After 56 times around Sol


I have completed 56 trips around the Sun. I am a middle-aged man. There is no hiding that now. In my 40s I could pretend. But the number 56 and my hairline shout the reality of my place in life loudly and can no longer be ignored.

I am also fully engaged with the inner journey that all middle aged people travel, whether or not they are aware of it. I am aware it. My eyes are wide open and looking in the deep places of a man. I’m learning about the forces that have always been within me and are seeking the light. Various manifestations of my shadow side are emerging joyously and taking their first awkward steps. I am welcoming them and attempting to nurture them into good health.

My daughters are all adults now. Lilly turns 21 in a few days. Wow. And at this point none of them even live in our city. How can it be that my three little girls, the three sisters, have taken wing and flown and are seizing life with the energy of their youth and making their own families? I love it. I just find it hard to believe it has happened. It’s trite to say but damn, where did the years go?

Jeanene and I met in 1982. April the 8th, to be exact. And I remember just how she looked when she came bouncing down the hall of the dorm to meet me for lunch, ponytail swinging, wearing Kaepa tennis shoes with one of the laces hanging by a thread, her smile wide open and untouched by the griefs and sorrows that life brings us all, given enough time. We’re still together. Slower, softer, wiser, and still friends. This woman loves me and I love her. And we are close at a level that I couldn’t have imagined as a young man.

My life as a clergy person has ended and I’m realizing that I will never recover from that loss. It was a loss, though I willingly cut myself off from that branch and let that part of me fall to the ground and die. I don’t know if that death is forever or if there will be a rebirth someday. I preached for 20 years, but I still don’t know what it means to be born from above. I don’t think rebirth into the clergy is what will happen though, at least not in any recognizable form. I don’t see myself going back into the culture of American Churchianity. But perhaps there is something new out there for me. Something tied to ecumenical spirituality, Jung, writing, and whiskey. Something intoxicating and edgy and exciting and new. We shall see. I remain stupidly hopeful, like a dog staring out a window.

I am a writer. I write things. I see them and I write about them and I feel them during the writing, which is what drives me. Enneagram 5, don’t you know. I’ve been writing since I launched my old blog in 2002. Currently most of my writing energy has gone into whiskey writing. But I plan to move back to Foy at some point and carry on with his story. I co-wrote a screenplay this year and saw it to completion. So yeah, I am a writer. I know this because I write things and am committed to that discipline.

Money is hard, as it often is when people leave one life and try to start another one. But we own our home and never miss a meal. I don’t think I have a right to ask for much more than that anyway. I do dream of a day when financial stress isn’t looming. I hope for it anyway. If that day ever comes, thanks be to God.

I have been in what some call “liminal space” for eight years now. I am in a doorway looking out at a wide landscape. I have left some things behind and have kept things that mattered. I have distilled what is of value seven times and ended up with family and friends. I could lose everything and be okay as long as I have the love of those who matter to me. I see that. I feel it. I know it the way men of a certain age can know things like this. And knowing is good. It is enough.

Mind you, I do hope to keep the whiskey and writing though.

So now year 56 has passed and the new year of Gordon has begun. I am in a good place. I am hopeful, young at heart, and eager to see what life brings next.

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  • Jeffrey Taylor

    Not sure if the financial stress thing ever goes away. The more you have, the more you have to lose.

  • Gary

    There is a brewery in Austin called Live Oak Brewing Company. Whenever I go to the airport I make it my mission to stop in, and hope (dare I say pray?) that their ‘limited offering’ beer ‘Liberator’ (a dopplebock) is being served. It’s not a beer, it is THE beer — what all other beers aspire to be! The last pint I recall having was back in 2015? I barely remember how the beer taste but I still know it’s the best beer to be had. My point? I barely recall your sermons/talks but I know they were the best I’ve heard. As I head to Austin next week to pick up my mother when she flies in, I have great anticipation. Equally, I have great anticipation that one day you’ll be back in the pulpit. Church made sense to me when you ‘preached’.

    I hope you are well, my friend.

    “I think the trouble with me is lack of faith… often when I pray I wonder if I am not posting letters to a non-existent address.” – C.S. Lewis