I know, I know, I know!
Matthew Mcconaughey of all people.
It’s been a year and half since I’ve written anything publicly. Longest stint since I started blogging nearly 11 years ago.
The last time I wrote was to bring folks up to speed…or was it to process…or mourn…or explain myself. Mostly like a combo of all those things.
I’ve changed blogs over the years. This one I started with the intent to write a book. So… I set off in late 2017 to write the first draft of what I thought my book would be. Then took a friend’s writing course to keep me accountable to write it in 100 days (mostly stealing from old journals and blog posts). Next I got some feedback. “You have a good writing voice, but you need to rework some the story. Start working on building a platform. Build something that others would want to read. Something that adds value to their life. Something not just about you.
That’s when I started this blog. Nathan Salley Tells A Story. I never got to the building a platform thing. A new job started for a non profit in a bunch of transition, while also being an elder at a church in the same predicament. Writing took a back seat.
I like telling stories. I think people’s stories matter. When you learn someone’s story, you have more grace for them, more love for them, more eyes to see the best in them.
Toward the end of 2018 my world began to blow up. An unwanted and unexpected divorce to my beloved came crashing down. And with that, a list of losses I’ve recounted too many times.
It’s been nearly 3 years since I reluctantly agreed to sign papers (as my hand shook and signature looked nothing like mine) and moved to Fort Collins. Three years of pain that is hard to express unless you too have experienced a similar pain. Pain that I have tried to soothe in healthy and unhealthy ways.
Here’s the thing about pain. Pain can lead to more wholeness in someone’s life, or can lead to a more splintered sense of self. When I was younger during my trials with leukemia, I feel the pain led to a greater sense of self. An understanding of who I was and who I wanted to be. The pain of losing my wife has lead to feeling less like myself the last few years than ever before.
Stuck in the same loop trying to find the offramp.
But I’m tired. I’m tired of playing this song. Singing this song. Wondering when I will be again who I want to be again. I’m tired. But I’m also tired of the self pity. The poor coping mechanisms turned to addictions. The having a victim mentality attitude at times. That’s not me.
If what I got was 3.5 years of marriage with the person I most loved, and 5 years of time spent with that person… but no more…well…there isn’t a moment I’ve thought of taking it back. Not one. It was not the wrong choice. She was not the wrong choice.
So what the hell am I sharing all this for?
I don’t know exactly. But somewhere deep in me I feel I need to write again. For me. For fun. Or just to release stuff. Who cares who knows. I’ve always felt that vulnerability is the breeding ground for where Jesus does His best work. And maybe, just maybe, doing a little writing will help work out some of the things that hours of counseling, church, prayers, tears, books, and all the other (healthier) coping tools at my disposal haven’t been able to do. Cause the unhealthy ones aren’t working.
Writing speaks to me.
And I need to speak to me.
I need not just to remember who I was, but have conviction for who I want to be again. My identity wasn’t lost… it just needs some re-tweaking.
I’ve always felt my life was a beautiful story. I never imagined it as painful or too hard. There have been lots of hard in it for sure. But my last 3 years there hasn’t been many moments I would want to share publicly with the world, let alone a handful of readers on this tiny wordpress blog. But I think it’s time to start moving again. To dream again. It’s been a long time since I’ve dreamed. Dreaming again takes risk. And risk means that I might fail again…and that scares me. What then? What will others think of me? What will I think of me?
Which brings me to Matthew Mcconaughey of all people.
Matthew Mcconaughey could give two flying F’s what people think of him. Or even if he does, he still decides to go for it, whatever it is.
I needed some light reading so I picked up Greenlights. I always thought he had a cool voice and wondered if that voice would translate to his writing. I needed something simple. Not heavy hearted or heavy handed or self-helpy. Just honest to his experience.
It reminded me of my world travels. The stacks of filled journals in my closet. It also reminder me of my journals written in the last 3 years. I could sum up those journals from 2019-now in one word.
“Why did this happen?”
I don’t think all things happen for a reason. I think bad things happen that we can’t control, but we have a choice in how we will respond. I don’t think that everything is God’s plan. I think things fall outside of God’s plans at times, and He is a God at work to redeem the broken parts of people’s stories. I’m tired of being depressed, lonely, wondering when my redemption story will come. I want to stop wondering, and start L.I.V.I.N. as Matthew would say.
So…Alright alright alright!
Time to get back to L.I.V.I.N.. Not sure what exactly that means…but oddly enough, it does breed some hope in me to dream again.
My story isn’t over. Just a new chapter. My best moments don’t define…nor do my worst. It’s the entire book that’s worth the read.
Time to turn the page. At least that’s the hope.