I began watching the first season of TNT’s series, Men of a Certain Age tonight. The show follows the lives of three men well into their 40’s. The character played by Ray Romano runs a party store and is in the midst of a divorce.
Romano walks around in a daze much of the time. In one scene, he leaves his old home after dropping his son off only to return a few seconds later asking his soon-to-be former spouse a few questions. I could tell it didn’t matter what he asked because he wasn’t listening to her answers.
Similar to how a song can transport me back in time, the same happened as I watched this scene. As Romano left his former home and walked to his car without an ounce of emotion, I thought to myself, “I know that look because I’ve been there.”
The first nineteen years of my life were spent in a family with four siblings. That was followed by two years attached to another missionary in Germany. And then nearly six years in a marriage that failed before children arrived.
I woke up one morning in a tiny apartment in downtown Seattle and found myself alone. Alone for the first time in my life. I stayed on the couch staring at the ceiling trying to come up with one good reason I should get up.
I opened the windows to allow the cool Seattle air to circulate through my living room thinking that might bring some clarity to my situation. I slept on an old couch because I didn’t own a bed, and I couldn’t get that fact out of my mind.
That was the low point. I needed a bed, but had little money. So I called my father who sent me $300 to purchase a mismatched mattress and box springs. I borrowed a friend’s truck and hauled it myself. I know it doesn’t sound like much. It certainly wasn’t much to look at. But it was a start. I considered it a blessing that I had a place to sleep.
And what my father doesn’t know till now is that I talked the salesperson down to $100. The remaining $200 was spent on groceries and keeping the electricity on that month.
I don’t often reflect back on this time of my life. Maybe there’s a part of me that feels it will disappear if I don’t attempt to recall it.
The show tonight reminded that many of these experiences still reside close to the surface. And maybe it’s not such a bad thing that I remember how I pulled myself off the couch and began to take small steps towards a better life.