Back To The Starting Line

The Cheesecake Factory, our first date. I remember it like it was yesterday, what you wore, most of what we talked about it, your laugh, your smile, your innocence.

You asked if you could order a Bud Light with your salad. I smiled and thought it was the cutest thing I’d ever heard. I ordered the Louisiana Chicken Pasta with a Mich Ultra. I was never a fan of Bud Light.

We’ve only been back once in the last nineteen years since then. We were going through our first rough patch and I thought it would help to remember.

It didn’t go well.

But we survived, we healed.

At least I felt as if we did.

Now, I am sitting across from you for the third time at this restaurant. If my memory serves me well, this may be the exact table we sat at. If it’s not, it’s pretty close.

I brought us back here, back to the starting line, to see if we can get a new start. Remember why, how, when we fell in love.

I’m not ready to cross the finish line yet.

But here we are.

You order an Angry Orchard , without asking. You started drinking cider years ago when you went gluten free. I still order the Louisiana Chicken Pasta. I know, so many choices but I like what I like. But I order an IPA.

I guess we all change in our own ways.

We both kind of half smile at each other. It feels like we both are afraid to speak first.

How did we get here?

Slowly the words come but the conversation doesn’t flow like it did all those years ago. Every word seems like a struggle. Both of us are afraid to say the wrong thing so we don’t say much at all.

I try to say something funny. But you don’t laugh. Man, how I miss the sound of your laugh. Right now, it would light up my world just to see you smile. But you don’t.

I reach across the table and touch your hand. You start to pull away but you leave it there. But there’s no feeling there. No spark. No emotion.

Damn this sucks.

We eat in silence but there are so many words in my head.

How did we get here? Can this be fixed? What did I do? What did I not do? Is it worth fixing? Why can’t we talk like we used to? Why’s it so hard to tear down these walls we built? Why can’t we get back to where we were all those years ago, in this same restaurant, when we fell in love? Love, what is it, does it even exist? What happened to that light in your eyes? When did you know it was over? When did I quit trying? How did we lose it all? Why can’t we find something to connect us again?

I can’t turn my mind off. And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I think too much instead of just being me, letting it flow.

Maybe it’s as simple as you don’t love me anymore.

Maybe that’s all there is too understand.

We finish our meals and both look at each other , another half smile.

And I know. In my heart I know.

Back here at the starting line, we’ve crossed the finish line.

Say Something by A Great Big World –

Over For You by Morgan Evans –

Leave Me Again by Kelsea Ballerini –

Hard Season by Matthew West-

Just Say I’m Sorry by Pink/Chris Stapleton-

The Pumpkin Patch

Find Adirondack Area Pumpkin Patches & Corn Mazes

“Yeah, today we are going to the pumpkin patch,” said my little girl. “I can’t wait to pick out the perfect pumpkin.”

We arrived at the pumpkin patch at one o’clock. My daughter excitedly got out of the car and ran over to the pumpkins. I couldn’t help but to smile at her excitement. It was contagious.

“Which one can I get daddy?” She jumped up and down. “What about this one, it’s nice and round. Or this one, it has a long, green stem and is also round, like a basketball.”

It Begins With a Perfect Pumpkin | THE CAVENDER DIARY

“You can get whatever one you want. Let me know when you find one. In the meantime, I’ll look for the one I want and mommy will look for the one she wants,” I replied.

It wasn’t but a few minutes when she yelled out that she found the one she wants. We put it in the wagon, along with the one I picked out, as well as her mom’s pumpkin.

My daughter noticed the ones we picked out and giggled. “Daddy, yours has bumps all over it and it’s crooked. Mommy, yours isn’t even a pumpkin. It’s more like pieces of a pumpkin. Whatever will you do with it?”

Reasons For Warty Pumpkins – Why Do Some Pumpkins Have Bumps | Planting  pumpkins, Pumpkin, Growing pumpkins

We told her it will be a surprise and she will see tonight after we carve them.

We arrived home and unloaded the pumpkins. We put newspaper down on top of the kitchen table and we started to carve them.

We started with our daughter’s first. We cut the top off around the stem and the most terrible smell came out. Even though it was beautiful and perfect on the outside, it was rotten on the inside.

We then started to carve mine. We cut the stem off and the most wonderful, sweet smell came out of the pumpkin.

I couldn’t help myself to teach my daughter a life lesson.

“People are a lot like these pumpkins. What looks beautiful on the outside could be really rotten on the inside. And I don’t always mean rotten in a mean way. They could look like they have it all together, but really they are sad and hurting inside. That is why you really have to get to know people, not for how they look on the outside, but for what is on the inside. Then, when you get to know them, you really have to try to know how to help them when they are hurting inside.”

“Then, look at my pumpkin. You laughed at it because it was not perfect on the outside. It has bumps and scratches and is a little bit crooked but on the inside, it is so beautiful. That is why you have to love everyone and get to know everyone. You never know who is the nicest, kindest, most wonderful person until you get to know them. Don’t not like someone because of the way they look.”

My daughter said she thinks she understands, but then she said, “What about mommy’s. It’s all in pieces.”

385 Broken Pumpkin Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Then we sat and watched mom do what only moms can do. She put that pumpkin back together, piece by piece. She wrapped it in tape and love. It was the most beautiful mess of a pumpkin you could have ever seen.

“So what about mommy’s pumpkin. It looks like a puzzle, but not all the pieces are there.”

