Tag Archives: relationships

Dads Who Aren’t Fathers

Please read and share if you agree…

February 14, 2012.

I rarely remember dates yet that one has been burned into my mind as it is the last time I saw my son.

That day I kept telling him I was sorry and I would rather stay jobless and close to him than have a job and be apart. He told me he knew it was best for me and that he just wanted me doing better. That is the kind of man he is becoming.

I moved only around 2 hours away but by the time I had the money and means to come and visit he had moved 6 more hours away to his grandmothers. And so it went.

We talk often and his biggest sentiment, and mine, is how much we miss each other and can’t wait to get together again. Finally having a better job and more money the strategy of getting to see him this summer started coming together. We first wanted to just go visit him but even just a few nights in a hotel along with food and gas and all that goes with a vacation would be near 1000 dollars. A tall order for us at this time.

So arrangements were agreed upon that I would pay for his bus ticket down. I have never been as excited as the day those plans were agreed upon and everything came together. I would have him for right at 8 days and found ways to squeeze as much time together as possible. And I was overjoyed at the idea of introducing him to the amazing new family I have.

But those plans are all but completely shot down now. His grandmother is not sure about sending him to see me. Not because she thinks I’m unfit but because he hasn’t been behaving to her liking. My argument is that keeping a son from his dad is no fit punishment for almost any behavior. This is exacerbated by the fact that he has aspergers, a form of autism, that he has struggled with.

Her comment was that I’m not his dad.

This is technically true. I am not the man who brought him into this world. I am not the man who ignored him most of his life. I am not the man who would occasionally call and make promises of grand Christmas gifts and birthday visits that never occurred.

I’m the man who met him when he was 3 and fell in love with his personality. I’m the man who taught him the basics of Lego building that became his talent and obsession. I’m the man who taught him how great Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Weird Al are. I’m the man who was there for those birthdays and Christmases with him crying into my shoulder asking why his Dad never came. I’m the man who stayed in his life, no matter what, after his mother and I split up when he was 9. I am the man he continues to call dad 5 years after that point. I may not be his ‘father’ but I AM his dad.

Of course, I have no legal rights to him or I would have him here. Not as a vacation, but to live. But I have no such rights.

Now I am scrambling to figure out how to come up with enough money to go see him. It will happen, but may be limited to a day or two. It will happen because I miss him. It will happen because I have faith God will make it happen. It will happen because I have the same feeling that any mother or father could tell you they feel when they are away from their kids for any length of significant time, let alone 2+ years.

But I want this shared to show support for those dads who aren’t ‘Fathers’. To show love for those who are there, not because they have to, but because they choose to. We have no rights if something goes wrong yet we throw our hearts into it 100% with no emotional safety net.

Share this if you are or know one of these dads.

Relationships in Review

When you first get married you will inevitably hear the question, ‘so how long have you been married now?’ so much you’ll know the question that will follow it by heart, ‘have you fought yet?’

Is it odd that as a country we immediately start thinking the only obvious extension of marriage is fighting.

Some truths:

  • I’ve been married before
  • I’ve been in too many negative relationships
  • I’ve had plenty of fights

I know marriage isn’t all roses and candy canes and monkeys farting vanilla incense all over the place. The roses wilt, the candy canes don’t open without breaking and the monkeys, well let’s just say marriage isn’t always pretty.

But marriage can be a beautiful place where two people share their hearts, their laughs, their cries, and everything in between. Unfortunately, we bring a lot of baggage into marriage, and so much more so than ever before.

When you break up with someone you hold on to all the bitterness, angst, and ill-will and put it towards the next relationship. If you’ve been through a few break-ups then you form some weird amalgam of every negative quality of every person you ever got close too.

With the explosion of online dating this has gone from an amalgam of a few people to ten, twenty, or even more bad relationships. By the time you get married once or so commonly twice you assume it will end badly. This is the mindset in our country. Marriage is simply a stepping stone to divorce and divorce is a stepping stone to dating a bunch of people to marriage to divorce. One date is a prelude to sex which is a prelude to an argument.

