There were a few of you who asked me why I said it was humbling for me to ask for donations on behalf of Noah’s stepdad Chappy yesterday.
This has been a serious two month internal battle of mine, and I don’t know that the answer is an easy one, and even if this paints me in a less than perfect light, perhaps discussing it openly and honestly might start a beneficial conversation.
I’m not sure I can layout the entire internal battle I’ve had, so maybe I’ll list the main dynamics of it. I’m betting you’ll see why the battle existed for me and how it may have been shaped the way it was.
Dynamic #1: My son. Noah. He loves me. He loves his stepdad. He has a heart full of love like few people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. And I don’t say that lightly. He is an incredibly special boy. To know him is to know that.
Dynamic #2: Noah’s mom. Andrea. My ex-wife. Chappy’s wife. Our marriage was more than just a little troubled. Our time since it ended has seen its serious ups and downs. I have always strived to respect her as Noah’s mom, even though in truth I wish I had the option to never see her or talk to her again. It’s a dynamic that exists with most co-parents.
Dynamic #3: Chappy. Andrea’s husband. Noah’s stepdad. We always got along. We always respected each other. We always supported each other. Rare were the times we didn’t, and it was minor when conflict arose. Until recently, that is. As you’ll remember, several months ago I told you things had gone downhill in our co-parenting relationship in a hurry, and at the time of Chappy’s accident, we were all getting along again, but we were still healing for sure.
Dynamic #4: My beliefs. Andrea’s beliefs. I’ll try to sum this up in less than twelve pages. Andrea believes in faith, and miracles, and that God will reward her for that faith by giving her the miracles she looks for. I don’t believe in miracles. Not really. I believe miraculous things happen, but I don’t believe (or disbelieve really) that they come from God. I have a hard time believing that something like Chappy’s healing is a miracle when two parents with equal or even more faith can be kneeling at their child’s bed in the next room over, praying with all the fervor in the world, and their faith is, for some reason, inferior. But that’s just me. They’re my beliefs. Hers are hers. And we have a child together who we both want to be raised with an understanding of our own beliefs.
Dynamic #5: The circumstances surrounding Chappy’s injury. Chappy did something really stupid. He went way too fast down a dangerous road with no helmet. It is what it is. He pretty much always wore one, but that day he for some reason didn’t. And because of that, his wife has had to pay. His family has had to pay. Neighbors, friends, and relatives have had to pay. I have had to pay. And my child has had to pay. Dearly. I can’t tell you how many times my heart broke as I watched my own child break down in uncontrollable sobs for how much he missed that man, and every time I got just a little bit angrier and a little bit more resentful about it all.
Dynamic #6: The responsibility I feel to be completely responsible with all of you when it comes to asking for help or donations for others. I have a huge following on this blog. Any request I make is most likely going to be met with a huge response that will significantly change the lives of whoever I’m asking you to give your money to. This is evidenced by how many of you opened up your hearts and immediately and without question gave tens of thousands of dollars when that dog bit me last year. It also is evidenced by the Fish sisters you helped take care of in equal ways. I take my responsibility very seriously, and I don’t ask often or for situations I’m not personally tied to.
Dynamic #7: I have a want for things not to be easy for Andrea. This is where the most douchey of all my doucheyness comes in. Andrea and I are divorced. Yes, we get along most of the time. Yes we respect each other most of the time. But deep down, I feel like I give and give and that everything I’ve given is enough. I don’t feel like I owe her one thing more and it conflicts me or even angers me when my hard work and dedication and effort continually make her life easier. I told you it was douchey. I also told you I was going to be honest about this.
Dynamic #8: I strive to be a good person. And a giving person. And a generous person. I work so hard to help others not be defined by their mistakes and their pasts. I do my best to promote kindness and love and acceptance. All that is important to me.
And so, reading those eight dynamics, I’m betting you can see why I haven’t asked for donations on Chappy’s behalf sooner, and why I even stopped blogging about it shortly after I started. The conflict within me was too great. It was easier for me to just not.
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