The Light of Day

So, I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was good!  I spent mine laid out on my den floor with the stomach flu and bronchitis.  Still, it was a good time because I got to catch up on those important hours of sleep!  Still trying to recover though… ANYWAY…

I’m going to get all mushy for this one.  I’m not necessarily a fan of Jimmy Fallon but I saw this video on Facebook the other day about how his mother had passed.  I know that death is an inevitable part of life but these types of things hit pretty close to home for me.

I didn’t have the luxury of having a mom in the house.  Don’t worry.  It wasn’t because she was a drug addict or she had a streak of infidelity and ran off with another man.  I absolutely feel for the kids who get left in the wind on the fundamental premise that their parents didn’t want them.  I can personally vouch that we can be a handful and that you want to strangle us sometimes but that is either here nor there…

My mother died of ovarian cancer when I was a baby.  She didn’t get the chance to see me graduate, my first band concert, senior night during marching season, or any other of my personal highlights.  Some would argue that she was there in spirit but she wasn’t there in the way that I desperately needed her to be.

I don’t even have many memories of her.  Nothing but a vague impression and stories that my old man would tell… which is really the heart of this entry.  Not so much the fact that she is gone but the memories of her.  Or, even the memories of family and friends gone by that we find ourselves longing for in times of trial.  In those things we find life… we find meaning in the struggles, the ups and downs, the bitter sting of defeat and the exaltation of victory.

We search, everyday, for something tangible to make memories stand out and make them special.  Sometimes it’s who we are with, where we are, or even what we are doing.  But, it’s always something tangible… always something on which we can lay or hands.  Otherwise, it’s just an empty gesture that we engage in daily and take for granted.

It isn’t very often that we come face to face with the element that gives life.  It isn’t such a thing that we can buy in a store or find in our friends because we can’t lay hands on what makes one instance much more memorable than any others.  As people, we have the tendency to place value on things which we can place our hands and as a result, we find ourselves lacking something that we can determine as “real.”  Our interests lie in the results and not necessarily the means.

BUT…

There are times when we do come face to face with life and each time is a unique opportunity to make something special… to make memories that bring life back to us instead of it being a monument of days passed like we do now. 

We don’t know with whom, when, or where we may find this elusive thing but all of us know it when we recognize its presence and importance as a companion.

Or, in my personal instance, a storyteller and the path I’ve been been on has been long, tedious, and tiresome.

Occasionally, I’ll get my hand squeezed three times and it’s made it known that I’m in good company and know that I’m in the right place. 

Just like today… 

-Kevin

P.S:  Bumblebee can tell the story much better than I ever could and he actually inspired most of this.  Along with Mr. Fallon and Taylor Swift’s song “New Year’s Day.”

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10.11.2017 – Learning Curve

Here we go!

Shout out to my friend, Keegan F., for giving me one to lead off with for you readers.

Or, economics, government, and English for that matter. For the record, I failed English three times.

To say that I didn’t care was a massive understatement.

I don’t care what they would have said, I was bad.

There is no worst feeling than being told that you’re not wanted.
Some for the better. Some for the worse.

One experience that is unique and challenging, to be certain.


I’ve grown to appreciate these moments more and more.

Contact information is at the bottom of the page!

Twenty Minutes

When I woke up today, the last thing I honestly wanted to do was reflect on points in my life that had come and gone.  However, I was reminded by an awesome colleague and even better friend of this:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” -Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)

 

It really resonated with me because of something my driving instructor at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas said to me.  He said that he wouldn’t have been telling me I was doing good things if I hadn’t been.  For a long time, people telling me I had been doing things well just to be nice.  Brandon, my instructor, also said that he had been around way too long to tell people constructive things for the sake of being constructive.  Looking back at it all now, it really makes me wonder just when I had been doing good things or just being told I was doing good things.  However, that is something for another day.

 

What I really wanted to get off my chest is that we seem to only really encourage or impart words of affirmation only when we’re on the journey.  We feel that the need to encourage one another only has punch when we’re about to do something important, risky, or unknown to us.  I can agree that those three instances can be critical when it comes to being encouraging.  However, it is disheartening to see it practically in only those three instances.

