If My Intentions Are Misunderstood

I want to tell you about the last time I was in love.

I was in love with you and you were in love with me.

Although we actually first met through a mutual friend, we actually-actually met in a class. It was 2005 and we were both juniors in college. There was some usual make-conversation conversation. We remembered meeting before. We had lived 159 literal steps away from each other for two years. One day I asked you “So what color is your hair, anyway?”

The year was a blur of almost-happens and anticipation. One, officially official date – which was wonderful. Many more pseudo-dates, which were even more wonderful. One manifesto – which you proudly printed out and hung on your wall. Remember laying down in the street? Remember the kid puking during the movie after shot gunning a 2-liter? Remember when I chased you and lassoed you with my scarf? In the end you decided you needed more time. I would wait. And I waited.

I once left you a straw. You cried.

Things seemed to be coming to a climax that summer. You beat me over the head with a pillow a few times. I can still feel your hand not-touching-but-almost touching mine. I was sure, in the Fall, that would be our time – that you would be ready. I was waiting for you.

I admit I had hang-ups. I had some serious fears – which I couldn’t even talk about directly. That was my fault. But I was sure something new was starting and something new was happening. There were changes happening in you, too.

But you met someone else. There were other reasons – some which didn’t make sense, others which came from miscommunication or misunderstanding, and others I cannot even guess about. But the core is you met someone else that summer.

That began a year of disbelief and frustration and devastation.

There were other girls that came into my life, sure. Those are other kinds of what-ifs. But they weren’t you. The parts didn’t fit. The melody didn’t resolve. Maybe I could never really “go for it” with them because I was still stuck in a haze of incredulity? It could be. Maybe my guard was up – walls were built and garrisons manned. Maybe it was instinctual hesitation – like the anticipated electrical shock that stops your hand from touching your car door? Maybe I just didn’t have my shit together and it was, thankfully, palpable that I didn’t. Either way it ended up working out great for a lot of people. I love them dearly, just not like I loved you. Maybe all this is an excuse for why I’m alone.

Through the years you and I kept in contact. Mostly online, sometimes not. You broke up with so-and-so, who I always hated because I thought he took the life out of you. I remember the midnight stream of texts when you told me it was done – I was sitting alone in a booth. Sometimes we talked about life and what we were doing. Sometimes we rehashed the past. I wished I was in a better place in those times, but life was hard for me. Incredibly hard. But you still got me. Chemistry? That’s something. That’s something that can’t be denied. That’s what made all of this so hard.

We both had different versions of what happened – or what didn’t happen – between us back then. But the latest understanding was seemingly simple. We just had different worldviews. An irreconcilable difference of faith. This wasn’t always so, but now it was.

My memorizes of us were memorialized and crystalized and even took form in art – terrible art, which you were always such a gracious critic of – and they were shining examples to me of life, love, happiness, growth, change, tenderness, fun, and faithfulness. If there was something good there, I wanted to distill it down, and carry it forward. And I tried.

Oh, I tried.

One time you texted me an apology for the way things ended with us. I tried to save that text. But it’s now lost. Lost, like so many other things. But thank you for that apology. It was an act of kindness, if not mercy.

One time you and I talked about how we missed each other. We almost made plans to visit. I think you were going to bake for me. But life gets hectic. I was having the latest-worst-year-of-my-life year. Worse than the year before. Worse than the year before that.

I was going to stop by your apartment once. I was up there – in the vagueness of Chicagoland – on other business. I was frustrated. I wanted to see you. What would you do if I were standing across from you? Sharing space with you? Where would it have gone – that night? A flat tire put that irrational plan on ice. I had thought about making that drive hundreds of times before that – sometimes on a nightly basis – ever since college. I never did. I wish I was more irrational.

Then somewhere out of the blue you were dating.

I was surprised. Life goes fast for other people.

It always goes slowly for me.

Then you were engaged. Life goes fast for other people.

It always goes slowly for me.

And then we were disconnected.


You explained that, out of respect, you and your fiancé removed past romantic interests. This seemed fair to me. I simply replied “OK” – actually “KO.” I use “KO” as sort of an ongoing reference joke that nobody seems to understand.

I didn’t get the last word. Didn’t get a defense. I didn’t even get a warning. That was that, no discussion, no negotiation. Maybe you couldn’t have gone through with it had you talked about it with me. Maybe you could have. I must have typed a dozen replies in that message box that I never sent.

I think this hurt the most – out of everything.

Just like that – you were gone.

This disconnection happened at the cusp of some big changes in my life. Changes I couldn’t talk to you about. Things I was excited about that I couldn’t be excited about with you. I think you would have been happy for me. There were things I was scared about, too. It would have been nice to talk about it.

I don’t know if you noticed or saw things from afar. I bet you didn’t. You have more integrity than that – to lurk in the shadows when you said you would not. What I do know is that your wedding happened. I didn’t make that drive, although I could have, I suppose. If I was terrible. Sometimes I wish I was terrible.

I also know that those “irreconcilable differences” were overcome. I admit, I’m resourceful in finding things out when I’m desperate. And low. And drinking too much. I wish I didn’t know.

You’re worshipping at a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church – the denomination that’s practically been a second home to me. The only kind of church I’ve felt comfortable at for the last ten years. We were so different… but not different now. Maybe now you’re more like how I had once been.

It seems ironic, even whimsical. There was a bridge crossed but I didn’t have any part of it. I was angry. I was jealous. And I was ashamed about feeling like that. Life can be funny, sad, strange, and even beautiful all at the same time.

I always thought things would shake out for us in the end.

I always thought there were always possibilities.

But there aren’t.

Where are you?

Are you out there?

I wondered if this is reaching you.

But there’s nobody out there to reach.

