andybarwick
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journal

my journey and observations about life

Posts tagged endcancer
Secret Treasure
Bracelet

It is amazing how you continue to find how
wonderful a father’s love is even after death. 
We keep things hidden just for us to enjoy and
remember. When we pass, they are love
letters to our children. 
• Andy Barwick 

 

One wonderful Father’s Day, my oldest daughter Reese made me a bracelet. That particular year was my first year being a single father. My youngest overwhelmed me with wonderful drawings and a beautiful candy jar she made just for me with her mother’s help. Reese seemed disappointed in what she gave me. I couldn’t wear it because it was too small and she was upset. She held it in but I could tell she wanted to express more and didn’t know how. I hugged her and kissed her so tightly. I was so thankful for her being her and taking time to give something creative from within to me. And then I saw that smile that I live for. 

I keep this bracelet still in my secret top drawer. I have little things hidden here and there that remind me of how much my girls love me and special moments they represent. They may be gifts, drawings or little things that meant a lot to them growing up and remind me of who they are in spirit. But the real reason I keep them hidden is because it reminds me of such a precious and pure love that only a father can have for a daughter. No other man can ever replace a father’s unconditional love. And as a future mother, she will pass that unconditional love to her children as only she can. Keeping the little creations also reminds me that someone loves me for me and treasures my love for them. 

One day when my days have passed and my children go through my hiding places, they will find these special things. They will know how much the gifts and trinkets really meant to me. They will know that I put them in a special place that only I would be able to see them everyday. And they will always know that my love for them will never end. 

Change for a Penny
Penny_Change

 

I was riding down the road the other day and I saw a homeless person with two overflowing shopping carts. It isn't the first time that I've seen this. Each time that I see this it sends my mind racing. I think about the nature of us all. It seems that very few of us are wired to just have a little and be content. We always strive for a little more in life. Some of us are collectors, some are traders others are somewhere in between. What is it in us that strives for more?

The strange thing about the homeless person was to me it seemed easier to be homeless without so much to carry. When you repeat that in your head it doesn't sound right. So overlooking the fact the person is homeless, I am thinking they have too much useless clutter and should just drop the excess. It was a different kind of clarity moment for me. For I've had the same clarity moment when I see a person of wealth fill their house with clutter until their coffers run dry. But that person has a house. Something that is a basic need for every human. 

When we think of excess, we think of the very wealthy having so much that it waterfalls over sanity. I also think of most that live pay check to pay check continually caught in a vicious cycle of wanting more. In all three extremes, there is no balance. There is no peace of mind, peace within. The homeless woman caught me off guard because you could see that having more could help, but not that kind of more. So I came to ask myself what kind of "more" should we strive for. 

I've been all over the map with this one. I've had wealth and spent it responsibly. I've been in between and spent it stupidly. I've been poor wanting more. I think the real question is what "more" do you want from life and what is that "more" worth to you. Can you trust yourself to live within what you have been given, be a good steward and balance wanting "more". 

More to me is defined in so many ways. It isn't always wanting more material things or wealth. It can be more time, more happiness, better health. The true test of a person's character isn't what they do when they are given more, it is what they do with what they have and do not expect anything more. There is something beautiful about seeing someone content with a simple life. They could have more but they choose things that elude the values of this world. Their riches are steeped with peace within and at peace with the world around. 

If you aren't happy with your world, change your world right?  I've heard that before. What if the part of that world is your health or a condition you can't physically change?  Well, then you redefine what it is that defines you. You redefine what it means to have a good or a bad day. You are diagnosed with something new to fight, you grieve, regroup and redefine your path. Is any of this easy?  Hell no, not even close. I live it intimately. Many more live it every day in silence. But we take what we are given and make the best of it. If I have a house of broken wood, I'll carve my initials in the door and keep it clean for you to visit. A place to call your own is something I once took for granted. If something nicer falls in my lap then great. But I'm content with not having more. I'll see how long the human inside of me allows my humbled spirit to just be in this moment and be content. Live in the moment you are in, be thankful for the ground beneath your feet that meets your step. And if you are falling, be thankful that there is a ground that will eventually meet you. And no matter how bad things get, no matter how many times you have to redefine your life, the one certainty in life is that everything can change. 

A Seven Year Marathon
unbroken

 

In an amber run year of my life, I am reminded that one of my greatest wishes was to run a full marathon one day. I realized today that I have been running for seven years now. Sometimes running with denial, anger, bargaining and depression. In 2014, my marathon touched acceptance with what I thought would be the final stage. The stage of after having a bad day or accepting what you've been dealt, redefining what was a good day. And in 2014, a new and heavier diagnosis made everything else seem so much smaller.

In the stillness of the past year, I have been reflecting on what's next. I am not a fan of physical mirrors. I am a constant internal reflectionist. So with a year of not writing in my blog, I have to come into reality. Back to where acceptance doesn't really co-exist with inner chaos. Always carrying a cheerful disposition regardless of what rumbles within. I don't trust many with the truth of what I am fighting that is new and awful. I feel like shit today. Not crap, shit. There is an exponential difference. There I said it. Where I usually have given seven years of inspiration, I have given the blatant truth. 

In the past year, I have rediscovered my passion of writing and have many projects in the mix. In my spare moments, I write poetry and prose on Instagram. I've written poetry and prose my whole life but have been reluctant to admit it for some reason. I guess I felt that it made me look soft when I tried to portray a warrior spirit. But I have found peace in being both whether or not people connect with it. 

The good to take away from this is as always, I share for understanding not pity. When you say you hate Mondays, I can relate, just in a different way. So I don't scoff or belittle what you go through. Everyone has some level of pain and suffering. If you don't then good for you. Enjoy these days and use the good to help those stuck in the bad. Don't try to "fix them", just listen and be there for them and for God's sake laugh with them. That is what makes us feel alive and normal even in small doses. It is tough adding that into your life I know. Twelve years ago, I was a good listener but terrible at keeping in touch with those in real pain. So I understand that life changes and you adapt as either becoming a person more in tune with the world or someone living an oblivious life. I have lived both. I just have a life now that moves in a way that I have the time to examine the ills of the world without glazing over them and requiring getting back to making a living instead of a life. 

I'll try writing more. It's been busy as a single father living alone in the city. But more friends are near and it has been nice to slowly reconnect with the community that I had to leave when I moved before my life saving spinal surgery in 2011. My life was spared, my marriage was not, a casualty of the vows we make but don't truly understand when things don't fit the fairytale. I have found the joys of being more present as a father and actually taking care of two beautiful young girls instead of them living in constant fear of losing their dad. They don't see my struggle and my relentless fight to just breathe some days. I hide it well and they need stability for as long as I can provide it for them. They are my life and have been my only reason for living and not giving up over the past three years. And for that, I am eternally grateful to them. One day, I'll share my story with them. For now, I just tell them everyday that I love them and let them focus on acting their age and living in the wonder years of life. Wouldn't it be so wonderful to be able to have those years all the days of our lives. 

The ignorance of youth isn't a bad thing. If they knew the horrors and reality of this world, it would give them a hopeless perspective of why bother with striving for more in a broken world. But I do want them to still strive for their dreams with ignorance of my reality. And that makes me smile to hear their pure childhood dreams and laughter. Never forget that. You can find happiness even after the real world sets you into unfiltered reality. If you can't find happiness, then change your world...and help others find that happiness as well.