“For the most part, we have to work on small things right now.  So, if we’re having to work on small things after six laps, that’s pretty good.  It’s a car you don’t know.  It’s a track you don’t know.  It’s a driving style you don’t know.  After six laps of doing pretty good… getting to where you’re working on small things, I think that’s pretty good, right?” -Brandon, my instructor

Halfway into the experience and to have this spoken to me by an experienced driver was… for lack of a better way to put it, encouraging!  Here I am… no competitive racing skills or experience under my belt and just there for the sake of getting to drive a $120,000 sports car… to be told, by an experienced driver, that is what I would need to work on to progress?  That’s what we all want!  We want to be naturally in a position to have to make subtle adjustments instead of these whopping, life changing ones.  All too often, we take those whopping ones for granted because we don’t necessarily appreciate the journey we took to get there.

As I’ve gotten a little older since then, I’ve learned to really enjoy not abiding in being stationary.  Just because I haven’t left Canyon, USA doesn’t mean that I’m stationary.  There’s always a place to go or a thing to do wherever you are.  Lately, I’ve been exploring my faith and what it means to me.  I’ve been exploring my talent for composition and creativity.  I’ve been lots of places that a car could never take me.  But, for those twenty minutes in that Nissan GT-R, I found that a car could take me places that I wouldn’t have ever considered otherwise: a place that showed that encouragement is a journey all its own and not merely just a stop along whatever path you happen yourself to be.

 

So, as I find myself sitting here reminiscing about the things I have experienced and the things yet to come, I am encouraged.  Because at some point, somewhere down the line, there either has been or will be a Brandon telling me that regardless of what point I exist in, I have done good things and those little things will resolve themselves with understanding and application.  It’s kind of a shame that at first, I didn’t believe him.

 

Now, I do.  Wherever you are, I pray that you’re doing well and that the same drive and passion for racing and instruction serves you in areas of life that extend far beyond the track.

I can still hear “Turn now!  Brake now!  Push through the apex!  Go, go, go!!!!” in my head.  A lot better now because I can appreciate what it means to be encouraged through proper guidance.  Wherever you are, I pray that you’re doing well and that the same drive and passion for racing and instruction continues to serve you in areas of life that extend far beyond the track.

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-Kevin

P.S:  Thanks, JP!  As one racing fan to another, “Boogity!  Boogity!  Boogity!”

 

Better Place

Anybody who knows me worth a damn these days know I’ve had two major issues that I’ve been having problems resolving:  Getting older and feeling guilty.  The getting older part is obvious but the feeling guilty part… not so much.

 

It’s been almost three years since one of the most human guys I’ve ever met passed away and I still haven’t gotten over the shock of it all, really.  There isn’t a day that goes by where something is said or done that doesn’t remind me of him.  Because of it, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel guilty.

 

It wasn’t his time.  Bottom line.  It.  Was.  Not.  His.  Time.

I don’t care what anybody says.  There’s just no way I can accept that conclusion.

 

Sure, close to three years have come and gone.  There isn’t much I can do about it now, right?  I mean… I see his parents and friends post pictures on Facebook and wonder just what experiences he doesn’t get to be apart of because he’s gone.  It makes me sad.  It makes me sad for them because I know what that absence feels like.  I feel it every single day… and then the guilt sets in.  Not because he’s gone… not because I don’t wonder about those things myself as it pertains to the relevance in my own life… but because the one thing that makes it all what it is… I wonder if it will even be there when that moment arrives.

 

Since you’ve been gone, it’s been a wild goose chase trying to hunt you down.  It’s been tumultuous, at best, trying to keep you around.  It’s been an uphill battle fighting to grow an environment that could let you thrive and flourish.

 

When you left, you took my heart with you.  I desperately wanted it to be me.  I didn’t want to be here.  To this day, there’s a pretty big part of me that still doesn’t.  But, yet… here I am… and here, you are not.  I have to accept that and I have to move forward with that realization.

 

But, if there is one positive thing that I can take from you leaving… it’s this:  There is an awful lot of you around.  I see you everywhere.  A witty remark… a squirrel running up a tree… and… close friends speaking to me like you did that one night…

 

I’ve been assured time and time again that there wasn’t anything I could do or that it isn’t my fault… and maybe they’re right… but it doesn’t change that I really am guilty.  I’m guilty of being heartless.  I’m guilty of not taking care of it when I did have it.  I’m guilty for letting it run away and more to the point… wishing it would go away… and hoping it wouldn’t come back.

 

There’s no doubt in my mind that you’re far better off where you are than you ever could have been here.

 

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve struggled with the idea of actually getting older.  Especially considering that I am firm in my belief that I shouldn’t even be here.  But, since I am, I kinda have to be able to look at myself in the mirror everyday and come up with a good reason as to why I should drag myself around like I do.

