…And I Feel Fine

On occasion, I enjoy dipping my toes in the pool of conspiracy theories, cryptozoology, alien mythos and end-of-the-world predictions that this interesting time in history have to offer. While I do not support or embrace any of these, I am fascinated by the niche cultures that surround them, and much of the resulting literature.

In case you were unaware, the world was supposed to end (again) yesterday. Bear with me on this one.

“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.”  Revelation 12:1-2

This short yet descriptive passage relays a prophetic message from the Bible, and had many preparing for the end of the world over the course of the last few weeks. This, after so many other failed attempts by humans to predict the end of us, or at least the beginning of the end.

Logically, there is an argument here. Looking to the sky (the heavens), there is a fantastic alignment that took place yesterday. The constellation sat “above” the head of the constellation Virgo (a woman), and contains nine stars. Add to that the 3 planets intermixed and in improbably perfect alignment, and you have yourself a “crown of twelve stars.” The sun upon upon her breast, the moon at her feet, and Jupiter, also in alignment with all of these heavenly bodies, resting near the womb of the “woman.” The similarity between the description in Revelation and this cosmic event are rather striking.

Obviously, the world did not end.

In the spirit of it having been our “last day” on earth, however,  I opted to celebrate life. In a spur of the moment decision, I rounded up my Darling and our handsome Pup, and we traveled nearly two hours south to a park I have long wanted to visit.

I had learned of this place and it’s rare-for-Indiana beauty from a regular customer I serve at work, and have been wanting to check it out for weeks, but made excuse after excuse to put it off.

Lack of desire was not the issue. Instead, I too often adopt the idea that I can just get around to it later, and that there are more important things to do today.

After a beautiful couple of miles with two of my greatest companions, we opted to forgo responsibilities for just one Saturday afternoon, and enjoy every moment. Forgetting the need to rush home to laundry, dishes, homework and groceries, we explored a new town, tasted some delicious coffees at shops where we learned more about how we want to run our own shop someday and enjoyed conversation with locals. We even took a scenic joyride even farther south down into the beautiful Kentucky countryside.

Returning home, we stopped for ice cream at our favorite place in town and finally cozied up to watch the film “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” and enjoyed a simple dinner together.

All of this seems so simple, and yet we spend so many weekends bound up with obligations, responsibilities and an overwhelming guilt for spending money outside of our “needs” while we have yet to pay off student loans. Additionally, even when we are not too busy, we decide we are too tired and that it would be best to stay home and rest up for the week to come.

Sometimes though, it is okay – nay, necessary – to let go of all of this and just enjoy life.

This round of the “end of the world” has reminded me of the need to live every single day as if there may be no tomorrow. This is not to say we abandon all responsibilities or that we blow through our savings. This would be foolish. What we should abandon though, is worry about tomorrow, and any guilt about enjoying what opportunity we have right now.

If we are not doing that, then what is the point of living at all?

Let us work hard, live every day to the fullest, and simply trust God with tomorrow.

Much Love & Many Blessings

Brady J L Smith

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The Man in the Mirror

It is astonishing how much can change in a mere nine months.

There have been many events, adventures, hurts and joys that I have neglected to record in writing over that time, and I hope to get around to some of that in the near future, though right now there is something greater on my heart that must be addressed.

Reading over the last few posts that I had written here, I learned some things both about myself and from myself.

Of late, I have spent too many hours (or perhaps not enough) contemplating my increase in restlessness and boredom, failing to find any solution that seems to abate the symptoms in any lasting way.

Of late, I find myself more distant from people who truly matter, as well as more distant from hobbies and activities that I once reveled in, and lacking joy and wonder in all the great opportunities I have in life.

Of late, I find myself questioning much of what I have always believed about love, people, time, the world, and even in some ways, my God.

Of late, I find myself leaving many social interactions regretting words that soared from my mouth so effortlessly, wondering when I allowed myself to become so cynical, doubtful, angry, selfish, jealous and slanderous.

Of late, I am not who I want to be, and I don’t think I am even on a path heading the direction I want to go.

Don’t get me wrong, I love myself and am not here to self-deprecate; rather I am starting to recognize some pretty bad fruit falling to the ground, and that’s not cool.

The posts I was writing nine months ago speak of a man that was increasingly devoting his time to matters that mattered, as well as to a man seeking God.

The words, emotions, actions and lackthereof speak of a man who has been increasingly devoting his time to himself, and seeking himself. This is not who I want to be, nor to whom I am called be.

My life is objectively wonderful and without issue. My circumstances have not been more peaceful, more easygoing or more simple since before I finished high school, and my biggest worry was that I would have to dance at prom.

I have been incredibly happy, and yet I have grown incredibly bored.

To where have I let slip my heart and my time?

Reading the words written long ago by the man in the mirror, I am faced with the recognition that I have been better and that I can be better. I can and must choose to put God and others before myself once again, and give not only of my time but also of my love and my talents.

To blissfully exist in this carefully crafted world I have built for myself is simply not enough. In order to once again begin to live, it is time that I again begin to give.

Much Love & Many Blessings

Brady J L Smith

 

Give Time

The whole point of the Gospel of Jesus is to take care of and love others well.

