Have you ever been in a hotel, friends spare bedroom, or anywhere that you would find yourself staring up at the ceiling and thinking to yourself “huh, I wonder if they know thereâ€™s a crack in the ceiling?” Well I have, both literally and figuratively over the last 15 months and Iâ€™d like to reflect a little.
Iâ€™m typing this from a balcony on the Disney Fantasy Cruise ship. My kids are finally asleep after a LOOOONG amazing day on the ship which ended with a pajama night movie in one of the huge full size Disney Theatres. We watched “Inside Out” in 3D and if you havenâ€™t seen it, you must !!! Iâ€™m a man of constant connecting of the dots to create metaphors not only for my class but also for myself and this movie is literally the best written extended metaphor on life, our thoughts, and our personalities that I have ever seen or imagined. I had a book idea 10 years ago that I shared with a handful of people that had a similar concept as this movie, but no where near as brilliantly or well scripted as this and in a way that a 4 year old can understand it while a 45 year old can sit in awwwww. Now, MY book idea seems pretty silly to be honest, even if the “concept” is similar. Anyway, the point is that on this trip I found myself staring at the ceiling on the first night, in a Hyatt hotel at the Orlando Airport. And sure enough……there was a crack in the ceiling.
This week I had a whole different plan for my post, which got side tracked because I didnâ€™t account for all the effort it was going to take to bring my 2 and 4 year old by myself on an airplane and then onto a Disney cruise ship lol =) Luckily my mom and niece met me for the cruise portion so I am not alone now. But that night in the hotel, staring up at the ceiling, wide awake, I found myself writing a whole different post.
Although it may not seem it, I have tried hard to keep my personal life (my divorce) out of my writing lol Can you believe it ?? I thought for sure I was back 100% to the old me, only writing upbeat and positive stories. And this one will be too, and if it comes out the way it sounded in my head, then it may be my favorite one yet. But to get to the point, I need to share a brief bit of not so “upbeat” recent history.
So the reason I found myself up late the night before the cruise, staring at the ceiling of a Hyatt hotel, was that 15 months ago I was in that same hotel waiting for an urgent flight home after finding out my wife of 4 years, and mother of my kids, was having at least two “phyiscal affairs” and at least three others that I can only speculate on based on pages and pages of sext messages. No not text, “sext.” Being back in that hotel brought back a ton of crap. And the “crack in the ceiling” was methorically the exact same thing that it felt like when I found out I was being disrespected and cheated on. I went from thinking I had a solid marriage with no more than the average amount of very minor issues, to realizing I not only had a crack in the hull, but a total breech and my ship was filling with water faster than any amount of repair or pumping could fix. My ship was going down fast and by the time I hit the Denver Airport later that day, I had found out so much about the prior four months that it was obvious the ship not only sunk, but in reality wasnâ€™t a ship at all. Iâ€™d been tricked into thinking one thing when the exact opposite was happening right under my nose.
Why is this important to my post? Well what I think I realized the other night, while staring at that crack in the ceiling, was that since this all started (15 months ago) I have done nothing but look for cracks in my every day life, literally AND figuratively. I live in a home that was built 10 years ago and if you have ever been in this position you know that around this time you need to start replacing pretty much everything. The floor, the carpet, the roof, repaint the outside, etc etc etc. So as I mentioned in an earlier post, rather than enjoy the areas I have redone recently, I focus only on the “other cracks” I see all over the house that need my constant attention to fix and repair. I did the same thing when the marriage ended at first, I looked and looked and looked for all the cracks I had not seen and when I finally opened my eyes I saw them, and they were everywhere. I do it as a parent too. I have been working so hard to keep my kids in a good school where they have stability and also pull off paying for this Disney Cruise, that I have cracks all through my health now. Back so bad I canâ€™t hardly get out of bed some mornings. Weight creeping back up. Bags under my eyes all the time and I canâ€™t remember a good nights sleep in at least 15 months. But my stubborn pride is such that it wonâ€™t let the fact that my “marriage ship” sank effect the ability to keep my “Family ship” afloat. So even though I am exhausted, I havenâ€™t missed one family holiday with the kids to make sure they saw Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even their moms birthdays over the last year and a half even though I was in pain, and this vacation was no different. But in doing all of this, I sacrificed things that ARE important and that is my physical health. The point is, by trying to avoid cracks in one area of my life, I have created enormous ones in other parts. And just like if you were spending the night at a friends and noticed one while sleeping in their extra bedroom (a crack in the ceiling), the fact is they probably have no idea itâ€™s there because they donâ€™t sleep in that bed and werenâ€™t looking for it. So should you tell them ? Would that knowledge evolve into a day of them on a ladder patching it only to find that the wall needed it to, then if youâ€™re painting the spare room, shouldnâ€™t they do the hall, then the living room, then the kitchen, etc etc ? Or are they better off not knowing for now? Does that crack really matter or could they be focusing on more urgent matters?
So thatâ€™s as far as I got on that “story” that I didnâ€™t finish in my head because something incredible happened today. After chewing on that story idea for a day and a half, I was alone with the kids (alone meaning no mom or niece, but surrounded by hundreds of strangers) on deck 11 of the ship. This is where the pools are along with the place we have spent most of our time (the soft serve ice cream machines that my son is addicted to like crack). I was sitting with the kids who were wrapped in towels, shivering from being at the pool all day and now the little 80 degree wind was making them a tad bit cold. Without knowing it I found myself fixated on my son Bradyâ€™s cheek, then his nose, then his ear, then his lips, then his beautiful brown eyes. I kept thinking “I helped make this beautiful human being.” I saw the lines from his skin being waterlogged from a full day soaking in the chlorine, the cracks on his lips from being dried by the sun, the way his hair was pointing in 1 million directions from the wind blowing it, and the dried vanilla ice cream that covered his face, neck, and belly. And in that second, that moment, I realized I had been staring at him for close to 10 minutes just taking in every single micro millimeter of that boys face like I was studying it for the SATâ€™s !! And may god strike me dead if I am lying, I began to feel a lump in my throat and eyes welling up because I realized that I have been so focused on trying to do everything I can for them and fought so hard on SO many issues during the divorce, that I had begun to lose focus on some MUCH more important things. I “see” my kids almost every day, but what I realized is that “seeing” them isnâ€™t the same as what I was experiencing in that moment. I felt like I was seeing them for the first time and it felt awesome. And I began to wonder what itâ€™s gonna take to stop dwelling on the cracks that just donâ€™t matter so that I can spend MORE time on the ones that do. Because honestly if I donâ€™t patch some very serious cracks soon (my health for one) than not much else is going to matter.
So if you have time this week, metaphorically speaking, look around at your home for cracks. Look at the way you teach class, and are you putting too much emphasis on one thing and not enough on another ? Life is hard enough without us putting on extra baggage and expectations of ourselves especially if itâ€™s on things that donâ€™t suit us or make us better. Because there is going to come a day when youâ€™re counting your “moments” and those either caused you great pain or great pleasure……….and no one wants to feel like they patched the wrong cracks. Now go out there and promote the “good” kind of crack 😉 I know I will !!