About five years ago, not long after my mom died, which was not long after my dad died, I moved to southern Illinois, because I hadn’t gotten the message that my radio days were over. I was lonely and depressed. And I used to sit on my front porch and pray, “God, please tell me what to do — and make me quiet enough to hear your instructions.” It invariably gave me sense of peace.
The first tangible manifestation came in the experience that ultimately led me to marry my now soon-to-be ex-wife. That, of course, has become a Hindenburg among marriages. Oh, the humanity. Everyone tells me I’m better off without her, and intellectually I know that. But the knife wound in my heart will take a while to heal. A good many people who have met her tell me they never did trust her… didn’t think she was good for me… was holding me back. But they didn’t say anything at the time, of course. Who would? And I wouldn’t have listened anyway. You always make excuses for the one you love.
Lord knows, I don’t want to write this post — it’s so intensely personal, and I’m afraid you who are reading it will just get sick and tired of what seems to be self-pity. And maybe it is, but a long time ago, I started this blog more as therapy for myself than something I actually thought people would read. I may not post it. I won’t know until I click “Publish,” or don’t click.
I have been through a lot of tough times in recent years, but none that seems so hopeless as what I’m going through now. In a nutshell, for those of you who just joined us, I arrived back in North Carolina two weeks ago, alone of course. The idea was to get back on the road, delivering school buses once again, and write. Two Saturdays ago, as I neared High Point, my car died. Permanently. I will be able to sell it to a scrap dealer on Monday for 200 bucks.
So far, I have had only one cross-country trip… and am anxiously waiting for them to become regular again. They will, but it may take a week or two. In the meantime, I’m “living” in my sister’s rec room, with two cats, and the feline detritus that goes along with them. My sister doesn’t really want me here — not because I’m smelly or obnoxious, but because no matter how small a footprint I try to leave, I disrupt the life that she shares with her daughter. I don’t blame her. And realizing that she’s the only thing that stands between me and homelessness, I try to be quiet and stay in my room. But because I now have no car, I have to borrow hers, which leaves her in a rough position. And of course, with no car, I cannot go out and find a local job, which is what I eventually would like to do. I’m hoping to scrape together the down payment on a “beater” car so I can have at least a measure of independence. Of course, when I’m on a delivery trip, it’s not a concern.
It’s important to me to get involved in the community, church, community theater — that kind of thing. I am a pretty social guy, and this solitude and inability to go anywhere or meet anyone is sucking the life right out of me.
I have, in previous bad times, asked for help from friends — but I am not doing that now. One can only lean on friends so often before the friendship goes down the tubes, and I’m not willing to give up any friendship capital I have left.
I think, nonetheless, returning here was the correct decision, if only because otherwise, I’d be stranded in southern Pennsylvania, with no way to get to work or anywhere else.
As I said, I have been through tough times before, but nothing even approaching this. I have a lot more empathy now for people with even fewer resources than I have now. I’m 60, I feel 75, and I’m tired. I just don’t know how many re-do’s I have left in me. But there’s not really much choice, is there?
Monday, I’ll finally be able to get a prescription for some antidepressants, which I fervently hope will at least give me the ability to feel optimistic.
One of the reasons I returned to delivering school buses — the main reason in fact — was because I wanted to continue to write this blog, with the vague idea that someday I could turn it into a book. Many people, in fact, have encouraged me to do so. Would it work? I have no idea.
But no matter what, I’m just putting one foot in front of the other, taking life day by day, and trying to be quiet enough to hear and pay attention when God gets around to leading me through the right door.