Living With Chronic Pain

She is a hero.

Every day she is in continuous, nagging, dull, sharp, debilitating, depressing physical pain. At specific places…and all over. Some days are worse than others. Sometimes it comes in waves, the ebbs bringing some relief only to be replaced by the crashing of the flows. It’s her body that pains her so much.

In the midst of all that, she enjoys life, her children, her granddaughter, and me.

She is a hero.

Its called living with chronic pain.

It’s not just her body that hurts, her mind hurts. Memories, both good and bad, are the source of pain at times. Her heart hurts. Hopes and dreams that have been destroyed are the source of pain, as well. At times, I’m sure my presence causes her pain.

In the midst of all THAT, she still enjoys her life.

Its called living with chronic pain.

And she is heroic in how she deals with it all.

I, also, live in chronic pain. But my pain is not the same as her pain.

My pain comes from broken promises and vows, undervalued relationships, weakness in the face of temptation, damaged family and friends, and a lost life calling. And, from knowing I have caused so much of her pain. Among other things. Some never to be shared here. Or anywhere.

In spite of all that, I find joy in life.

Its called living with chronic pain.

But, it’s not heroic. I’m not much of a hero to anyone. Not sure that’s what I would really want, anyway. I’m not asking for anyone’s worship or sympathy.

I suppose I just wanted to say it.

It hurts.

-Trevor

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iRemain

A husband who gives all he has to show his loving wife just how much he loves, cherishes, and respects her.

A man who works tirelessly to learn more, embrace new challenges, take on the imperfect in order to be given the chance at higher positions for the good of those who depend on him.

A guy who believes in God and believes that He loves him. But, sometimes he feels like he is the black sheep of the family that no one wants to talk about, unless it is to simply point out all negative things.

A man who, in spite of his portrayed confidence, keeps deeply hidden a nearly overwhelming sense of self-doubt.

A guy who breathes and sees behind this mask known as “Trevor.”

A person who in some ways is much more transparent than ever before, and more secluded than ever in other ways.

A guy who is intelligent, funny, personable, caring, selfless, and determined.

And yet…

Sorrow swallows my memories

Loneliness devours my peace

Depression taints my dreams

Hopelessness envelopes my passions

Countless flaws seemingly outnumber attributes

Still, I will…

Love

Live

Give

Dream

In the cocoon, in my own way, in His time…

I remain.

-Trevor

When Inadequcy Drives

Lots of things drive us. Success, money, prestige, position, authority, power, the past, present, and future. These drivers tend to steer our thoughts, moods, and ability to act in ways that we want to.

One driver that negatively impacts my sense of self-worth and mood at any given time are all my inadequacies. Especially in my relationship with my wife. These thoughts of inadequacy steer me toward feelings that range from deep embarrassment to extreme self loathing, and include great sorrow for her pain.

I can’t let those thoughts and feelings dictate my directions and decisions. I must be in control of all of my faculties…both body and mind.

It is kind of like an MMA match inside my being. My will pitted against the will of my opponent.

I must win.

At all costs.

Mind over matter.

I must be in control, not my inadequacies or any of the other things I listed above.

In control. Honestly. Transparently. Actively.

I drive.

-Trevor

The Beautiful Mind Effect

It’s still there.

I’m loving my wife just a fully and faithfully as I know how. I’m avoiding anything and everything possible that would derail my integrity and destroy our relationship. Our peace, our laughter, our enjoyment, our intimacy is paramount to me. But in spite of all that awesome life I have with her…

It’s still there.

I’m trying my best to show my children that I love their mother and am deeply committed to our marriage. It is my hope that they will see and realize that I haven’t given up on us, on them, or on a happy future. But in spite of that…

It’s still there.

My mental state is one of sustained peace like none than I have experienced in a long time. My job situation is more stable, Our living arrangement is more agreeable. I’ve embraced who I am and what it takes to be contented with this crazy life that is mine. And it spite of that…

It’s still there.

My faith journey is one that is most interesting. I’ve come to believe that much of what I used to call my faith is simply organizational junk and mythical religiosity. I’m still sorting through many things, but I’ve stripped myself down to the bare bones of the basic tenets of the Christian faith. There are WAY more “non essentials” now in my faith than there used to be. But, in spite of all that…

It’s still there.

For as long as my memory goes back…the same now as at age 7 or 8…it’s still there.

The sight of a cute/handsome/hot guy catches my attention…and my mind wants to take me for a ride.

Ummm…<gulp>…focus!!

I’m calling it “The Beautiful Mind Effect”.

A Beautiful Mind is an awesome movie directed by Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, and Jennifer Connelly. It is an absolutely engrossing depiction of the true life of Dr. John Nash, Princeton Mathematics Professor and Nobel Prize Winner, who happened to be a paranoid schizophrenic. In the final moments of the movie, Nash (portrayed by Crowe), in response to an inquiry of a colleague regarding his condition, said “I still see things that are not here. I just choose not to acknowledge them. Like a diet of the mind, I just choose not to indulge certain appetites; like my appetite for patterns; perhaps my appetite to imagine and to dream.”

Those really attractive guys that pass before my eyes are there. Really there…in flesh and blood. That’s the main difference between me and Nash. However, I am learning that my mind, like his, must be on a perpetual diet, I must choose not to indulge those “certain appetites.”