Here’s another truth: My wife and I abstained from sex and chose not to live with each other until we got married. That took about a year and a half. Why did I feel like the freak anytime that fact came up? Why are we the exception to the rule?

But above all, why do we feed so much negativity into the relationships around us? When we hear about our friends having a fight do we side with them and agree that their spouse was wrong or do we encourage them and help them work through the hard times? Are we a community building each other up or a self-absorbed temple trying to make sure we’re the last one standing.

What would the divorce rate look like if we pushed each other to remember our vows and keep them close to our heart. When was the last time you looked at the vows your made when you got married? In the end that is the real purpose of marriage, not a paper, not a tax status, and not a reason to have children or explain children. It is that you made a vow to your best friend. You promised to love, honor, and cherish and so much more. We are meant build each other up not force them to change. To lift each other up not break them down.

If you are constantly arguing with your spouse or on the verge of breaking up, I challenge you to not only think about the vows you made when you got married, but make new ones. How much more could you have vowed if you had known then what you know now? How much better could you treat this person than you are now?

My wife and I made the normal vows together and then I read these vows to her I had written myself. I challenge you all to hold me to them, were you to ever hear me in the place of constant negativity. Maybe we’d all argue a bit less, and expect more out of marriages, if we all took a little more time to think about the sacred vows we are making when we do.

I promise to love you the way you deserved to be loved. To treat you with respect and dignity, even if at times sprinkled with sarcasm. I promise I will work to be slow to anger, and always try to be quick to apologize and forgive. To be a role model to all our children current and future, as well as a spiritual leader. To show the love of God through my actions and not my words. And to always try to drive our family to be better today than we were yesterday. Not because we are bad, but because we always have room to grow. Also, I promise to always be your partner, I may not always agree with everything you say or choose to do, but I promise I will always back you up.

Routine Wars: Chapter 6

The smell of gun powder wafted over the battlefield and filled Nelson with visions of a history he had never been a part of.

This battlefield was more a battlefield than any he’d encountered yet. The main reason is it actually WAS a battlefield. They had entered Pea Ridge, Arkansas, where a Civil War battle had taken place hundreds of years before. Nelson had visited once or twice but could not now remember who had won the original battle or how it had started, he only knew how this one had started and that, for a moment, his side was losing.

For weeks they’d been coming across tents and campsites outside of small towns which made it easy to determine where the defectors were staying. Today, however, was much different as they came into the valley and there were no tents and no campsites. The only sign of life was a decrepit building from the Civil War era with smoke coming out of its chimney. He had his men spread out just to be safe and sweep an entire side of the hill they had arrived on but there was no one else. Finally he sent in a small squad of ten soldiers to check out the building which turned up empty.

His senses were immediately heightened at the news and as soon as he ordered everyone to be on the lookout they were ambushed.

The first sound he heard was a cannon from across the valley when he then sensed a number of his men being knocked down. Gun fire then started filling the quiet air and several more of his men started to fall. He scanned all the area he had access to but could not yet see more than the people loading the cannon.

Once he told his men to spread out and watch for gun fire it didn’t take him long to realize that finding his attackers would be quite easy as almost every weapon they had appeared to be civil war era. The cannon that was firing along with several muskets to its south were very easy to point out and he started having men head to flank around their back as he and another group stayed to provide suppressing fire.

This, too, was a mistake though as the men he sent to flank were also caught by surprise by various booby traps and another group of defectors that had remained silent until needed. A couple of soldiers were tripped by wire while another one fell into a camouflaged hole. A couple more were knocked over by a swinging branch leaving the rest to be stabbed by men with bayonets.

The massacre continued to deteriorate as Nelson tried to follow the new group of enemies with one of his fallen soldiers but was quickly blinded at that end when the runners removed all the spinal implant pieces protruding from the backs of the fallen.

He called his men to retreat back up the hill a short ways and called for backup which he was immediately aware that there was none. He relayed the current status to his superiors who relayed back to him how his situation was remarkably similar to numerous other groups around the country. The only groups not having trouble were the urban soldiers and pulling them would mean losing position in the most vital parts of the country.