 

My world, along with so many others, is far darker and colder because the affect you had on it has been long absent…

 

However, my heart was in a better place because when you took it, you gave so many pieces to other people who could take care of it far better than I ever could have on my own.  Who, in turn, saw the opportunity to return it back to me with a kindness that does nothing but make me smile… because I just know it’s something that you would have wanted me to have… and something I’ve desperately wanted.

 

It’s been a long road getting from there to here.  Perhaps one day soon, I can find it in myself to say that the guilt I feel with this whole deal just left.  Maybe I am worse off for having it…

 

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that my heart has always been my favorite thing.  It added so much color and emotion to everything.  I’m just in awe of what it all could be now instead of what it was or… what I felt it should have been.

 

Perhaps, this isn’t a better place since you were here.

Perhaps, it’s a better place since you left.

 

But, that’s alright because you’re here anyway… and so am I.

-Kevin

 

 

Inspired by Rachel Platten’s song titled “Better Place.”

 

 

 

Just Stuff

Things have a habit of just happening.  A lot of the time it’s when we least expect them to and we aren’t ready for the impact that these events carry.  However, there are a few times in which these events are welcome and embraced as part of our ever-changing identity.

 

Recently, I had just begun to be intentional about a lot of things.  One of which was keeping a journal.  It isn’t about my daily activities or my feelings, well… not in the sense that we would write about them in a diary.  Rather, how these feelings manifest themselves in the two biggest facets of my life:  Personally and Professionally.  Truth be told, I didn’t have a lot of faith in the idea that critiquing and documenting the way I live my life wouldn’t inspire much change in it.

 

Boy, was I wrong.

 

Being able to be honest with yourself is one thing.  Holding yourself accountable is quite another and I’ve found that using a journal is a great way to do exactly that.  Once it’s on paper, you can’t get rid of it.  You can’t deny it.  It’s out there for anyone and everyone to see.  Furthermore, it’s an expression of what you truly feel and how those feelings alienate you toward what the circumstances regarding them.  It’s very hard to express yourself and at the same time be complicit in the notion that how things seem and how they actually are can be different.

 

In the last two weeks, the general theme that has surrounded the vision I’ve had is acknowledging my fears.  The fear of failing, in particular.  I’ll be open with you.  Most of my teenage to adult life, I have had plenty of reason to believe that I had been an unmitigated failure.  I had unfulfilled relationship after another.  I’ve been in positions where I wasn’t being gratified in terms of a career.  I had lost confidence in hope in the idea of being genuinely happy.  I’ve even gone as far as to say that I wasn’t ever going to get married and been vocal about how I believed that life was over for me.

 

So, as a result of these feelings, I decided that everyday (Starting Feb. 1st) I was going to write down my goals for the day and questions I needed to ask myself that would allow me to search for answers.  As a result, every day since then has yielded guidance and a place to go when my path strayed away from my vision.  It’s been a struggle, to be sure.  But, a welcome one.  It’s allowed me to keep myself in check.  That’s a new and refreshing change of pace after running rough shot all over the place for so long.

 

The whole experience for me has been like having a bag full of random things.  We carry all of these things wherever we go.  Whether it be material things or emotional baggage or whatever the case may be, it goes with us.  Whenever we stumble and lose control of that bag, we become panicked and frantically pick up the pieces and pull ourselves back together.  By doing so, we continue the project the illusion that we have everything under control when the reality is those very things dictate and manipulate how we portray our personal integrity.

 

But, God isn’t the kind of guy to trip us up and create a situation where we have to go through that kind of regrouping.  I’ve personally experienced (Here lately more so now than I ever have) that He is the type to take what we have in hand and ask, “Why is this so important?”  Why do we hold on to such frivolous things?  We don’t care if we lose our pen or if a penny falls out of our pockets.  We don’t have vested interests in those things.  On the flip side, we do have a vested interest in our feelings.  They are OUR feelings.  They BELONG to us.  What makes our feelings so different from that pen we lost or that penny we dropped?  They were once OURS.  They BELONGED to us.  Maybe it’s because that a penny or a pen is “just stuff.”

 

Anyone who knows me can attest to how stubborn and inflexible I can be.  One reason for that has been that I have been unwilling to forgive myself for a lot of things that have happened over the years.  I’ll own whatever I’ve had my paws on and I’m not afraid to admit it.  I’m not afraid to.  But, there have been things that I’ve also accepted responsibility for that weren’t mine.  In both cases, it’s been an insurmountable challenge to let go of these things regardless of how much or how often it’s put to me that it was necessary.

