Single Again… After It’s Gone, The Tree

By Kenneth Stepp

The aftermath, that’s a clear statement that something has ended and something has changed. My life has gotten so good at turning on a dime, and changing directions quickly. But there are some things that when they happen, require time to think, I call this processing. Small things, I am agile with, big things, I pause, I do nothing until I know what to do. I think it’s fair to say that my motives, most of the time, are based on what is best for me. I said most, not always. If we were all honest, I believe we would all fall on that side.

Example, I had a friend, a real one, for decades, I called her my best friend. Our history was different. We began as lovers decades ago, then lived together, and were in love. Decades later, after we were both married and then divorced from other people, we decided to become best friends. The love was there, but as I’ve written about it in the past, it was more elegant than any I had ever experienced before.

She became, to me, like a sister I adored. I would have laid my life down for her. Friends for life… This is where you hear the needle on the record player scratch across the record. I received a call from her, her new boyfriend had a problem with our relationship. It took me weeks to process. I suddenly realized how one sided our relationship was. I made it impossible for her to ever contact me again. Removing people can be beneficial to you.

Another example was someone I gave my all to twice. We were growing towards real love, in my opinion. I recently found out that she was unfaithful the entire time. The whole, cake and eating it too scenario. We tried twice, then many months later, I hoped we could be friends, after processing what happened. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the lies. This girl’s profession of her belief in God was so convincing, she use to be a copastor with her husband. Just another phoney, but how was I to know that?  I did the same with her. People who waste your time and tug on your heart at the same time, do not deserve you. Remove them after you figure things out.

I use to own a very large business. I had friends. You know the type, when you are rolling in money, they are the type that accumulate in the corners of your life. They really seem to be everywhere. One day my accountant saw some irregularities. I asked her to go deeper. It turned out that over one million dollars had been stolen and covered up. It was the beginning of the recession and it crippled us. My wife and I lost everything, eventually we lost each other. I had 3 friends I had helped in business, all three were successful, I gave each one a sizable amount and trained them.None stepped up to help me restart. I was damaged goods.

Friendships take commitments if they are real. They are two way streets or they aren’t real, they are simply, one taking and one giving. Look at the relationships you have today. If the superficial ones are one sided. That’s ok. If the ones perceived by you are real, stop and objectively evaluate them. I write mostly about my journey as a single man in a sea of confusion. I don’t always have it together and my writing reflects that.

If you lost your spouse to death or divorce, you are reinventing yourself, we all have to. My point in this article is to invent a better you, a you that makes you proud, a you that knows you are good, kind, and aware of the direction you are traveling.

Many many years ago, I created an email address for God. I created when I was raising kids, married, and much wealthier than today. To be able to look back and read the emails I sent him back then is incredible. As I looked back, I see me reinventing myself several times.

Today, I care more. I care about some things too much, people too. But I like who I have become. I think I am stronger. Have the strength to remove the dead weight in your life. Like pruning a tree. Pruning makes any tree stronger, you take the parts off, that are only taking nutrients but providing nothing and the plant becomes stronger and more vibrant. Be a tree…

“When people don’t tell you the truth what they really are saying is they don’t value you or their relationship with you enough to be honest.” 
― Shannon L. Alder