They were not to lose ground; that was the only real order. Retreating now would mean large groups of defectors like this one could meet up with other large groups and combine their power and organizational skills along with their knowledge of all Wartines goings on.

‘Stay put. Fight or don’t fight, but do not leave your current position and don’t let any defectors get past you.’

He relayed this message, minus the fight or don’t fight, to his men. He wasn’t sure if he was going to send them to fight or not. He needed more information on their numbers and positions and tried hard to think of how to get this.

He asked for airbus fly-over for intel gathering. He was immediately placed on a waiting list. Currently they could guarantee they would have an Airbus to him by late tomorrow.

This was too long and not knowing how many people were standing against him made sticking around and doing nothing one of the worst options he could consider.

Continuing to scan the area he looked on top of the ridge to the south, behind the cannon brigade that was still firing shots. He thought he could make out another group of runners on top of it. This made sense and had he been able to come in from the south there would have been no ambush.

He only wondered for a few minutes how they could have known which way his troops would be coming from since just over a thousand troops walking across the mountains of Arkansas were bound to raise a few eyebrows. Still this was the most organized any resistance group had been and it seemed to be coordinated across many areas of the country.

This was not his concern, however, and he had to push it out of this mind. The less he concentrated the more he lost control of what thoughts were fed to him from his men. If he let his mind wander for a second it could soon be filled with hundreds of random thoughts that may or may not be his.

He gripped his cane tighter and considered his options. His cane was the new toy he’d purchased the night before. It was made of a shimmering black metallic substance with tiny waving lines etched throughout. The bottom had a tiny needle sticking out that one might think were to get better grip in wilderness terrain if one didn’t know any better. The only other feature on the cane was a tiny silver button just under the handle.

Leaning on the cane made Nelson think of what he’d given up to be here. He couldn’t actually remember anything specific but he was sure it had to have been pretty special. Then he considered the option that it could have easily been a pretty horrible situation he’d been in which had pushed him to join the military in the state it had been. If only he could remember…

His mind raced again and a headache instantly formed. Someone, or many someone’s, were hungry and it made his stomach growl. Someone else wanted to shoot the people who had shot at them and it made him angry. Someone else was cold and he shivered.

Nelson regained himself again and straightened up, as though a superior officer had just walked onto his battlefield. He had not had a rush of thoughts like that since he’d first tried the router programming, and that had only been with five soldiers.

He started making a list of their weapons they had with them. Mostly rifles and only a couple of snipers, more of which would be helpful but most of the talented snipers were kept on duty near the White House. He had no rocket launchers or artillery as they were heavy and cumbersome to keep on the move. They had also been deemed as unnecessary.

They did have grenades, though, and lots of them. He started looking around to see what other features the land might offer. There were broken, worn, and burnt buildings scattered here and there. He had some of his men search them for any other usable items that may be around and to ensure there were no more surprises waiting on this side of the ridge.

It took a few minutes and more shots from the opposing cannon to get what would make him reconsider whether to fight back or not, a cannon of their own.

It was beside one of the buildings and though it had no cannon balls of its own but there was some old gun powder and the barrel looked to be in good shape. He began considering his options for projectiles and quickly came to one grizzly conclusion.

In just under fifteen minutes they were ready to test his plan. There was a rag filled with a dozen grenades stuffed into the canon and a string attached to each of the pins, tied at the other end to the bottom of the barrel. Their first test at this was rather unsuccessful as the pins did not come out cleanly and threw the explosives in every direction but the one that could have hurt some enemies.

This test did do one thing, however, and that was getting the attention of their opponents. The cannon fire from the other side stopped momentarily as they watched these explosions occur all around the valley in front of them.

After the smoke had cleared they went back to firing only this time they were firing from multiple directions. Another cannon set atop the ridge was now firing down at Nelsons brigade and getting much closer than the one directly in front of him. He quickly rethought his plan and instantly his men jumped to action.

