Dear Winn -13 February 2017

Dear Winn:
Its been a while, huh? Its not that I haven’t wanted to write, because I have. Its more that, as the psalmist says, “I have come into deep waters.” Where I am in my season of life, a handful of disappointments, and the current state of our nation have ganged up on me and left me blue, pal. I’d like to tell you otherwise, but why lie to a friend? I resonate with that line from the psalmist because that’s how it feels, like I can’t touch the bottom so I’m treading, treading. And the treading is tiring. I’m sure there’s an inspirational quote somewhere about “letting go” and in the letting go “you’ll float! you’ll rise!” Of course you could drown, which is not all that inspiring.
 
I took Meredith out last night for sushi. It was our Valentine’s date. Have I ever told you I cannot navigate chopsticks? Well, I can’t. The entire time I’ve got them in my hand I’m thinking, “For pete’s sake, this is why someone invented the fork.” The sushi was good, as was our conversation. We’d been at odds most of the day, just one of those February Sundays where two people who love each other are out of sync. There’s not much in the psalms about being married. Come to think of it, there’s really not much specifically in the Bible about being married. I wish there was. 
 
Some of our conversation last night was peppered with thanksgiving. Meredith is back hiking, man. She’s come a long way since last June – her fall, her surgery, her recovery, her physical therapy. And because we two are one, in a weird sort of way it was also my fall, my surgery, etc. I don’t know if many married people believe that, but I do. Does that make any sense? Now that I type it, it sounds a bit coo-coo. Maybe some of the out-of-sync-ness in marriage comes from two people who love each other sharing an experience but sharing it in distinctly different ways and then thinking the other could never really understand but they do, sorta, but it takes mucho work to find a common language around it and sometimes it simply feels like too much work because you’re treading, treading in the deep waters, and you’re tired. That sounds coo-coo too. Maybe there’s not much specifically in the psalms or the Bible about marriage because even God knows its hard. But most of the stuff worth doing is hard, huh?
 
Winn, I know we tried to find a publisher interested in these letters we write to one another because we thought maybe others would be interested in what two white straight Christian males have to say to one another about life and friendship and aging and forks (HA!). But yeah, we came up empty handed. I’m sorry. I don’t want to be too whiny about that ’cause Lord knows I can’t abide much whining. But you know what? There sure is plenty of whining in the psalms. And it seems the Lord abided it. Still, we’ve gotta pull up our socks and press on, maybe a letter from time to time to share with others, and the rest we’ll exchange behind the online veil, possibly self-publishing one day to critical acclaim.
 
Its a strange feeling losing a bit of your timing this late in your career. Yeah, send in the clowns.
 
Coraggio.
John       

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23 Comments

  1. Stacy on February 13, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    I have really enjoyed the Winn letters. I hope they are one day curated in paper form to speak collectively.

  2. Drew on February 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    “We’d been at odds most of the day, just one of those February Sundays where two people who love each other are out of sync” Its so normal about marriage, and no normal marriage can be normal without this-great words John! Love these letters-can’t believe there’s no publisher out there to mine the gold in these.

    • thebeautifuldue on February 14, 2017 at 1:44 am

      Thanks, Drew. I appreciate your encouragement!

  3. Dr Lynn Schriner on February 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Dear John: What a wonderful glimpse into a real life. I read them out loud to Joe as he eats breakfast and we smile and nod and feel, better about our Sunday snarky. I think we should all do a GO FUND ME to publish this amazing journey between two white, straight, poetic guys. Let’s do it! I’m in

    • thebeautifuldue on February 14, 2017 at 1:45 am

      You’re a true friend, Lynn. Really.

      • Dr Lynn Schriner on February 14, 2017 at 1:59 am

        I am glad you know this…so is that a Yes? (Go Fund me?) I will open it. Lets do it!!!

    • Katie on February 15, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      Me too!

  4. Steph E on February 13, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    It’s like John Ames and Boughton in Gilead. I would read them!

