July 8, 2021

Well, I can't totally say I'm glad to be cleaning this place up, but I know it's the right thing to do. It's a huge, giant, amount of work. And that's after you moved some of it, yourself. That must have been a giant, utterly exhausting effort. 

The kitchen's been clean, and has stayed clean, since the beginning. The dining room clutters a little, and I remove stuff before it gets too bad. There is often a sense of guilt that goes along with all this; Why didn't I do it before?

Kellan was beside himself when he saw his room, and he got it all cleaned out: the trash, the Torben things, the stuff he wants to keep, and everything else. Over time, the entire upstairs is getting sorted out, with each and every item in its place: what's trash, what belongs to someone. 

This hasn't been the most ordinary summer, and for me it's definitely been a spiritual pilgrimage. It really was a pilgrimage in the sense of being away from my home, long enough to plant a few new insights and habits; then bringing those habits, once established back into the place where they're actually hardest to do -- back into my old 'comfort zone'.

I like to play. Summer's my favorite, and there was so much I wanted to do this summer for us all. Easier said than done, yes, but if we'd done even half those things I don't reckon this level of cleaning would have happened. And, with so many more bodies around, it would be that much harder and more inconvenient to accomplish. While I do feel an immense burden managing this house on my own, and certainly the sadness that it is no longer a home to any of us, I am thrilled that God gave me, and us, a situation where it can all be packed and organized without having to do it in a rush simply because we got a letter from management in the mail. 

And I believe that's how it could have gone, if things kept going the way they did. Can anyone imagine trying to pack and move in February?

I hope this is a grand cleaning in our lives, both inwardly and outwardly. I have needed practice with discipline, with organization, with stick-to-it, with dedication, and with the zen of cleaning. It is wonderful to continue this spiritual pilgrimage God is taking me on, in a circumstance where I get so much practice, so often, on the very things I need to learn; things I'd avoided doing and becoming, for so long. In my better moments, I like to think that you've been tasked with looking after our children, and perhaps a pilgrimage of your own, while I have been tasked with the work of closing down our old, unmanageable house. To get where we belong, inwardly and outwardly we must move on; and perhaps God knew we did not have the strength to do it as a family, nor the discipline, nor the time or the certainty required to really do it well. I believe this current set of events reflects His mercy, and I expect that time will show us both how that is true. 

I will tell you, it's been super hard for me at times, but that too is a pilgrimage and a lesson. It is called emotional regulation. It can be incredibly hard, as I think you (and we all) know to pull ourselves out of a dark place when we've gotten into one mentally. Part of my lesson is doing that; to handle emotions I couldn't handle so well before. If I'd been able to do it in late April, then I know there'd have been less pain. One of the most important and valuable lessons I'm working on every day is turning toward my own pain, and my own suffering, and from there, to also embracing the pain in others; it is a huge change for me, and I am learning how that is a genuine root of real compassion. Not just for myself, but for everyone. For all. I turn from a source of pain to a sink, or, from projecting pain outward onto others to being able to genuinely take it in from others and restore it into healing and love. 

Now, I'm not particularly glad I'm alone right now, but I am choosing to use this time to make the absolute best use of it that I can. It would have been harder to transform like this if I'd stayed in my comfort zone with my favorite people on the planet. It has been easier, more natural, to transform while my life is in upheaval. It's really tough to describe this all in words, sweet heart. I guess I'd say that while I wouldn't have chosen this path, I know that when I look back I wouldn't choose to undo it. What I'm learning now will affect me for a lifetime and make me a healthier, happier, certainly more compassionate and calm, loving man. That's where I see it going but the real proof will be feedback from a partner and from family.

I feel scared that too much time will go by without being able to repair and restore our relationship. I'm worried that if, or when things stay broken for a long time, they might stay stuck that way, broken, forever. I'm worried our relationship will end over this, and this isn't how I want it to end. Yes, our relationship on this earth will end, inevitably -- but I'd prefer that be by death, as in death-do-us-part. That's the future I celebrated with you on our honeymoon and it's the future I've always wanted with you since the day we met. I was celebrating being your husband forever. 

But if there's one rough thing I've learned about relationships, including ours, it's that they are living beings that can easily die of neglect. Without timely repair, without healing wounds, without care and regular nourishment, relationships simply begin to fade. When I have taken a relationship for granted, it dies. 

So, I get curious what the future holds, of course. I wonder if we will begin to both invest in the relationship we have. I sure feel eager, like that phrase 'with bated breath', to find out. Time will reveal it. I hope for the best. I also know there are no guarantees, and that makes me sad.

I remember you saying Thursday was your day to get your car into the shop. I'm curious how that went. Thank you so much for the pictures of Torben. They mean so much to me. I send you my love, and my devotion. If there were one question I could ask of you today, it would be: "How are you?"


P.S. I wish I could still see your insta. That would be cool. Mine's public now, so everyone can see it.