Two men filled the barrel with more gun powder and fuse and then stuffed another rag down the barrel. This time, however, they lit the fuse before putting the grenades in as Nelson timed it out. Just before it was about to go off another twelve men pulled pins on grenades and threw them down the barrel before it went off sending them towards the ridge.

A couple of the grenades exploded in the air above the runners’ cannon which drew the people operating it out from behind their cover, giving snipers behind Nelson just enough time to pick them off.

The rest hit the side and front of the ridge causing rock and dirt to plume up over the area. This was the perfect distraction and all of Nelson’s men charged towards their enemies.

Most of his group, including himself, went up the ridge and rushed the bulk of those who had been firing at them while a few went to secure the lower cannon and ensure there was no one else hiding out there.

Before they made it to the runners the smoke had cleared and they were being fired upon again yet the old muskets were no match for modern semi-automatic rifles once they could see their attackers. People started falling on both sides and then rushed into close combat.

To his right, Nelson saw a runner stab at one of his routines with a bayonet before it was swiped away and a knife was dug into the runners chest. Another runner ahead of Nelson snapped the neck of a routine and made a bee-line for him. Nelson started fighting the runner, using his cane to block blows dealt by an old civil war sword the runner had procured and sharpened.

The sword came down above his head and he raised the cane to stop it as he turned his body and elbowed the defector. He swept his leg in a circle and his opponent jumped over it, however as the attacker touched ground again Nelson touched the pointy end of his cane to the man’s chest and gently squeezed the button under the handle.

A loud ‘whoosh’ filled the air and Nelson’s arm was shoved back violently. His attacker, however, was less fortunate and was thrown back ten feet and knocked unconscious. Nelson kept fighting a few men around him until he was surrounded. At this he pushed the cane hard into the ground and pushed the button again. This time a loud thud moved the earth beneath him. He was quickly lifted as though starting a jackhammer while the people around him were knocked down and stunned.

He turned and knocked a woman rushing him across the head and she fell in a short scream as he moved the cane under his arm and pushed the button again to take down another man behind him.

He tensed and turned but no one else was coming. In fact, no one else seemed to be left. He scanned the area and found they had killed and/or captured 33 people.

It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t near enough and he knew there were more somewhere. His men scoured the ridge and farther south but could find no one else. They did find a few abandoned guns and another cannon that had been prepared yet never fired.

He reported the outcome to his superiors who congratulated him on a well fought battle with a bonus 200 credits. They then deducted 100 credits for each of the 11 routines that were killed in the battle.

He also let them know about the small number in the end and advised they could probably catch up with anyone else that had fled. This was denied, however, as new orders were quickly issued. His brigade and 4 other larger brigades were to meet at the Oklahoma border and await further instructions. A more important battle awaited them.

The next day, President Hope would think over all the results from various battles across the states. He would note that the intensity of each of these had risen dramatically and the Midwest was being more of a pain than he had anticipated.

A few days before he had been wondering which city to bomb however now it was simply a matter of when. “How about now?” He chuckled to himself.

Turning in his desk he pushed a small hidden button which produced a small hidden number pad. He entered a sequence of numbers which then opened a small hidden drawer with a hidden compartment which in turn opened to a hidden control panel. He entered the destination, thanked God for the wisdom he had been given to see clearly what needed to be done, and turned a key.

Somewhere, in the middle of a desert in New Mexico the earth moved and opened up revealing a missile smoking and shaking, itching to be fired. When President Hope saw a green light he pushed a red button which started a dark day. The missile zipped into the air and headed for its destination.

Routine Wars: Chapter 5

When the sounds of gunshots echoing through the valley below filled the air around the small town, Sarah initially didn’t give it a second thought. When she was growing up the military, the real military would use parts of the mountain on the other side of the valley for training exercises.

They would shoot up this bit or bomb that bit and the sounds of it would liven an otherwise boring weekend afternoon. And while that had not happened in years, the sounds were still familiar enough to not only fail to faze her but also soothe her nerves on some subconscious level that a psychologist could have a field day with.

But in those days there were no airbuses, so when the sky above was covered by a slow moving object and darkness covered the town for a few seconds, people started talking and watching. They saw it land on the other side of the lake for about 10 minutes before taking off again and trailing off over the mountains.