And I just want you to know how very difficult that is.

Very.

At times, it’s a hellish experience.

Because…my attraction to those guys…

Is still there.

– Trevor

Hero

I imagine that most men want to be someone’s hero…most humanity really. Not a tights and cape wearing version of a hero, but to be someone who others can look up to and admire.

I want to be that hero to someone. I think that I once was, but maybe not so much lately. In many ways, my life these days is made up of reminders of my terrible moral failure and the near destruction of my family. But, in spite of all that, maybe – just maybe – there are some reasons I can be someone’s hero.

My faith. I’m a Christian. That doesn’t mean that I’m perfect…far from it, in fact. It simply means that I live my life with the understanding that Jesus Christ is more knowledgeable and powerful than me, and I have committed my life to following a lifestyle that reflects His leadership in my life. That may not seem so heroic to some, but surrendering one’s life to a higher power takes great courage.

My marriage. All human relationships offer their own set of challenges. Marriage is a complicated journey. My marriage, a mixed-orientation marriage (I am gay, my wife is straight), is infinitely more complicated. Some may discount the effort required to grow and maintain a healthy mixed-orientation mrriage, but I can assure you that it is heroic.

My sexuality. As I stated above, I’m gay. I’m in a fully committed marriage with an awesome loving, kind, and gracious woman. I love her more than life itself. In the midst of that, it takes the strength of a super hero to stay sexually focused on my commitment to her, instead of going the way of my physical impulses and desires.

My work. I work two jobs, 65 hours per week. I’ve always done all it takes to provide for my family. My drive to excel has always highly motivated me – good is not good enough. Lots of other people work hard like me, and I can tell you, it takes heroic energy and drive to keep up that pace week in and week out.

So, maybe someday in some way I will once again be able to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

Until then, my training continues.

– Trevor

Eye to Eye

Seems to me, if you want to know the real me, look me in the eye.

Want to hear my backstory…my eyes speak volumns.

Want to learn of my talents, skills, and abilities…they sparkle in my eyes.

Want to begin to understand my passions and calling…my eyes reflect the needs.

Want to unlock my motivations and drives…my eyes hold the key.

Want to embrace my fears and tears…begin in my eyes.

Want to experience my joys and exuberation…discover them in my eyes.

I believe that no “heart to heart” understanding will ever exist between two humans, especially those who may have diametrically opposing points of view, without beginning with eye-to-eye interaction. For, in some important ways, being eye to eye isn’t about agreeing, but simply learning.

First, it requires close physical proximity. No “virtual” connection behind which we can hide or remain anonymous, at least to some degree.

Second, it acknowledges that the other side of the interaction is actually a human being. Not a theory, not a belief, not a movement, not a sin. A living, breathing human being.

Third, if we are serious about true engagement and learning, then it will require that we exercise major discipline. The act of simply keeping our mouths from spouting off along with listening closely are major hurdles for many.

Fourth, it facilitates clarification. The back and forth of conversational flow happens best in this type of setting while looking in another’s eyes.

Most importantly, the eyes are the gatekeepers of the heart. In the deepest ways and on the most important issues of life, we don’t enter into one another’s hearts unless we first look into each other’s eyes.

I am a man…a husband…a father…a grandpa…a Christian…gay…in a mixed oriented marriage…chaste.

But as complicated as all that is, there is much more to me. But, you will never know unless we get…

Eye to eye.

-Trevor

Love In The Wintertime

As you can imagine (or maybe you can’t, so I’ll fill you in), my marriage is a challenge. Not because of my wife. Oh, no! She is the most loving, gracious, kind, and patient person I have ever met. Bar none!!

No, my marriage is a challenge because it’s mixed…mixed-orientation, that is. I’m gay, my wife is straight. That causes all kinds of challenges. My personal journey as a gay christian man who is in a heterosexual marriage is what this blog is all about…telling my, and our, story. (If this is your first visit, take some time and read through my “wanderings”…you will begin to catch a vision of our journey).

I’ve been thinking about our marriage the last few days. And the other night at work I started crying when a song came to my mind and I started singing it.

It goes like this…

“Some say love it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed”

“Some say love it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love it is a flower
And you it’s only seed”

“It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It’s the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance”

“It’s the one who won’t be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul afraid of dyin’
That never learns to live”

“When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong”

“Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose”
(The Rose, Bette Midler)

My wife is a lover. She loves me more than I can ever deserve. She has continued to take a chance on me, because she loves me so much. And even though she has stared the death of her dreams in the face, I believe that she is also discovering life in the midst of it all.

And even though Spring is coming to bloom all around us, in some ways our marriage is still in a winter season. Not dead. Not hopeless. Not desperate. No…far from it!

Because, winter does not equate to lifelessness.

Winter is just the prelude to new, colorful, bountiful, and beautiful life. It is the dress rehearsal. It is the final fitting.

The seed of a most awesome thing is soaking in God’s grace, mercy, and love. And…also soaking in our love for each other. That seed will one day break the surface of the soil of our life together, and will grow and bloom into something more wonderful than we can ever imagine.

Spring is coming.

-Trevor