You’re gone. I’m still here.


“If I stay true to my intention of being honest with myself and with you, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I miss you and I still love you and I feel like you “got” me. And if our differences were reconcilable, we would still be together. You’re a great person. You have spontaneity and creativity, humor and fun, respect, love and honesty at your core. And whoever doesn’t love that, is crazy.”
– You, October 13, 2011



The Book Of Chad

On Technology


A watched download never finishes,
a forgotten about dialog box remains hidden.


A printer never works on a deadline,
but an obscure password remains secure.


A well crafted post doesn’t get likes,
an untruthful meme gets a thousand shares.


Through laziness, the inbox balloons;
because of idle sorting, the delete key is unleashed.


On Worship Bands


The rhythm section always plays inappropriately during soundcheck;
a drummer and bass player always make noise.


Trust in the sound booth with all your heart
and lean not on your own hearing and preferences.


As a dog returns to his toy,
so a guitarist returns to his effects pedals.


Whoever runs the slides finds no redemption;
whoever repeats a slide in error sees many faces but has few friends.


On Personality Types And Leadership


In all your ways acknowledge the ENTJ,
and he will make all your ways straight.


The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
So who can understand ENFPs?


Where two or three INTJs are gathered together,
a new idea is with them.


One or two INTJs may disagree on a hunch,
but an ISTJ has data.


A plan by two ISTJs cannot be unraveled.
A gaggle of 3 ENFPs is not easily broken.


Oh, the depth of the randomness and sentiment
and internal drama of the INFJ!  How untraceable are his intuitive leaps
and how intricate are his internal dialogues!


For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the ENTJ,
“plans to prevent you from harming my plans.
Plans that will give me results and a future.”


To the INTJ, faith is being sure of what he hopes for
and certain of data that he does not even care to see.


“Come to me, all you who are confused and disorganized,
and I will give you spreadsheets,” so says the ISTJ.


And we know that in all things the INTJ works for the good
of those who love him, who do things
according to his purposes and plans.


“For my previous thoughts are not my thoughts,
neither are my previous ways my ways,
or maybe they are,” declares the Perceiver.


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, so fix that,” declares the Judger.


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways.  Thank God,” declares the Four.






High School Advice…Sort Of.

So I’ve spent a lot of time in high schools talking with high school students lately. I give them advice about college, but there are other things I wish I could tell them. Collected wisdom from my many misadventures. Like…

If your brother has the opportunity to take the Homecoming Queen to Homecoming and instead takes some random girl, punch him in the face. Random girl might set in motion a chain of events that completely alters the next 2 to 3 years of your life. You know – like ‘Butterfly Effect’. Punch. Him. Right. In. The. Face.

I recommend listening to less music about isolation (The Wall), death (Black Sabbath), and precipitation that happens during the month of November (Guns N’ Roses) and listening to happier, shallower, and much more current Top 40 music. You’ll thank me later.

If you have braces, that sucks. *Hug*

If you’re currently on Accutane, or rather one of the generics still marketed in the United States, I’m sorry. It treats acne and is also used to fight cancer. So that’s fun. I recommend DEMANDING to be put on an antidepressant. Or start drinking underage. Because Accutane isn’t fun. Your joints ache. Your face hurts. Your skin peals. It’s terrible. It also stunts your growth, so, yay.

I recommend securing your very own pad of hall passes. The name of the game is plausible deniability. Most hall monitors and faculty will not ever stop you if you have that yellow/pink/blue paper in your hand as you confidently walk about freely. This worked for me in many-a-jam my last two years of high school. The key is using the illicit pass to get to the safety zone – any teacher you can have a reasonable reason for visiting. Use the pass to get to them and use them to write a new pass so you can be late to wherever you were supposed to be in the first place. This is especially helpful in January and February during your senior year, when you’ve already been accepted and may have already deposited to your school of choice. It’s not quite Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but it will keep those tardies off your records. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Skip more, preferably late in the Spring or earlier in the Fall, when theme parks are still open but are not as busy. I should have done this. Nobody has ever said “I wished I had made it to every single US Government class” and “I really wished I saw the morning announcements.” A good excuse would be food poisoning – you can’t go to the doctor if you’re supposedly in the bathroom for 12 hours, there’s nothing they could do anyway, and it’s gone in a day or two. I’m sure a life-long family doctor would be amicable to writing an excuse note for such a good reason as this. The school would not want to hear details, either. And since you’re in the top 10% of your class (right?) they will not be suspicious. Use judiciously.

It’s very cute the way you and that guy hold hands in the hallway. But girl – no. Just break up. It’s pointless. Every year, in every dorm, in every college and university in America, there’s some freshman guy or some freshman girl in the hallway or stairwell talking to their significant other (who is hundreds of miles away) on the phone. They will not look like they’re having fun. They are not having fun. Don’t be one of them. Don’t let that sweet, sweet boy or girl be one of them, either. Just. Just say no. Let it go.

Take some art classes and get a B-. Why not?

If you have even the *slightest* opportunity to drop everything and move to California, then do it. You can always un-do this decision. But if you don’t do it you’ll spend 10 years half-regretting and half-wondering what could have been if you did something crazy.

Go out for a play. Sure, you might not be any good. But guess what? Neither is anyone else in your school. If they were really good they wouldn’t be doing “Our Town” in a high school auditorium. So give it a chance!

You should go to Homecoming without a date. Much more fun.

The same is *not* true for Prom.

Take Spanish.

Go to the volleyball games. Volleyball is the least appreciated spectator sport in America. It’s fast paced, easy to follow, and best of all – short. Mercifully short. Unlike girls soccer. Or track. Or cross country.

(This was tongue in cheek, mostly.)



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