Airbuses were called so not because they looked like an oversized Greyhound bus with two propellers attached to it, which it did, but because they could actually be a bus. Once on the ground, their propellers would collapse vertically in line with the bus roof and the tiny back propeller that looked, relatively so, like a toy piece on the back of the large bus would fold up making it look like a cat with its tail in the air.

Its doors could then open and close and a steering wheel replaced the sticks. This made airbuses versatile and very useful in transporting people, usually runners, from here to wherever, though wherever was usually an education camp.

The airbuses were the brainchild of some faceless and nameless engineer at the request of President Hope who then took all credit. He wanted something big enough to transport a large group of people but versatile enough to quickly get in and out of places. Large planes needed runways and buses needed time to get over mountains while traditional helicopters were too small to carry two hundred people.

Sarah jumped up from her desk in time to see some other citizens running to the edge of town that looked down over the valley. When she got there they were speculating exactly what it was they were seeing. The crystal blue water twinkling in the sunlight below was being mixed with a darker color.

“Oil?” Someone asked. “Nah, it’s mud.” Another person offered.

“It’s blood.” Sarah said this more to herself than those around her. One person dismissed her saying that’s crazy while others started realizing it was true. “We need to get down there and see if anyone needs help.”

“Daniel’s got some four-wheelers, I’ll go get him,” a lady next to her ran off and came back quickly riding a four-wheeler joined by two other boys doing the same. She got off hers and offered it to Sarah who jumped on and started for the trails leading to the lake. It had a small trailer hitched to the back that would bounce off its wheels on bumps because it was empty. One of the two boys, Daniel, who was behind her also had a small trailer but it had some tools tied down to it which weighed it down enough to remain somewhat stable. The other boy was Daniel’s older brother Dennis who used the fact that he didn’t have a trailer to his advantage and zipped ahead of both of them.

Their engines rang through the valley and caused hundreds of birds to fly out of their warm tree houses, fill the sky for a moment, and then go visit their neighbors.

They arrived at the campground and chose to split up to cover the whole lake. Daniel and Sarah headed north with the lake on their left while Dennis went west along the bottom of the lake to the other side.

The first few campsites Sarah and Daniel came across were still filled with tents and food but void of any life. It wasn’t until they got to the biggest campsite that they found bodies lying on the ground.

Sarah rushed over to the nearest one, a man, and confirmed he was deceased. She went to the woman next to him, and she was dead as well. Six bodies in all and none survived. She looked up at Daniel, “Do you know any of these people?”

“No,” he looked a cross between sick to his stomach and shocked with a dash of forlorn. “There had to have been more people here, these six didn’t use up all these tents.”

“Agreed, and the same for all the other tents we passed. We should head on around. If we haven’t found anyone alive we can carry these people back to town.” Daniel nodded back at her and they continued along the lake checking each site then around the top where they found Dennis standing over some lumps on the ground.

“Sarah! Hurry, these kids are still alive.” Sarah immediately jumped from her four-wheeler which kept rolling another twenty feet before slowing to a stop. She pulled a medical kit she’d stuffed into a backpack and thrown on when they left. She started checking them for wounds but quickly realized there was no actual blood.

“These kids weren’t shot. This is ketchup.”

Daniel looked around the campsite and saw that all the condiment bottles were in pieces. “There had to be some kind of explosion, but nothing is burnt.”

Dennis didn’t look up but offered an answer, “Concussive blaster. A weapon made to knock people down but not kill them.”

“But why wouldn’t they have used them at the other campsite? We found dead people back there,” Daniel was shaken and panicky.

“Who can say why those implants do anything,” Dennis said and then looked at Sarah, realizing what he’d said. “Sorry, I didn’t mean anything.”

“It’s fine. I agree. Glad you aren’t still lumping me in with those mindless brutes. Help me get these kids on the trailers and strapped in. We’ll need to go slower so they aren’t shaken any worse than they have been. It will be easier to check for injuries at the clinic.”

“Yeah, and those guys might come back.”

