Posted by: JackRyan88 | July 8, 2013

Writing my testament… Part 1

In the fall of 2004, my father retired and planned to build their dream house on the spot of their summer cabin in Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin.  Lake Tomahawk is about 40 miles from the upper Michigan border.  During the planning of the house, he asked me to look into a home automation system to make the house manageable remotely.  In addition he wanted sound, video and internet available in every room.

Not having experience in this field directly, but having a love for technology and working in the Information Technology field I felt it was something I could take on.  I did a lot of research on home automation and found a manufacture in New Orleans that specialized in this, and was selling systems on the internet.  Having procured the home automation system, cabling, home sound system and many other technology toys I was excited to begin this experiment.  It was something new, something that could take my mind of the troubles in my life.

During this time, I fell behind on mortgage payments and many other bills.  I had started taking Paxil on the advice of my Physician for moderate depression.  If you are not familiar with anti-depressants, do everything you possibly can do to avoid them.  Seek counseling before you even ask about them.

Taking Paxil was living a life without a care.  I had no cares what happened around me; bills went unpaid, oh well.  The electricity was shutoff; I will talk to them tomorrow and get it back on.  It was a volunteered drug induced life, and it really affected everything and everybody in my life.  I really want to make one thing clear that I am not blaming the drug Paxil or my Physician for this, I volunteered for it, I accepted the side effects and never consulted a counselor or physician after starting to take Paxil to say, something is wrong.  It became an excuse to the real underlining problems.

About a year later, I stopped taking Paxil, because I finally realized the mess I was in.  The house was one missed payment away from foreclosure; one vehicle had barely missed being repossessed, and having absolutely no credit worth, I felt worthless.  In addition my oldest son was estranged from my household because of relationship issues with my wife at the time.  My youngest was closing down emotionally and was not communicating his feelings.  And my marriage was in an uncontrolled spiral into untold depths of divorce.

These were my burdens, my problems, my shame, and I was not worthy of any pity, love or let alone let someone else bare these burdens.  They were mine and I wore them on my shoulders and in the bags of my eyes.  Looking back at this time in my life I see such darkness.

In the fall of 2005 the house was at a point where wiring could be done for the low voltage system.  I was eager to start work, but also was pulled in eight-hundred directions on the home front.  Reluctantly I planned a trip to Lake Tomahawk while my parents were vacationing in Europe.  I knew I had to have wiring completed and the smoke detectors working before they returned from Europe so that the house could be inspected.

I loaded up the car on a Friday morning after seeing my youngest off to school.  I checked my bank account and withdraw $40 for the trip up and back.  Knowing I would have to refill the car for the ride back, and that would leave me about $15 for food for the weekend.

The three and half hour right up north was uneventful, only filled with thoughts and worries about what was happening on the home front of my life.  I tried to keep those worries aside, so that I could concentrate on the task at hand.

Upon arriving I was the only person on site and would have the place completely to myself.  I was anxious and apprehensive at the same time.  It would be quiet and lonely, but it also would be nice to have some alone time.

The house had a semi inhabitable basement.  One room was enclosed which served as the bedroom, family room and kitchen, and down the hallway was a full bathroom.  But this was still a construction site.  It had Limited electrical and lighting, no stairs going to the main floor, just a make shift ladder, and no heat.  The nights would be cold, but there were plenty of blankets on hand if needed.

As I entered the dual purpose room, my parents left a note for me thanking me for the work I was about to do, and telling how much they loved me.  Within the note was cash for gas, food and a token for a free drink at the local bar, Smileys.  Their generosity and thoughtfulness is what I needed to start this weekend.  At first I completed pulling cables to all the areas, and ensured everything was labeled or marked for when I needed to finish things.  Finally I spent the evening installing the home automation panel, and touchpads in hopes that the following day I could tie the smoke detectors into the system.  My goal was to be heading home early Sunday morning to be home and defending the home front before the work week started.

As I lay in bed that Friday evening, I listened to the sounds of the house and the literal darkness surrounding me.  I tossed and turned trying to resolve the problems I faced, the financial difficulties, and the problems in all my relationships.  I struggled with feelings of shame, self-pity and no self-esteem.  I wondered how much easier it would be for everyone if I just didn’t exist.

Around 4 AM I couldn’t take it anymore of lying there and drowning in my worries and shamefulness.  I had beaten myself to a pulp, and now I had to try and get up and make something of the day.  I began work immediately, tying in each smoke detector to the circuit board, but I kept running into problems with the home automation handling all number of zones I needed for the smoke detectors.  My frustration grew as lunch time passed and dinner time grew near.   I decided the best option was to get something to eat, so that I could think much clearer.

I went down to the Smiley’s and ordered a Smiley burger with fries.  Using my free token, I asked for a Gin and tonic.  As I sat I contemplated the problem with the smoke detectors.  Finally after inhaling a Smiley burger, fries and my drink I think I had a much clearer idea of what I needed to do to make the smoke detectors work.  I rushed home, just as the sun was setting.  And began immediately make a circuit of the smoke detectors for each floor.  Each floor would be a zone for smoke detectors, so instead of six zones I was able to narrow it down to three.  This fit the intended design of the system and made much better sense.

Around 10 PM I completed work, and lay in bed.  Having completed the task I set out to do my head filled with the thoughts of finances, my marriage and kids.  The shame and beating from the other night had begun all over, and I felt myself fall deeper and deeper into an abyss.  As I lay in bed I could sense and hear the voices around me, shame me deeper and deeper.  I was a failure.  I was not worthy of anything, and certainly not the love and grace of Christ Jesus.


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