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Z

Friday night was Six Flags with the family, as well as my son’s friend Z. His mother had passed away a week ago. The funeral was Saturday. We wanted to be able to take Z out so he could have the opportunity to have a good time before what will be one of the worst days of his life.

When we had a quiet moment, I mentioned to Z that my mom had also passed. That it’s okay to talk about it. One heartbreaking moment was hearing him cry out Mama, mama when he got on a scary ride. Z said his mother was in heaven. My son told him that his mom was right there. I was glad we were able to care for him.

My prayers go out to Z.

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Waiting

I haven’t heard from my job interview yet. But I’m remaining patient. Not anxious. Either way, I’ll still be in a good position.

If I end up staying with my job, I’ll be moving to the outpatient side of the hospital. I’ll have more autonomy. Working with individuals who are past the crisis stage. Beginning their road to recovery.

Today I had the opportunity to teach a WRAP class at the outpatient clinic. It felt natural. Encouraging people to utilize wellness tools. How to respond to triggers. Means and strategies on how to be in the driver’s seat of their recovery. It’s a class that I’m slated to keep teaching each month.

Not sure which way the Lord will have me go. But I have a good feeling regardless of what news I receive about the job.

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Daunting news

I spoke to my attorney from Georgia. Thankfully he is remarkably attentive, even after many years. He still remembered many of the details about my case. Who my judge was. The situation that brought upon the charges.

He essentially told me that the warrants will stay put unless I turn myself in. Once I turn myself in, I would be unlikely to get a bond. Especially considering I’ve been a fugitive of the state for over a decade. I could wait for months for a court date. Once my day in court comes, they could decide to sentence me however they see fit. They could drop the charges, give me probation, or sentence me to years in prison.

On the flip side, they are unlikely to extradite me to Georgia if I’m pulled over or arrested in any other state. Basically if I stay out of the state, I won’t go to jail. So, in one sense, nothing has changed. In another, my world feels like it’s gotten a lot smaller.

I’m unable to get a passport. Travel outside the country. I have family in Taiwan and Japan. My wife is a Mexican citizen. I have an international family. And yet, I’m forbidden to leave the country.

I tell myself that I haven’t left the United States in nearly fifteen years. It’s not like I have the ability to just up and go anywhere. But we have hopes and dreams. Travel the world. Visit family, some of which are getting older. Explore another side of life. Now, none of that is possible.

Unless I face my past. Face an unknown future. I’d have to step into a jail cell. Knowing that I might not leave for years.

Right now, it doesn’t make sense to turn myself in. After all, I’m on probation for four more years in Texas. It doesn’t do me any good to violate one state’s mandate to deal with the other.

I guess I have these four years to plan for that day. A lot can happen in four years. Who knows what my life will look like at that point. To be honest, it’s too daunting to think about.

And yet I know that God has a plan. I know if I give it to the Lord, He will work out his great purpose. He works in mysterious ways. I just have to trust Him.

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Another reminder

Another day. Another reminder. I had been waiting to hear back from a passport application. I sent it in nearly six months ago.

I finally found out what the hold up was. Apparently I’m not allowed to have a passport with outstanding felony warrants.

These warrants are old. The charges are from 2009. I had just graduated from Emory University. Had a major psychotic episode. Ended up in horrible situations and jail for months. Legal troubles that have haunted me for more than a decade.

These charges have kept me from jobs. Leasing apartments. Now it will prevent me from traveling outside the country. Not that I’m planning on an international vacation anytime soon. But there was discussion about traveling with my wife to Mexico if and when she has to go there for her immigration papers.

Just like yesterday’s news and events, today was another reminder. A reminder of my past. Of amends I still have to make. Of big choices and decisions that will require me to surrender to the Lord.

And I was just starting to feel more secure. Like things were only getting better. Obstacles dissolving. A clear path ahead. I guess the Lord had other plans.

Plans for me to keep turning to Him. Keep allowing him in all my affairs. Reminding me once again. That I don’t have it all together. That I can’t do it without Him. To trust.

Another reminder.

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Reminders

My wife texted me this morning. Got some devastating news. One of my son’s good friends mother passed away suddenly in a car crash.

Another reminder how short life is. One day she was here. Another gone. It was a sad feeling. Mostly for her young children.

The experience brought up a conversation with my wife. What would we do if something happened to my wife. What if I go manic. Who would care for our son? Talk of wills. Beneficiaries. A sense of fear. Anxiety.

I brought the conversation back to the Lord. The one who we put our trust in. Not in financial security. Trust funds. But the Lord of all. Who has carried us so far already.

We got another sobering reminder later in the evening. A wandering young man approached my wife at the grocery store. He was mumbling. Didn’t have a phone. Was a drug addict. Had no where to go.

My wife called me. Asked about resources. What she could do to help him. She was emotional. Felt awful for for him. She probably could see myself in him. Maybe brought flashbacks of when I was wondering the streets in a daze.

I told her that he would get the help when he was ready for it. Just like I did. And that her kindness and prayers meant more than she knew. Another reminder of her heart of gold. I am grateful to call her my wife.  

All of the events of the day only served to reinforce what I already knew. The need for more recovery. More faith. A sober mind. Diligence. For whatever reason God saw fit that I put my focus back on recovery.