“If they haven’t come by to check on us yet they are probably half way up the mountain by now,” Dennis assured him as he started to pick the boy up, “This kids an implant.”

“What? Kids aren’t allowed to get implants.” Sarah rolled the boy over and saw the familiar spinal implant just below the bottom of the neck. He was newer than she was. “Who would do this? How would they know what routines he could handle?”

“Can’t you guys just learn any program you want?” Daniel had never been out of the small town and Sarah had been the first routine he’d ever met.

“No, well, you can but it wouldn’t do you any good. It is only truly useful if already know a great deal about what you are getting programmed for. Let’s get them back to the clinic. We aren’t going to learn anything here.”

“Would they have left such a young routine behind, even if they thought he was dead?” Daniel was scanning the trees, ready to get out of there at the first sign of trouble.

“Doubtful. They obviously missed it. I wonder if they are always this careless.” Dennis placed the child on the trailer of his four-wheeler and strapped him in tight. He waited for Daniel to get the girl on the other trailer before they set back towards town. It was getting colder and the sun was starting to go down as they got back to the clinic after an uneventful yet anxious ride back.

“Put them up there,” She pointed to a couple of beds in an exam room that normally waited for emergency patients. She struggled to not immediately look at the boys implant. She had so many questions about it and what it was doing on him. Besides it being impractical for programming as he grew the implant would start to come apart. She remembered hearing that in one of those lectures.

She went through her exam routines on each child, checking their vitals which seemed to be fine. One of the only pieces of large equipment they had in the clinic was an old X-Ray machine which she used to conclude the girl had two broken ribs while the boy was fine. She continued to try to wake them up fearing possible concussion. Eventually the boy woke up and stared at them.

He didn’t sit up, or scream, or ask where he was, he simply stared at them.

“HI! My name is Sarah. What is your name?” She asked but received only silence. “How long were you living at the lake?” There was more silence. “Do you remember what happened?” She looked closely at his eyes, they followed her movements and he seemed awake, just silent. She started to check his pupils when a voice behind them crackled to life.

“He won’t talk to you.” They jumped having been so engrossed in trying to get the boy to speak. “He doesn’t talk to anyone.”

“So you know him then?” Sarah turned and then backed up so she could see them both. Daniel and Dennis sat down on chairs against the wall when the girl gave them a bit of a frightened look.

“Well, yeah he’s my brother.”

“Oh, that’s very nice. What are your names?”

“My name is Faith and I’m 10 years old and he is Jonah, he’s 12!”

“Faith and Jonah, my name is Sarah and they are Dennis and Daniel. They are siblings too, they are brothers.”

“Are you their sister?”

“No, but they helped find you and bring you back here.”

“Well that’s very nice of you all, but we should get back to camp.” At this Jonah looked at her with a soft glare. “Oh, right. Camp was raided wasn’t it?”

“Yes, I’m sorry.”

“Our parents were with us at our tent, did you find them?”

“No, we found no one else by your tent.”

“They were taken by the war-tines. They will be going to camp.” She looked towards her brother who seemed to consider this.

“It’s pronounced ‘ROU-tine’ there Faith.” Daniel couldn’t contain himself.

“No, it’s WAR-tine. He’s a routine and doesn’t hurt anyone. War-tines go around carrying guns and kidnapping people taking them to camp. You’re one, too, aren’t you Sarah? I mean a routine, like my brother.”

“Yes, I suppose I am like your brother in that respect. Say, you don’t know what type of routine he is do you? I’m a medical routine; do you know what he is?”

“Yes, he’s a knowledge routine.”

“Knowledge of what?”

“Everything important in this world,” Faith said without any irony and then glanced at her brother again who was now playing with the stethoscope that was setting next to him. “He is the key to a mystery no one yet knows about. He is the solution to a problem no one talks about. He is the hope when hope has turned on us.”

“Wow, sounds like he’s pretty special,” Sarah said with a smile making Jonah blush.

“Wait, key? Solution? What does all that even mean?” Dennis leaned forward to get another look at the young child.

“I don’t know. It’s what my parents always tell us.”