 

Today was a little bit different.  In these two weeks, I’ve had to learn how to be patient.  Being patient isn’t woven into anyone’s character.  It’s definitely an acquired talent, to be sure.  Throughout this process, one of the lessons has been that it’s unfair to ask God “When?”  Asking that question just means our faith and our intentions aren’t necessarily on the same page.  To make matters even more squirrly, God’s timing could very well be around the corner you’re about to turn.

 

When I walked into church this morning, a man that I’ve had bitter feelings toward for a long time now was leading worship.  It was already a bad morning for me.  I didn’t sleep too long and I was present to offer testimony as to how The Navigators had been helping me grow.  Preface:  I hate public speaking.  HATE IT.  But, to have to stand in front of a congregation I’m still getting used to and have to have a heartfelt expression in front of people I wasn’t ready to have that kind of talk with yet made it a lot more nerve wracking than it already was.

 

When I was at the podium, the first words out of my mouth were that initially I didn’t want to be where I am now.  I’m man enough to admit it.  I had been hurt enough.  I didn’t want to go through that process again.  Something my friend Tyler told me was that being around the right people can make or break an attempt at starting over.  Throughout the entire process, I had my doubts.  I’m big enough to admit that as well.  In the back of my mind, I knew it was inevitable.

 

While I was speaking, I had the realization that all of these failures or “pens/pennies” were exactly that:  Just failures.  Just another pen lost or a penny dropped.  In that moment, I came to know that there was a reason.  I was impatient.  I was bitter.  I didn’t want to leave.  I wasn’t ready to go.  Me… me… me…. it was… just me.

 

At the end, I had come to know what it really meant to be patient.  It meant that things will come when they are supposed to come.  Being patient meant that things come and go and circumstances change along with them.  Being patient helps build your faith in the things to come.  There are a lot of moving parts about the future.  Rushing them can throw a wrench into those plans and when it happens, we wonder just what the deal is.  Looking at it now, it’s a kick in our personal complacency.

 

At the end of the service, I knew peace.  I came to know that being patient would yield its own reward:  Forgiveness.

 

When I waited to speak with this man afterwards, I told him exactly how I felt and that I understood his position and in the contrast, we found that it was definitely a God thing to be where we both are now.  Even more than that, to have found some affirmation in that I was where I was supposed to be… needed to be and in the right moment to be there.

 

And of all the things I had found today, I had found that some of those “pennies” I had been hanging on to for so long… They didn’t matter anymore.  They didn’t matter because this man hugged me.  He shook my hand, hugged me, and told me how proud he was about how far I had come and encouraged me in the direction I was going.

 

That’s more important to me.  Don’t get me wrong.  Feelings are important because they are that bag we carry.  But, all of these things that work against us… doubt, fear, anguish, hate, bitterness… you name it…  To God, these are the “pens” and “pennies” that we care more about than we should and we can’t get so offended when He asks, “What is so important about this pen?  It’s just stuff.”

 

It’s just stuff, people.  It’s just stuff…

 

-Kevin

Postcards to Home

Too often I find myself focused on where I am instead of where I’ve been or even necessarily where I’m going.  I don’t get the reasoning of being fixated on where you can be.  Sure, the aspirations and ambitions of the future are worthy of being heralded but the idea of holding such esteem on something that hasn’t arrived yet honestly baffles me.

If anything about the past few months has been asserted to me it’s that where I’m going is continually evolving and ever has a consistent face.  At times, it’s very dissuading and tumultuous.  Conversely, it’s also very refreshing and provides a sense of renewal and hope for the future.  It’s all of the events in between that shape the path that I am to take.

It’s been a very interesting trip, to say the least.  I’ve made stops in places I care to never visit again as well as been to places that I’d give almost anything to stay in.  As cliche as it all sounds, it feels like I’m on a tour of sorts.  The way I conceptualize my existence to this date has made a shift to be more indicative of this.  However, the need to continue to be “on tour” so to speak never really has driven me like it has.  I’ve always seen the journey to be taxing and I have always felt the need to be home more than I needed to be anywhere but here.  I always believed that home is where the heart is and I’ve also believed it to be stationary.  This is, much to my amazement, definitely not the case.

One of the lessons I’ve learned is that as much as we may or may not travel to the places of the world, we are always on the move.  We move within the boundaries of our own lives and in the boundaries of others.  The irony of it all is that we feel compelled to travel across the world but not within the bellows of our own existence or others.