When God sends reminders, I need to listen. I’m glad I am able to receive this message loud and clear.

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Where God leads

The weekend went great. I had a nice interview. I can definitely see myself in the role. While a part of will be sad to leave my current job and environment, the opportunity to be closer to my loved ones is well worth the sacrifice. Not sure if I’ll get the job, but I’m open to whatever the Lord has in store.

On Saturday we went to the park with church friends. I only knew about half of them. And not all that well. I think that was for the best perhaps. I was able to be cordial. Meet people. Be friendly. Catch up without having to disclose too much. Things were much less awkward than I anticipated. A hike, picnic, water balloon fight and piñata. We were too busy having fun to get into awkwardness.

Maybe this experience opens the door to spending more time with the church.  I’m open to it. After all, faith is the most important thing in my life and my family.

I’m looking forward to see where God leads me.

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Letting the dominoes fall

I had my phone interview today. It went really well. The job seems like something I can do. Something I would likely enjoy doing.

Connecting individuals with special needs to employers. Interviewing and finding out these needs. Meeting with prospective employers. Building relationships and bridges.

My in person interview I’ll be tomorrow. Yes, all of it is happening fast. I could possibly hear back about the job by the end of next week.

Something of this magnitude often takes months of planning. Somehow this is coming together in a few days. Depending on how tomorrow goes, I can start the process of transferring my probation. Researching and calling Oxford Houses in that area.

Each step is somewhat contingent on the next step. Like dominoes. One move could lead into the next. I may hit a snag here and there. Perhaps the background check will flag something. The Oxford openings close to the job and my family could dry up. I can always backtrack if needed. But I will allow the dominoes to fall one by one. Either way, I will go with the flow of life.

Still, fellowship is needed. Prayer. I’m learning that this is how major decisions should be made. Even minor ones. The more I include God, family, and my support group, the better. My life isn’t lived on an island. When all parties are in sync, there is harmony. Peace.

So far this has been the case.

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Meeting halfway

Things were slow again today at work. I had several hours on my hands. I ended up searching for jobs. Near where my wife and son live.

There were a couple of jobs at a local mental health clinic in a nearby city. Job coach and job developer for people with intellectual development issues. I was qualified based on the requirement on the posting. I ended up applying on a whim. Not really expecting much development.

I got an email an hour later. They wanted to schedule a phone interview. Tomorrow. I was taken aback by the rapid response. Wasn’t prepared for things to move this fast.

I felt bad because I hadn’t run things by my wife. We are a team after all. When we finally got to talk, she wasn’t enthused. She felt it was too rushed. She definitely wasn’t ready for me to come back home.

I understand. Once again, she has earned the right to take her time. I’ve also learned the value of patience. Compromise.

One compromise that I offered was moving into an Oxford House closer to where they are. Moving into a recovery community. Beginning a new job. But all closer to my preferred destination. Meeting halfway.

It was an idea. A thought. Something to pray about. Discuss. There are alot if things that need to happen before moving back home. But this could be a good midway point. Creating the meaningful recovery connections in the area. Doing so prior to moving back. It could help to facilitate things.

Like with everything prayer is the answer. A good idea is just that. An idea. Without prayer and the Lord’s confirmation, there is only confusion. Doubt. Anxiety.

Meeting halfway may be a good way to get closer to my family. But to get there I’ll have to meet the Lord all along the way.

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The perfect response

My wife told me she was spending time with some of the people from the church on Saturday. I mentioned that I was off that morning from work. I didn’t mean to invite myself. But she asked if I’d like to go.

I think she didn’t think it through all the way. What it would be like. Me with all the people I used to associate with. Except now I’d be a fish out of water. Awkwardness. What to say about the past. Do we mention anything at all?

I told her that we could pray about it. Go the way of peace. I actually talked to my therapist about it. Was able to process my thoughts. I’ve learned to push aside my ego in this situation. My wife deserves to take her time. She’s earned that right after sticking through all my shenanigans.

I tried calling her later in the evening. Texting. No reply. She finally messaged me later at night. She wasn’t feeling good. Overwhelmed. Unhappy. She didn’t want to talk.

Back in the day I would’ve forced a conversation. Tried to convince her to talk to me. But today I knew to give her space. Once again, she’s earned that right.

Today I know that my ability to change situations is limited. Sometimes things need time to heal. I can’t simply talk my way into or out if things. Why try? Therefore my response was the same as earlier. Pray.

The perfect response.

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A concert

Got to do something different today. Go to a concert. A big one. Eric Clapton. My coworker was giving away the tickets. Had asked all of his family, friends, everyone in the office. No one could or would go. $150 tickets. Good seats.

Ashamed to say I didn’t know too much of his music. I recognized a couple of tunes. But it was an enjoyable experience. The ambiance. The talented musicians. Artists at the top of their field displaying their craft. It was worth the few hours spent.

Kind of like going to DC. I got the opportunity to do something wonderful. I feel very grateful. But couldn’t stop the feeling that my other half was missing. My wife. My family. I had asked her to come but it was too long of a drive.

Next time. There will be more chances to enjoy my family. For now, I’ll enjoy this temporary situation. The ability to go to a fancy concert on a whim. Might’ve been a once in a lifetime event. Good times.