“How long has it been since your brother said anything?”

“I’ve never heard him talk. Mom says he’s just a good listener.”

“I bet he is. Do you know how long he’s had his implant?” Sarah pointed at his back.

“He got it before I was born.”

“Didn’t you say you were ten years old?” Dennis asked.

“Yes sir.”

The three adults exchanged glances and Dennis continued, “But how would that be possible. There weren’t any routines 10 years ago. The technology didn’t exist.”

“Maybe you mean just as long as you remember. You would have been very young when I got my implant; maybe it just seems like that long.”

“No ma’am. My mom told me he got his before I was born. It’s changed a little but it has always been there.”

“Changed?” Sarah looked at him again and then asked him to sit up. She lifted his shirt and examined his back closer. There were tiny scars dotting up and down his back on either side of his spine where a full spinal implant used to lay. “This is impossible. Implant removals, changes, upgrades; it’s all untested. No one has ever done it. How could he have gone through this?”

“Is that why he doesn’t talk?” Daniel asked.

“It’s possible. It would take brain scans and a host of other tests to be sure but we don’t have any of that equipment and going to a hospital with him would be dangerous. There are routines, or WAR-tines, I should say, all over every hospital.”

“We have to get back to our parents.”

The adults looked at each other again but with a look of despair. “Honey, if your parents went to a camp, we can’t help them.”

“Well of course YOU can’t. You have to take us to the one who can.”

“Who could possible help you get inside?” Dennis asked with a great deal of doubt.

“I don’t know his name. But he is the one who can unlock the key.”

“Ok this girl is crazy,” Daniel stood up and waved his hands about as though mimicking craziness. “You can’t UNLOCK a key, Faith; you use a KEY to unlock a door.”

“I’m just telling you what my mom used to tell us every night before bed. ‘If ever unable to find me, there is only one man to see. No matter what he does or where he be, he’ll use the back door to unlock the key.’”

“Ok, Daniel’s right, she’s starting to sound a little crazy. Actually, her whole family is starting to sound crazy.” Dennis joined in making crazy faces with his brother.

“Maybe she’s not. She’s called her brother the key earlier.”

“So we need to unlock him.”

“In a sense, yes; he doesn’t speak and he has a routine full of knowledge. Maybe that knowledge needs to be released. If they were runners it could be information about the War-tines they were running from.”

“Well then we need it unlocked like we need a whole in our head, which is what we’d have if any of them drones found out we might even possibly have secrets on them. And we don’t even know who could unlock him anyway. It could be a trap to begin with.”

“Whoever put an implant on him did it before Hope even took office.”

“So she says, you don’t know that you’re just basing it off of one ten year olds word who just survived a concussion blast. You say she has two broken ribs yet she hasn’t cried once. Doesn’t this all seem a bit odd to you?” Dennis had raised a valid point and Sarah looked at Faith with intensity.

She finally bent down between the girl and the boy and took a deep breath. She shook her head realizing what she was about to say and where she was about to go. “I think I know someone who can help us. We’ll leave in the morning.”

 

God Healed an Agnostic

This weekend, my fiancee and I took a trip to my hometown to visit my family.

The trip was relatively normal. We went to my brothers and had lunch and played a bunch of games. At the moment my fiancee and I have yet to find others in town to start a game group so these trips are also the nearly only time we get to play all our new games with more than just ourselves and the occasional child we con into joining us.

The only real difference in this trip was we transported a friends dog, who felt they weren’t home enough to care for him, to my mother.

MeAndMo

And yet on this trip I felt even closer to my soul mate than I ever have. But let’s back up first.

For those few of you who were around to read the first few posts of this blog, and then for some reason stuck around to read posts that actually got real and meaningful, will know that I’ve had a rough patch in my early-mid life. I had married a woman I was sure I would spend the rest of my life with. She had 3 children, one teen I unfortunately clashed with, and then a preteen and tween that I go really close to. And she introduced me to her church that was unlike any church I’d ever gone to.

