The Fractured Man

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Teddy Roosevelt

I am a fractured man. I have multiple scars and limps from battles lost, and won. All of these are forming every day. The forming of:

  • Empathy
  • Love
  • Humility
  • Focus
  • Contentment

The fractured men and women I’ve known are full of clarity. They see no point in pretense and posing. They understand that life is a limited time offer. This is only known when a human comes in touch with the brink (death, business failure, relationship loss, and more). Each time I’ve been in the position of looking at the brink, I’m reminded of the futility of thinking I have control. The story will never cede its authority.

I used to see the process of fracturing as unwelcome visitors. I discovered some time ago that these visitors are friends designed to bring me to a form of completeness.

In the age we live in, my words are contrarian and not talked about. Everything is about winning, typically at all costs. You would think life is just a big contest with all the glory at the end. I wish we paid more attention to the input, the blood, the sweat. It could make a big difference.


What Time Hasn’t Taken


“Love is stronger than death.”


I’ve lived long enough to have lost some things. The list includes people, careers, health, and more. Probably true for you as well. The reality of loss is not an age-related thing, though our culture still sells the BS of loss is for the older crowd.

I value what I’ve lost.

I hear Joni Mitchell in my head singing “well somethings lost and somethings gained in living everyday.” Our best remedy is the art of reflection and being. The consequence of reflecting and being, is you can’t be so distracted and doing in life. You better get this one down, your life, and its quality, might depend on it.

Hear’s what time hasn’t taken from me:


In all of life’s losses and heartbreaks, love remains. Whether I’ve fallen, chosen or awakened to, love has remained. That poem at the beginning is true, not even death. How can that be? I’ve had my moments of wondering, but the truth remains. When love enters you it never leaves. The colors and brush strokes may vary and change, but love never leaves.

It’s mysterious and beautiful.

What God Takes Away

Thought about my dad today and what God takes away. Certainly that implies that something, or someone, was given. I see that now.

As I was processing, I asked myself why I would still be writing about him. It has been almost 4 years now. For all I know, you might even be thinking why. Your first inclination might be to look at me as a grieving son or someone that has unresolved issues. All may be true, but I also thought of you. At the risk of sounding redundant, much of what I write turns toward you. As it should be…by way of experience.

Are you in a place, in the living years, where you can't resolve the unresolved? Still fighting, still fighting back what you'd prefer to forget?

I guess I feel that my process of dealing with my dad's living and dying was for a purpose deeper than the loss of a human life. I know that I'm not alone. On more than one occasion I've had people write me to say they've been watching my journey. We live in a crowded world, so if Ed says he was watching, then I know it was for a good reason. I guess this post is for those that have never raised their hands.

My gut tells me some of you may be fighting an un-winnable war.

In the vast majority of my life with my dad I was entangled and by the time I became an adult I was too arrogant and angry to resolve it. I was warned, but I pressed on. My mistake. I eventually did make it right, but man it seems like it would have been sweeter to get there earlier. Could be revisionist history or a longing to have a chance for a "do-over." I'm ok, though, I'm still moving forward. He is pleased, I know.

Ok, what's the un-winnable war:

  • Anger toward someone (wife, ex-wife, friend, parent, etc.) that eats you from the inside out. Many times my wife and kids felt this with me. I have nothing to show for my investment, nothing.
  • Resignation that it won't get any better. Damn it, most everything can get better if we let it!
  • Making someone into someone they can never be. I spent years of hating my dad while trying to please him. He wasn't a bad man, just trapped in his own web unable to say and do something a son longed for.
  • Pretending that love isn't in your heart. A form of protection I suppose. Ironically, I found out after he passed that I do love him.
  • You don't control as much as you think you do. God has every right to take away, and we have the responsibility to make the most of the time we're given. Be careful here. Are you gambling that you have time? Are you thinking you can get to it later?

The Loss and the Gain

As painful as it may sound, and potentially feel, being in a position where you have nothing to lose is a pretty inspired place to be.  I'll give you one caveat with that; it is a relative exercise.  In other words, your place of nothing to lose could look different than mine.

The following is a clip from Inc  They did a fabulous job featuring Ryan Blair, the author or Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain.  He has a perspective that I "get."  Take the time to watch and see if he doesn't make you think through your own perspective on how you view losses and gains.


My big take-away from Ryan's talk is you don't want to be in the middle.  It's a vulnerable place to be.  If you're not careful you'll wake up and find you're a slave to multiple things (job, money, power, etc.).  And remember, there are people who don't make a lot of money, don't have prestigious titles, don't get promoted, who are very wealthy.

Manage your life well!