    • Stephen Kamm on February 13, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Exactly. Perfect. I was going to say that the letters are like a bromance version of a Marilynne Robinson book – all filled with honesty, winsomeness and grace. So, the committee of readers has reviewed your request to stop publishing the letters and, at this point, has declined your request. Feel free to re-submit your request, with the appropriate form, in 12 months.

      • thebeautifuldue on February 14, 2017 at 1:46 am

        Alright, Stephen, we will abide by the will of the people. Thanks!

    • thebeautifuldue on February 14, 2017 at 1:45 am

      Hi, Steph. Thanks, that means a lot.

  5. Linda Wilkerson on February 13, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Just wanted to say that I love these letters and the deep expression of being human while trying to be faithful that they embody.

    Linda Wilkerson
    Director, Pastoral Care
    Parkland Health & Hospital System
    5200 Harry Hines Blvd.
    Dallas, TX 75235
    (214) 590-8512 – Main Office
    (469) 419-1539

    • thebeautifuldue on February 14, 2017 at 1:47 am

      Hi, Linda. Its so good to hear from you. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I do hope you are well.

  6. paula jones on February 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    I needed to hear this. I suspect I’ll be re-reading it daily for a few a while. Thank you.

  7. Roslyn Bourgeois on February 13, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    John. Your willingness to be honest in your letters does a coupe of things. One, it initiates tears. I needed to cry anyway, but sometimes I also need something to ” push the button”. Secondly, I simply appreciate the fact that someone else is willing to acknowledge where they are in their life and some of the struggles being experienced. I need that to allow me to quit being so hard on myself and to ask God to help me quit whining.

    Roslyn

    >

  8. I Take John Blase to Task | MarilynYocum.com on February 15, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    […] John’s post that prompted all this. John’s blog. John on FB. […]

  9. Terry Krenz on February 19, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I understand so completely. My husband has been by my side for a five year battle with ovarian cancer. We are treading the “deep waters” and are on the brink of no longer having the energy to tread. We made it to Cozumel yesterday for a reprieve. I want to weep, for him, for me, that we will get rest. As Isak Dinesen says, “The cure for anything is saltwater-tears, sweat or the sea”. I am hoping for some deep rest and some of the cure of saltwater. Thank you for your beautiful writing. I stumbled upon it in the midst of the cancer battle. It is life affirming in its honesty. Terry Krenz

    • Dr Lynn Schriner on February 20, 2017 at 12:43 am

      Terry, I have been where you are. Battered and buffeted by the waves. I am holding you up in a prayer for peace and renewal. Steady as she goes. Life can change in an instant. We all need to live as if this is our last day. Whether we are here for another moment or a hundred years. God Bless you dear one

  10. Terry J Krenz on February 19, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    I understand so completely. My husband has been by my side for a five year battle with ovarian cancer. We are treading the “deep waters” and are on the brink of no longer having the energy to tread. We made it to Cozumel yesterday for a reprieve. I want to weep, for him, for me, that we will get rest. As Isak Dinesen says, “The cure for anything is saltwater-tears, sweat or the sea”. I am hoping for some deep rest and some of the cure of saltwater.
    Thank you for your beautiful writing. I stumbled upon it in the midst of the cancer battle. It is life affirming in its honesty.

  11. Megan Willome (@meganwillome) on February 28, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Love this: “Maybe some of the out-of-sync-ness in marriage comes from two people who love each other sharing an experience but sharing it in distinctly different ways and then thinking the other could never really understand but they do, sorta, but it takes mucho work to find a common language around it and sometimes it simply feels like too much work because you’re treading, treading in the deep waters, and you’re tired.”

    It took a long time. It look getting to a place where we weren’t having to tread water. And it took realizing that we can experience the same thing “in distinctly different ways.” I wish that aspect of marriage was talked about more.

    P.S. I love the Psalms for being about everything in general and nothing in particular.

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