Man, this has been so heavy on my heart since I began writing my next book. I re-read ‘The Man Who Didn’t Stop Running’ a few times to see if the way I initially took the story was going to be powerful enough. It wasn’t, so I re-wrote it. But, that’s not why we’re here.
Every time I re-read the first book, the arrogance screams at me and revealed the biggest mistake: I thought I knew everything about relationships. No, for real. I’ve been writing about relationships and a weird (sometimes forced) infatuation with love since I was in high school. This is back in the days of roaming the halls at DeMatha where my sports dreams were failing along with my grades in theology, but my mind was obsessed with the future. Music and writing were super strong for me at that age, those passions had just became toddlers and were walking around everywhere. I was obsessed with the vision of professional entertainment, imagining myself on the radio in my hometown, spending my entire day creating. At the end of these detailed daydreams (usually right before lunch), I would always imagine myself coming home from a long day and being with my wife and children.
Even when my gridiron passions were alive and well, I still had visions of winning football games and kissing my wife and kids afterwards. I worked at FEDExField for about 4 years in my teens and worked in the tunnels and locker rooms for the visiting teams. Michael Vick, Terrell Owens, Ben Roethlisberger, and other future Hall of Famers would walk into the locker room with their perfectly tailored suits, hit the field in the unbelievably detailed uniforms, and then back out of the locker room with their suits on. The only difference as they exited was that instead of just getting back onto the bus, some players would go outside and greet their families. Every Sunday (sometimes Monday) it would be an unforgettable sight to see these players embracing their families. I would hold on to those visions in my head all throughout my school week.
I want that.
Even unto this very moment, my mind is still flooded with those visions. My mind is still enamored with the idea of saying “I do,” and having someone to hear your pain and passion while listening to theirs. I still close my eyes and see myself with two kids in my arms back stage or, shouting out my family at an event, pointing at them and embarrassing them a little bit (I’m corny, this isn’t new). I mean like, I still am very much infatuated with love.
But, it’s a little different now because there is a process to get to that point. Love has layers; I didn’t know that. I thought you can just live and love, I never focused my attention on the work that’s involved. I never understood that you have to cry in the mirror a few thousands nights before you can stand up at the altar and enjoy being there.
You see, when I wrote ‘The Man Who Didn’t Stop Running’ I was single, mingling, and pretty much telling a very surface level story of love. I was two years removed from a relationship but colored with love. We’re not talking about the storyline or the characters, we’re literally talking about the fundamentals that were shared in the story; the underlying message of love’s language. It was elementary and naive.
True love, like what was present in the book, can certainly happen but it’s naive to think that it can be accomplished without work.
I thought I knew everything about relationships but I really knew nothing. When we think we know everything, we don’t leave any room for growth (shout out to Lewis Howes whose book ‘The Mask of Masculinity’ helped me realize that).
Once I really stopped to analyze that, the next book just began to flow out of my fingers and I’ve been typing every since. I hope you digest it and can enjoy it for real, the message inside will be a few layers deep just like love and relationships.