Tag Archives: Love

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



A Guy Named C.H.A.D.

From The Goodbye Party –


A Guy Named Chad


I want to tell you a story about A Guy Named Chad.

My first year on staff This Guy Named Chad came into the Champaign Chapter.

I was assigned to work with A Guy Named Chad a few times.

One of those times was at the Urbana conference. We had a student leadership track and Chad was in my track there. I think my impression of Chad then was he was a good guy, missional student, going to make an impact on the Champaign chapter. But I did not get a sense then of the passion and commitment to communication and in particular with large groups that A Guy Named Chad had.

My next episode of Chad was at the Metamorphosis conference, which most of you know as Fall Conference now. Chad was working with his events team and talking about what should happen at large group and Chad just gets…enraged. He was so mad! He was so upset because the large group team was not understanding a vision he had. It was a missional thing, it was something he wanted to be done and done well and the other people just weren’t on board.

So I ran into Chad pacing outside the room and I’m look “oooh, what’s going on there?”

So I ask Chad “Chad, what’s happening?”

And Chad proceeds to be this far away from me (about 18 inches) yelling about what’s happening. “Well this is going on and this is not happening and..!”

And I’m like “Whoa!”

But luckily I don’t mind a good fight. So I stepped in. So that was the beginning of the bond between Chad and I. And it was the beginning of understanding how passionate Chad is about the things he cares about and how invested he is. His ability to work with others has increased quite a bit – and his ability to hold the rage in and process it differently has changed. But that passion is still true.

And so that’s my favorite memory of Chad, him sort of letting loose in that argument created a bond.

So in honor of Chad I’ve created a little creative communication myself. Hopefully it will be a memorable one. It’s an acrostic to help us remember things about Chad.


First of all…C
Chad is Creative in Communications.

So, I told you of his passion for large groups. At one point while he was a student Chad actually dressed up as a wrestler and was so committed to that theme that he wrestled at large group.

Chad goes on adventures and takes lots of pictures.
Chad has and maintains a website.

I remember one particularly creative communication he made about how all romantic comedies are basically one, making a concept map between romantic comedies.

And I just have to tell you – I’ve known Chad to be interested in a few different ladies over the years, and seen his creative communications in dating. Chad is quite a pro of thinking of creative ways to care or invest. One particular time, a certain girl he was interested in, had some sort of problem with the plumbing at her house she was renting, and Chad actually – wait! This isn’t creative communication!

But that leads into my next one…

Hart’s Got heart.

Chad is quite the romantic. So Chad waited at this house until the technician came and did the work and everything went okay. In another incident he purchased a pizza without any cheese or other things that this person was allergic to so that this person could enjoy Papa Del’s pizza, too.

He’s also – I suppose romantically, too – but he’s also so loyal. Once Chad is on your side and Chad is your friend he is your friend forever. He’s totally committed that things go well for you and that you stay connected.

And Chad cares very well for students. This student David became a Christian in the ministry and Chad discipled over the years. It’s just one example of a relationship Chad invested in and expressed deep empathy and compassion. It’s not always readily on the surface but it’s there and students that get to know Chad can feel it and know that Chad is on their side.

Chad Hart is A True Individual.

What ways don’t we know this?

First of all the affinity for Guns N’ Roses. Other people have that, too, but he’s held it for a long time. People make Christmas cards and birthday cards, but what does Chad do? He makes New Years Cards for people. Also who socializes, but Chad, by bringing his computer to a table and doing other creative communications late at night at retreats while people play games around him? An individual. And who shows their emotional agreement at a talk or something else by grunting?

That is Chad. A True Individual.

And finally…

Chad Hart is Dedicated To A Quality Product.

I remember Chad when he was a student leader being at The Loft all night editing video for large group and wanting to see these things turn out perfectly.

I remember Chad putting into a ton of work into something we still use, which is our Chapter Events Team Manual. He wanted everyone else to learn how to do the structure and use it well. Brittany says thanks and Sam would, too, if he were here. All the people following Chad have picked that up and learned how to do it because of Chad’s work on this quality product.

He really has a huge commitment to doing things well and doing whatever he’s doing all in.

All which we appreciate and Guns N’ Roses appreciates… and we’re so grateful for A Guy Named Chad.



Thanks, Katie. I appreciate it.




You see, heartache is like an education for a man. We don’t really grow up or graduate until a woman breaks your heart. That is your diploma. If you get through that, Jack, you a MAN.”


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