I’ve taken the most joy in not going to places, wherever those may be but in being allowed inside the walls of new people and experiencing their existence from their point of view.  To me, that’s what my journey has been all about.  I haven’t felt more energized about anything else and as more opportunities arise for me to pursue this, I can honestly say that there is an increasing amount of hope in the future I’ve envisioned for myself.

Furthermore, as I continue to learn to see old places (faces) with new eyes instead of seeing new places with my old ones, my hope is to be allowed into and welcomed all the new towns I stop in along the way.

It’s been pure joy share in the joys, pains, tragedies, triumphs, and all the life moments in the middle in all the “towns” I’ve been welcomed into along the way… and I hope for the same in the 10,000 more I haven’t.

And I’ve never been happier to not be at home.

-Kevin

The 20/20 Experience

When I was a little boy, I loved cars.  To this very day, I still do.  But, all I really wanted to spend what is now my adult life doing was race.  I loved the competitive spirit, flying by the seat of your pants, and being within a shake of disaster… both literally and figuratively.  It took an appreciation of adrenaline, risk, skill, and trust that what you’ve built and who you’ve built your life with won’t come crashing down on you.

Over the years, I’ve come to know that life, in general, is likened to a race.  Even The Bible makes a reference to it.  There are a lot of ups and downs, twists and turns, and obstacles that happen to interfere with making it to the finish line.  It wouldn’t be much of a race if there wasn’t a finish, would it?  But, perhaps the biggest obstacle that we all face is love.

Talking about my teenage years and experiences is pretty tough for me.  Mainly because I had such a terrible time coping with all of the antagonizing situations and negative reinforcement that I had gotten from them.  I learned not to love myself.  I felt that desire… the spirit… and the dedication that I once had as a child was gone.  In its place, degradation, contempt, and a complete sense of helplessness and being unwanted set in.  The feeling of being abandoned because love, in general, had become so glaringly absent and critical in how I perceived myself.  I had become depressed and suicidal because I didn’t love myself.  I hated myself.  I hated who I had become.  I was empty inside.  There was nothing left.

As I got older, I learned what love really is.  It has a lot of forms but the feeling that it brings is the same.  It inspires.  It uplifts.  However, the pain that we’ve accumulated and a lack of trust and faith that we can be healed can be overwhelming.  It’s definitely a struggle to believe that we can arrive at a point where we can be capable to pursue all of the things that we once felt passionate about.  I also learned that it is a journey to be enjoyed.  Personal growth is a process that should be approached with an open mind and a loving spirit.  I didn’t understand that because I didn’t have love in my life.  I don’t mean the superficial love that we tell our friends or the type we feel when we’ve become attached.  I mean the type of love that can only come from being invigorated with passion and being driven by purpose or by someone whose passion reinforces your own.

But, just because I got older doesn’t mean I found love.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love cars.  I really do.  They have been such a big part of my life as I am so fascinated by them.  They are about as unique as we are.  They have their own personalities.  Some would even say that they are an extension of our own personality.  I would agree with them.  We can make them loud.  We can make them faster.  We can make them flashy.  We can make them so elegant that everyone can’t help but notice.  But, they also can die because just as easily as we can nurture them, we can neglect them.  And much like them, our ability to love can die if we don’t take care of it.

I’ve learned a lot of life lessons over the years but none as important as love is the basis of everything.  I spent a weekend in Ft. Worth and it was really an eye opening experience.  I’ve become acquainted with a lot of people and most of which I would call my friends over the years.  I would go as far as to say that I love them in more than a superficial manner.  But, loving them as I do didn’t necessarily make me feel like I could love myself.  It wasn’t until recently that I had found a glimpse of that love I had as a kid.

It takes a certain kind of personality to make your life less about yourself and more about others. To be so open with people you know and don’t know alike takes so much strength of character and an ability to place them in a level of priority above yourself… it’s a genuine moment of clarity and rejuvenating to the spirit of passion that lives within us all.  Furthermore, to surround myself with people who want to thrive on their own as well as see and assist others in finding their own passion gives me the faith that the race I run is for something… and worth it to continue.

Through all of the hurt and lack of faith, being put in a position to realize that I still have the passion to continue… and enough love to persevere even when I believed I didn’t… is a testament that we can recover from those wounds… and there’s more to life than just building walls of doubt, mistrust, and paranoia.  I’ve learned that a secret to life is passion… what that may be is as unique as we all are.  For success… for love… for finishing the race, even.

Or perhaps to start one…

“Don’t act like it’s a bad thing to fall in love (with me).” -Justin Timberlake

And it really isn’t such a bad thing…

-Kevin

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