Dear “Real” Christian Man,
I have no friends. I’m not even sure if I have any meaningful relationships. Now, I might be taking this to the extreme (there are people in my life that I consider to be my friends), but these people aren’t part of my everyday life. These aren’t people I talk to every day. These are people that are doing their own things and living life without me.
I come this conclusion often. I never get invited to go anywhere. I’m never invited to holiday parties, birthday parties, cook-outs, or anything like that. I remember the first Thanksgiving I spent alone in my entire life. I was still married, but my now former wife and I were not getting along. We hadn’t been for a long time. This particular Thanksgiving we were invited to my now former brother in law’s new girlfriends house for dinner. I’m a human being and a sinner and I definitely judged this new relationship. First, my brother in law was still married. Second, his children were devastated. My now former nieces and nephew always held a place in my heart. It was hard seeing and hearing them so upset. And their own father didn’t seem to give a shit about it. Third, I had a really hard time watching the way he just discarded his wife and kids. He left them. He moved into his new girlfriend’s big fancy house and left his wife and kids living in dump with barely enough money to eat. It disgusted me.
When my wife said we were going there for Thanksgiving, I said, Not me! I didn’t approve of it and wanted no part of it. Instead of backing me and being on my side, she went. With the kids. And there I was alone for the first time in my life on Thanksgiving. There wasn’t much food in the house so I went to the local Quick Check and bought myself a meatball sub for my Thanksgiving dinner. I sat and ate alone, watched football alone, and spent the day..alone.
I had this thought come to my mind. Maybe I’m the asshole. Maybe I’m the jerk. Who was I punishing anyway? My brother in law? No, I’m sure he was having a blast. My wife for going without me? She was spending the day with family while I was alone. My kids? Yes, I felt bad that I wasn’t with them, but they barely missed me. I heard all about the great time they had later in the night. But there I was…alone on Thanksgiving.
Since my divorce I’ve spent many holidays alone. Like I said, I have no friends and i don’t get any invites to go anywhere. It’s tough, but I make it through the days.
My “no friends” thing hit me square in the face again last weekend. The local high school was offering a min-football camp for kids from 2nd grade to 8th grade. My son loves football and he’s very good at it, so I signed him up for the camp. One of the many cool things about the camp was there were going to be some NFL players there for the kids to meet. One of the players was an idol of mine from my favorite team – the Dallas Cowboys. The “playmaker” Michael Irvin was going to be in attendance! I idolized this man in the early to mid 90’s. Once I found out he was going to be there, that gave me even more reason to sign my son up.
The day of the camp happened to be on my younger son’s birthday. My younger son, who also plays football, was not old enough to participate, but we did go to watch. It was a little boring at first, but once the NFL players showed up, it got more exciting. I’m sure my jaw was on the ground when I noticed The Playmaker had arrived! He still looks great considering he’s in his 50’s now. He seriously looked like he could suit up and play today. Michael gave a really encouraging speech, which was appropriately short considering the audience. Most of these kids probably never heard of Michael Irvin, or if they had it was because of the Adam Sandler movie remake of “The Longest Yard.” When I told my boys that the guy that played in the movie was the guy that would be at the camp, they were pretty excited. The morning of the camp, I made them watch some Playmaker highlights on Youtube. LOL.
Even though most of the kids had no idea who Michael Irvin was, many of the parents did. There were tons of parents in the crowd with their Dallas Cowboy jerseys just waiting and hoping for the opportunity to have something signed by Michael.
It was starting to get hot and my little guy was bored, so I asked one of the other dads I know pretty well, to keep an eye on my son while my little guy and I went to get some food. It was his birthday after all and I wanted to take him out to enjoy the day. We went to a local diner, then made a trip to Walmart, and spent some good alone time. When we headed back to the high school football field to watch and wait for the camp to be over, as we walked towards the field I see my son talking to Michael Irvin! I immediately starting taking pictures and got a great shot of my son shaking his hand. My boy had a huge smile on his face as Michael then rubbed his head and walked around to talk to some other kids.
I forgot to point out that unless you had a VIP pass, you were supposed to stay off the football field and behind the fence. My little guy and I did that and spent most of our day in the bleachers, in direct sunshine, watching the camp. I noticed then that on a small hill to my right, the area was almost completely shaded by trees. We would still be able to see the field from there, so we went over to get out of the sun. Plus, I forgot the sunscreen…bad daddy!
As we were watching the camp, I then saw The Playmaker walking toward the fence to say hello to a few of the fans that were standing there in their Cowboys gear. I wanted to see him to so my little guy and I walked toward where they were standing. Michael was being very gracious, signing a few things and taking some pictures. People were asking him some really odd questions..I could tell a few of the questions were making him uncomfortable. I was afraid he was going to walk away before I had a chance to take a picture, but it was then that he spotted my son. Now, my little guy is absolutely adorable. Ok, I am biased..but he is! He has this incredible blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a smile that will knock your socks off. I was holding him when Michael spotted us. Michael stopped talking to the other people in the crowd and said to me, “bring that little guy over here.” I did and Michael put his arms out and was holding my little guy! He was asking him his name, if he went to school and his age. I then told Michael that it was my son’s birthday. That really went over big and now he’s wishing my son a happy birthday saying all kinds of encouraging words to him and just being a good guy. I asked if I could take a picture of him holding my son. Truth is, I was taking the picture whether he said yes or not! He then gave my little man a big kiss on the top of his head and handed him back to me. It was so amazing I almost cried. What an awesome experience.
I took all kinds of pictures and I was so excited – and that’s when it hit me. I had no one to share my excitement with. I had no one I could call to tell them about what just happened. I had no one to text the pictures of both of my boys with Michael Irvin too. I had no one, and that reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m not sharing my life with anyone. It’s just me.
I’m not even sure why I just wrote all this. It certainly wasn’t because I want anyone to feel sorry for me or think I’m being a baby. I just wanted to get it out. That’s what this blog is all about – getting it out. “Real” Christian Men sometimes don’t have good relationships. Sometimes we’re all alone. Please don’t get all spiritual with me and say things like “God is always with you”. Blah blah blah. I know that and I certainly don’t take that for granted. But God doesn’t talk to me, do things with me, drink a beer or coffee with me, or hug me when I need it. I am honored that the God of this universe knows me, loves me, and has created a special place in Heaven just for me…but sometimes I think I just want someone here.
Hmmmm…maybe I am the asshole.
JD from NJ