Week to week I never know where I'm going to get my content to write for this blog. I never know what emotion will force my fingers to stab at the letters across my keyboard. The deeper the thought the faster they flow, hovering over the keys waiting for my brain to command which words to formulate. If my concentration is on point, it's perpetually effortless, but when I'm racing against the imaginary clock in my head I type and erase as if I'm stuttering.
This past Saturday we had a men's ministry meeting at my pastor's house. I had no idea I would get so much from it, besides the good food and fellowship. One thing that stuck with me is a dream my dad shared. The premise was to stop looking in the rearview because we will miss the things in front of us as well as it distracts us from the direction we're headed. If we're looking at the mirror or the camera mounted on the dash of newer addition cars, we're liable to swerve, hit a tree, the car in front of us, or drive off a bridge.
Either way, the only direction we should be focused on is right in front of us. I've struggled with this for the past five years, and if I'm being honest with myself, probably a lot longer than that. My inability to stay focused on what's ahead has been the most daunting ever since Amelia was born. The situation that followed is worse than anything I've been through or will ever go through, I'm not sure I could live through the day it gets topped.
The meeting and the dream were right on time as my collegiate and professional failures, the collapse in my aspirations of the family I envisioned, and the carrot of fatherhood dangled while I run like a hamster on a wheel. Although fixing my focus isn't a new ideology to me, it's still as pressing as it's ever been. As I write this, I'm reminded of the consequences in my inability to let go, the alopecia, the depression, the loss of self and passion.
Why is it so hard to neglect the mirror that focuses on the past? Why is it so hard to forgive? To forget? To rid this feeling of shame and regret that permeates my life without remorse. So ashamed to admit that this is the life that I chose for my daughters, in reality, at the end of the day, I'm the one at fault for not making better decisions. On episode 83 of my podcast, I stated that maybe the reason it's so hard to move forward is because we have yet to forgive ourselves.
Looking at the situation is only a reflection of ourselves, and the cracks in the mirror slowly continue to spread like a derisive web.
To make matters more egregious, I'm unsure of how Amelia will react to me this upcoming weekend. What if she doesn't want to come back to NC with me? My anxiety has been overwhelming as I've pondered the multitude of scenarios that could possibly ensue. I've always wanted nothing more than to be a father to my daughters, I just want them to love me the same way I love them. I have a request of my oldest mom to meet at a later time, but I can't imagine that going well.
As I continued to listen the voices of seasoned men, the feeling of unworthiness weighed heavily on me. Unsure why God would want anything to do with someone like me. I told myself that I would never go back to my old ways, especially after everything God has done for me, but I still find myself slipping.
I know a lot of things, but the application of this knowledge is another animal. I know that I'm victorious with the Father, but all I remember are my losses. I know that there is grace, but I live in condemnation. I know that my daughters love me, but all I see is the times that they seemingly don't want me. I know that I'm not perfect, but perfection is all the I seek. I know I'm supposed to keep my eyes on the road, to think about the next play, but camera at the rear holds my attention.
Reminding me of what I should be, where I could've been, and what I may never become.
I just learned that my Facebook has been hacked and it won't let me post on my Elliott Quinton page and they're threatening to dismantle my Quinton Marshall page. All I want to do is tell my side of the story, to let other fathers express their love for their children and frustrations ensuring that I'm not alone. As a single father I feel misused, misunderstood, underestimated, and undervalued. I hope one day I reap the rewards of my blog, podcast, and my writings. Not so much monetarily but more the everlasting love of my children.
Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.