“Let’s have mommy explain it to us,” I said.

Then my wife, my daughter’s mom spoke with the wisdom that I love her for.

“Well, you see this pumpkin was broken. We don’t know why it was broken, maybe other pumpkins picked on it, or maybe someone kicked it or dropped it, or maybe the pumpkin did something to itself that made it this way. We don’t know. But what we do know is that with a little love and kindness, that the most broken people are loved and can give off the brightest light when they are given the chance. God loves all of us, the beautiful ones, the rotten ones, and especially the broken ones.”

We then put our candles in each of our pumpkins and we all lost our breath when we saw the light shining through all the broken pieces of my wife’s pumpkin.

Our daughter then said, “wow, the light from the broken one shines the brightest. It is so beautiful.”

We Are All Broken. That's How the Light Gets In – Quote Investigator

Mended by Matthew West-

Beautifully Broken by Plumb –

The Wound Is Where The Light Gets In by Jason Gray –

Not Broken Anymore


As I was getting my thoughts together to write this and  I  asked myself this question. Was I ever really broken?  Sure, I have a few dents in my fender and some scratches in my paint but was I broken. I think I have felt like I was, many times. Is there a difference between being knocked down and being broken? Is it all just a matter of how you think about it?

This is how, and why, I think I am broken. Or at least why I have broken pieces.

I am broken because I have no close friends. I take all responsibility for this because I don’t reach out to anyone. I don’t reach out to my family enough so don’t take it personal. Sometimes I envy people that have a lot of friends but then I hear them complain how they are always having something to do and never have time to relax. Then I say I don’t know how anyone has time. Maybe I am selfish and just want my time to be my time. I would rather spend my days and nights off with myself or my family. I find it hard to stay in touch with people on Facebook let alone take the time to do something with them. But, with that being said, I also miss having a couple close friends I could talk to about anything. I know I have to take the time to invest in that and I don’t have the answers on how to do that without giving up something else. Maybe it comes down to my lack of trust. Maybe I am just not that interesting of a person for others to take their time to get to know me.

I am broken because my marriage isn’t where I want it to be.  Well, whose is right? We all wish we had a better marriage. Again, this falls mostly on me.  I am not a talker. I will give all the time I can but I am just not an open book. Too many thoughts bouncing around in my head. Trust issues from the past. Every time I think of doing something to make our marriage better I get sucked into what’s the point. We can talk about the issues and it gets better for a few then we find us back where we were. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife and don’t want to be anywhere else and our marriage is good, it’s just not where I think it should be. Maybe my expectations are too high. Maybe I don’t give enough. Maybe I think it’s more about me than her. A lot of maybes but how can I get from here to there. I know what to do, what’s holding me back?

I am broken because I am not emotional.  Miss the game winning shot, make the game winning shot, I have the same emotions. At times I think if everyone close to me were taken out of my life that I would feel nothing. Life goes on. Would I really feel that way if it happened? Beats me. At times I think I could live on a deserted island with just me and some fruit trees and I would be okay. Oh yeah, don’t forget to give me a volleyball so I have someone to talk to when I get tired of talking to myself. But that’s not really a problem because I don’t talk. I doubt I would talk to the volleyball.

I am broken because I don’t keep in touch with my family. Yeah I know, life is short and it can be ripped away and say what you have to say today because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed but…. I don’t call home to talk to mom enough. I barely have any contact with my brother. I should reach out to my daughters who are not at home anymore more. Yep, these are  on me also.

So am I broken? I know what is wrong. 99% of it is all me so maybe I am not broken. How many people are out there that don’t know they are the problem. How many people are out there that are searching for who they are. I know who I am . I have come to understand who I am and where I want to be. I just have to take the steps to fix me. I would say maybe I am not broken, maybe I just have broken pieces.

They say I am made in God’s image. God must be messed up. Even God disappeared for many years. People were constantly asking God where are you? Maybe He is an introvert also. Or just likes to get away by Himself and take a look at what He has made. Does He still think it is all good?

I know God isn’t messed up. I know He loves me and accepts me for who I am. I know I am made in His image. I know this world has made me the way I am. Not God. I know He will take my broken pieces and put them together. I know it takes effort on my part. God doesn’t make mistakes. I know where I am and where I need to go. With God’s help I will get there. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow but one day… one day it will all click. I am not sad or mad or any of that. I just know I have something that needs to be fixed.

I know I have family that loves me. I know I have friends that think about me and pray for me. I know God loves me. You can take me off your worry list. I will be okay. I know I have it a lot better than most. I know through the pain and the rain there will be a joy and the sun one day. I know things are never as bad as they seem. I know to put me back together again I just need to take one step at a time until all the broken pieces are fixed and I am not broken anymore. I have broken pieces but I am not broken. I am whole in the hands of the one who made me.

Not Broken Anymore by Blue October – 

The Broken by 3 Doors Down – 

Tell Your Heart To Beat Again by Danny Gokey- 

Take Us Back  by Mavis Staples – 

Broken Places by Plumb – 

Fix Me by Icon For Hire – 

Scars by Jonny Diaz – 

The Broken Beautiful by Ellie Holcomb – 

Broken & Beautiful by Mark Schultz – 

The Broken by Bebo Norman – 

All The Broken Pieces by Matthew West – 

We Are The Broken by Seventh Day Slumber –