system.  I think the reason why most people don’t get to the place they were wanting to go is they didn’t take a moment to look over the map before they got on the road.  Without the map, finding direction is an impossible task.   You will get lost, and you most likely live that way.

Take a moment to map out your course before you make a move on the road of life.  Your gps system may fail you, but with the proper direction locked into your mind, you can get there.  You can and will succeed in finding your destination in life if you take the time to seek for proper direction.  I’m late.  I tried to drive the course alone.  I went with no gps, no map, no voice to tell me where I am or where I’m going.  I went alone.  Still, I don’t think it’s too late to look at a map and get on course.  This way, every step I take from here on I will know where I am, and know exactly how to get to where I’m going.  I might feel a little uncertain without my gps, but with the directions in my head, I can and will get there.  You can too.  Map it out.

Worth-less

I’m told everybody has a price.  People can be bought, regardless of how strong their will is.  If you offer the right dollar amount you can probably just about talk anybody out of anything.  This seems to be true in many situations, but I tend to believe there is a cut off point.  There is a time and place when someone refuses to sell regardless of price.  When this happens, the item in question, at least in my mind, is considered priceless.

At the same time, if no one is willing to buy something, we say it is worthless.  I cannot hide my lack of a higher education, so I will just explain it how I see it.  The whole point isn’t that an item has no worth at all, but just that it is worth less than other desired items, therefore it is difficult or impossible to sell.

I realized recently that people are the same way.  I have found it extremely difficult to sell myself to some people.  It is not that people don’t like me or that I have no worth, but I guess it is that more worth can be found in other desirable people.

I look at my life and I look at the wrong paths I have taken and I see why my worth has dropped.  While the price has remained the same (I’m cheap. Not very difficult to please), my worth has fallen.  Whether it be in employment, family, love life or friendships, I have lost some footing.  I am not anywhere near where I need to be.

It doesn’t really matter that I work harder than most people I know just to keep my employers and the community around me happy.  It doesn’t matter that I fight for my children and strive to give them everything.  It doesn’t matter that I would sell out 100-percent of who I am to make a life with someone and fight for that love everyday.  It never has been about the price I pay.  It is about my worth.

I don’t have a degree on my wall, a nice family for my children or money to shower a partner with worldly goods.  It is my lack in these areas that will always make me worthless.  I don’t know, I mean, maybe one day I will find a way to get a good job and make some money.  I might buy a big house on a hill and drive a fancy car, but right now, I don’t carry that kind of worth.

I was in Athens one night, not too long ago, and I just sat and watched the college kids as they went back and forth on the streets.  I watched them walk all over each other, drooling on themselves, making a complete idiot out of themselves.  I just sat and watched.  While I sat there I realized that I probably work harder in one day than many of these kids will work in their entire lives.  They have no idea what it is like to have responsibility.  But when it is time to find a new job it will be them and not me who is hired.  It doesn’t matter if I am smarter or work harder or am faithful and loyal to my work.  They will win the position over me because they have that piece of paper that says they give a crap about life.

My children will probably always look back on and despise their childhood because I couldn’t give them much.  Doesn’t matter that I was the one who fought to make sure they were cared for.  Doesn’t matter that I would die for them.  I can’t give them a nice home life.  They don’t have the traditional family.  I am a single dad who barely knows how to be a man, let alone a father, but I fight to be what is best for them.  I fail.

Finding a beautiful woman who cares for me and loves me is all I ever wanted out of this life.  I am pretty positive I will screw up a chance at that as well.  I don’t have money to appeal to the dreams of a woman.  I can’t look at a wife and say, “lets go on vacation next month.”  I simply don’t have the money.  Nobody wants to be with a man who can’t provide a great life for them, regardless of his charm or appeal.

I am a worthless man trying to hold on to a priceless life.  I love my job, I love my kids and I love my girlfriend.  I love whatever friend I have at whatever point I am lucky enough to have one.  While I fight harder than anyone to preserve what I have, it won’t be mine forever.  I will lose a lot of this simply because im worth less.

I want to be priceless.  I want people around me to say, “there is no way I could ever lose the value he brings.”  I fight for that.  I fight for it everyday.  Still, I possess no value.  I am worthless.