But sadly, she didn’t keep the Holy Spirit close to her and instead let her physical wants take over. She decided to leave me for other people. I lost the whole family I’d come to know and depend on over the 3 years we were together.

This made me magnify all the negativity in my life and I ended up leaving my job. I then also overstayed my welcome with a family member and found myself homeless, moving from cheap motel to cheap motel, interspersed with the occasional night or more spent sleeping in my car.

I lost almost everything I owned including the only thing I had from my father, his wedding band, that I had worn every day since getting it for over 6 years. I’d lost my past, my present, and the foreseeable future. For over 6 months, I felt and for all intents and purposes was, alone.

I ended up getting a job at AT&T over 2 hours away from where I’d been living in my hometown and thought that God had delivered me into this new job for a reason. But instead he’d delivered me to the new city to meet the real love of my life. My actual future was in a town another hour north, and a job I would have never dreamed of a few years ago.

My fiancee and I took a vow to abstain until we were married. That was about a year and a half ago and we have kept that promise to each other and to God. It’s been one of the most important and significant decisions of our lives. Instead of building a relationship out of a sexual beginning, we have built a relationship out of communication and understanding. And while our wedding has been postponed thanks to various issues we continue to simply grow closer together.

And this weekend was no different and a perfect example. We are both a couple of huge geeks and have found our equal interests in board games. We watch videos of board games being played, reviewed, previewed, and explained. Our entertainment budget is pretty much exclusive to a small amount spent on board games each check. We don’t drink so we don’t go to bars, we cook at home almost all the time, and we rarely even go to the movies.

So these chances to play games with my family excite us even more so over the great conversation we know we’ll have. This weekend the star of the show, for us, was Ticket to Ride. While we played Forbidden Island and Nerts and had Small World and Arkham Horror available, 2 rounds of Ticket to Ride left us talking long after we’d started the 3 hour drive home.

Having only played the game 2 player style, except for one game with 2 reluctant kids, we had no idea how much we would enjoy a few games with a full compliment of 5 people actively trying their best to win. The board filled up quickly, tempers occasionally flared as routes got blocked off, and only a few colorful phrases got thrown around. We had taken a game we knew we liked and had it turned into one of the best experiences we’d ever had.

You know it's a great game when Kansas City is a busier hub than New York.

You know it’s a great game when Kansas City is a busier hub than Pittsburgh.

You see, a board game is something so much more than a video game or just dinner and a chat. Having grown up on video games, understand I’m not knocking them but even playing a 4 player round of Mario Kart still has you interacting more with a controller than a person. Talk is limited to smack and there is no way to pause the action and tell a quick joke or short story without actually PAUSING the action.

And dinner and a conversation is just that, dinner and a conversation. Teaching my rather competitive mother how to play and then helping with tips, tricks, and strategies had us conversing closely in a way we hadn’t done since I was little. Because one thing God has given me lately is a renewed relationship with her, as we had grown apart letting life get in the way.

So my lovely fiancee and I didn’t really get to talk while we were there. This isn’t uncommon as my family is loud, and there were 7 adults and 6 various aged children in the small home. And my family is loud. And there were a lot of us. And we’re all very loud.

It was loud.

So as we left I was ready to share this electric charge I’d gotten from T2R with her. She had wanted this game and it is considered ‘hers’ so I was excited to tell her how much I’d enjoyed it. All I had to say was “man that was so much more fun with 5 people” and her face lit up. We’d shared an experience from across the table, without needing to talk to each other at all.

I felt closer to her than ever before and fell in love with her all over again.

God took a broken agnostic and showed him grace. He then humbled that new Christian and showed him what true joy is. He then gave me a woman to keep reminding me of that.

Go play with your friends and family. Tell some stories, have a few laughs, and just a few colorful phrases when someone takes the route you need. YOU NEEDED THAT ROUTE! You can't just have your passengers walking from Kansas City to OKC to catch the connecting train.

Go play with your friends and family. Tell some stories, have a few laughs, and just a few colorful phrases when someone takes the route you need. YOU NEEDED THAT ROUTE! You can’t just have your passengers walking from Kansas City to OKC to catch the connecting train.