Monday, May 24, 2010

Dear Theodore

Dear Teddy Roosevelt,

I want to be famous and for everyone to love me, but I don't want to see people. Is that possible? I'd prefer total isolation. I can interact with the world, but it cannot touch me.

I'm 29 years old and I already made my big push at life. I failed dramatically. Teddy, you told me it was better to dare mighty things even though I might fail. Screw you Teddy, you were wrong. I let a lot of people down. And this is who I am now. I'm a failure.

Everywhere I go I hear the questions that people aren't asking. I see them in their eyes. They say they love me but I can hardly handle the disappointment on their faces.

I'm an approval addict Teddy. This is why I feel compelled to retreat from the world of shame that I'm drowning in. No more relationships. No more acquaintances. No more public persona.

The problem is, I'm still an approval addict. I desperately want people to love, respect, and admire me. I'd do almost anything to be known and to be liked. Were you an addict Mr. President?

This is why I'm starting a blog Teddy. It's my attempt at connecting with the world. It's my stage. It's a platform where I can speak to the void. I can convince myself that I'm influencing something. I can impress - maybe. Write - freely. I can be likable - occasionally. Lovable - hopefully. Redemptive? - doubtful.

But at least it's safe. I cannot be looked at with those eyes. I can censor posts that hurt my feelings. I'm in control and the world cannot wound me anymore. Not again. No more risk taking. No more failing.

Here I am Teddy Roosevelt, one of those poor timid souls living in that grey twilight that you talked about. I've known victory and I've known defeat Teddy, and at least for a while I'll take the twilight.


~ Matthew


  1. Hey Matt, just happened to catch on fb that you had a blog. Maybe it was the Lord.

    Please allow me to encourage you. We all fail, it doesn't make us failures, it makes us fallible. It is where you go from your fall that counts.

    The enemy would choose for our hearts to become hard, our sadness to engulf, our guilt and shame to take over.

    Our Father would choose that we look to him to cover us, to love us, be given the glory as our eyes light back up with his redemption and righteousness.

    I'm truly sorry, Matt, that things went wrong. Please be encouraged--all can be made right, it just has to be walked out.

    Hopeful, and praying for you and Danielle--Vic

  2. Ezekiel looked out over a valley. It was a valley of deadness. Lives lived and lost. Dreams once lived ... then lost. Real human people who once breathed and felt the exuberance of life. Now, nothing. A valley of them. A big pile of rubbage. Bones that showed at one time there was life. A reminder of better days. Not like the days he was living in now.

    Can these dead bones live again?

  3. Good to hear from you matthew - thanks for reaching out.
    I'm pretty out of the loop and honestly don't know much of what's happened, but from a distance I've been very impressed with you guys. It takes guts to stay in the "fishbowl" here, to stay and submit - it's good.
    It doesn't seem to me that you're starting over - God's fixing something in your foundation so that you can go forward. And that required breaking you down to expose the flaw I guess. It's temporary.
    I know what you mean about the questions in people's eyes. But know that more often than not they're not really there. You'll feel them long after people are thinking them.
    I have really enjoyed getting to know your wife a little. I'd love to hang out with you both if you ever feel like seeing people. I get pretty lonely over here :)
    Know that I still admire you very much and truly see this as just a step in the process for you.
    Keep writing.

    your friend, Sarah

  4. Hey Matt. I'm not on FB often, but happened to catch your blog this morning. Biblically speaking you're right on track. Remember Hebrews 11? Everyone of those hero's of the faith had flaws (okay, so we don't know about Enoch, but he was human, so I'm making an assumption based on that). But despite and I daresay, because of each one's failings God used them to glorify Himself and influence generations of sinners "to come boldly to the throne of grace to find help in their time of need."
    When I was 19 years old, I conducted the pit orchestra for (ironically) the play "How to Succeed in Business w/o Really Trying". It was a pretty big accomplishment for me...until curtain call. As I ran on stage with the others to take my bow, I tripped on a taped down cable and fell flat on my front of around a thousand people, who by the way roared with laughter.
    I immediately went back stage and locked myself in the girls bathroom and cried.
    Kid stuff right? Forward 14 years...........
    Houghton Academy...5 years of pain, exposed failure, isolation, recovery and redemption. Looking back on it, I've since called it my Grace Seminary. I'm still enrolled, now as a mother of teens and young adults.
    During the middle of those years there, Jeff and I would desperately drive to Full Gospel when we could get away from the dorm on a Sunday and one message stands out as probably saving my life and marriage. Pastor Mason was talking about how wheat is threshed. It's done on a treeless, exposed hilltop so as the thresher thrusts in his pitchfork and lifts the good wheat mixed with the tares, the wind carries away the chaff. What remained was the heavier heads of grain.
    That's really all I remember of that message, but it gave me hope.
    Matt, you may be in a threshing season. But what remains is the weight of glory God has placed in you and Danielle.
    "I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt."
    "Tend my lambs."
    "Shepherd my sheep."
    "Tend my sheep."
    "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his way. Though he stumble, he shall not utterly fall down. For the Lord upholds Him with His hand".
    "Fear not, for I will uphold you with My Righteous Right Hand."

    I love you Matt!
    Your old friend,
    Mary Alice
    II Corinthians 12:7-10

  5. Is your masterpiece already attempted? At 29, have you reached as high as you can?

    Sometimes, the thoughts and comments of others don't heal the wound. They are nice. But when people tell you to get up, and they don't know what knocked you down, how can they really know that you can?

    Those eyes that you speak off...You are wrong -its not disapproval, its empathy. We feel so bad, and we don't know what to say.

    Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages."

    I don't know the full story. Honestly, I don't really care. But here's what I do know: Just because the curtain fell, don't be so sure that its the end if the play. Your next act might be about to begin.

  6. I also once took a risk, took a chance on life. I had it all.. tons of friends, college degree, no debt.. every reason in the world to feel loved and happy. Sitting on the verge of beginning the American dream I was sidetracked by a movement, a man, who decided he would put his neck out on the line to try and show me that there is more to my life then I knew.

    I was inspired to take this risk after hearing this man speak.. telling me to open my eyes from the status quo.. to look at life through a new lens that didn't include career, possessions, or fame. It was through what this man that I discovered the importance of life. It was through this man that I discovered how meaningless my life had become.

    After two years spent following this dream I disappointed many people. I disappointed friends and family in America to try to impress other people in China. I disappointed friends and leaders in China because I wasn’t good enough to be there. I was supposed to be a missionary, but at times I felt like a worse person then I was before it all started. But now when I look back to the beginning, to where it all started, I can say it was well worth the cost. My previous life of popularity, success, and selfishness pales in comparison to what my life is now. Now my life is lived for one thing, the invisible spirit we call God who guides and directs me, who forgives me, who looks at me like he looks at His own son Jesus. And I think back to how it all started.. to where it began. I think of the man who took a risk for not only my life, but for the lives of many young people like me. I hope he knows that due to his risk, I have found my life.

    Loved? Yes

    Redeemed? No need

    Failure? Are you serious?

    Thanks Matt –

    Love Caleb

  7. John and Beth RussellMay 25, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    Dear Matt,
    I just want to reach out and say something. Oswald Chambers said, "We must be squeezed like grapes in order to become broken bread and poured out wine for Jesus." It hurts and it isn't pleasant but the Lord knows exactly what we need in order to conform us to His image. We're praying for you and Danielle. We aren't disappointed; we are empathetic. Love & prayers, John & Beth Russell

  8. I have no idea what this is about, but I think everybody can kind of relate. We all make mistakes, public and private. I like how you're writing and so I think I'll stick around.