In a culture driven by pursuit of one’s own glory, wealth and fame, the powerful teachings of a humble carpenter who lived so long ago are easy to overlook. Even easier to overlook are those very same people that Jesus called us to love. But what does this look like? How are we to “go, and make disciples of all nations?”

Deeper still, many of us wrestle with “why?” we should give of ourselves, potentially risking health, fortune or even just comfort.

To all my Christian brethren and sisthren(?) out there, the “why” can be most easily answered as such; the God that created the universe told you so.

To the above who are not content with obedience for obedience sake (check yourself before you wreck yourself… boom), or to those reading who don’t believe yet as I do, I offer this:

To give of oneself, of one’s own finances or time, is among the most fun and rewarding experiences in this life.

Simply taking the time out of your day to approach someone who seems down and out, such as a homeless person looking for food, or someone looking forlorn at your favorite coffee shop or library, can yield amazing interactions.

Today, while sitting at the library (with every intention of keeping to myself), a man came and sat right beside me (grumble). We sat in silence for a long while, and eventually he began to doze off. A library staff-member came through and tapped the guy on the shoulder, politely requesting that he stay awake or head out for the evening. During this interaction, I of course gave in to that insatiable desire of man known as curiosity. Turning to view this brief and mild commotion, the sleeping man and I made eye contact, and something in his eyes was crying out for… something. I didn’t know what, but I decided to do something about it.

Through the simple act of asking this man about his book, expressing interest in that which he is interested, something marvelous happened.

We began talking about this book, which naturally and gradually led into his interests in the sciences and politics and the ways in which he is seeking for a meaning in life. After a long and pleasant discussion of these matters, he opened up that he has been struggling in his faith, wrestling with God to find meaning. Part of this, I infer, results from the passing of his son only a year ago, which he began to share in detail with just a few more honest, caring questions. After years of suffering with bipolar disorder and a despicable medical scandal (long, personal story), this man’s son took his life out of shame, pain and lack of hope for a better life.

The man expressed to me that he is only now coming to terms, over a year later, and that he really has no one in his life to talk to about any of this. He expressed gratefulness for my  listening ear and open heart, and my willingness to care as such for a complete stranger.

All I had wanted today was to sit quietly in the library and read, but instead God used a willing heart to speak to this man and to demonstrate love and affection that, I think, helped to shift this stranger’s perspective on life, if even only a little bit.

The point of this, friends, is not to tell you of something that I have done or to bring any kind of glory to myself, but rather to reflect on the intimacy and love that God has designed each and every one of us to seek and to foster with one another, regardless of any filial bond or gain for oneself. I gained nothing more from this interaction than a reminder that hearts all around us are breaking under the weight of this life, and that we are called to love above all else.

The point of this, friends, is that the “how” of making disciples is simple and attainable: give of your time and seek to treat everyone you meet as a beautiful reflection of the God who created you.

In a culture and time that continuously spurs you on to take everything you can, keep to yourself and build your own utopia, I encourage you to stop. Look beside you and all around you, find someone that is in need, and stop taking. Give of yourself and your time. I promise, you will not be disappointed.

 

Much Love & Many Blessings,

Brady J. L. Smith

A Not-so-Shortcut to Donuts

It was just another typical Thursday night.

My dear friend Ryan and I were packing up the dingy old jungle-car, as we had for so long and fondly called it, for another of our weekly road-trips. The jungle-car was thus named due to its durability and origins. It had carried Ryan tens of thousands of miles, and myself probably thousands as well. Our vehicle of choice was an old white Kia, and it had been produced in some remote jungle in the heart of Vietnam, or so the story goes.

While standing in my driveway ensuring that we had all we needed (which equated to our wallets and a 12-pack of Canada Dry) we debated whether or not we should make this trip extra special. Ryan and I had a nasty habit of taking off on a road-trip every Thursday night that Summer, almost always determining where we would end up long after departure.

Once, we had driven north for a few hours with no real destination ever emerging. We made a similar trip, simply driving north from home, but had in mind to drive up to Muskegon, MI, which is essentially at the lower knuckle of the pinky of the state. trip almost deserves to be put into writing. But let’s not kid ourselves, it’s Muskegon.On still another of our Thursday nights, we took to Kankakee, IL simply because that’s where a good friend of ours determined we should go, based solely on an aimless choice. There were various others, but these were the highlights, at least in my memory. Over many Thursday nights, we visited many a town that we otherwise had no reason to visit, and consequently made some awesome memories together.

However, after many relatively short trips together, we had decided it was time for something more. There was only so much to see in Southern Michigan  and the areas within a few hours of our rural hometown. We wanted to do something big, but weren’t yet sure what that might look like. After some deliberation, we decided just to go with the flow like always.

We hit the road, fueled up and began our trip north. Along the way we discussed many facets of life from school and work to love and faith, all the while slurping down too many cans of our favorite soda pop. This was common on our trips, and of course one of my favorite parts. Three of my great passions are travel, friends and Canada Dry, after all.

After hours of driving and contemplating the intricacies of life together, we finally began to mull over how far we were actually prepared to go that night. With inspiration primarily derived from our driving drink of choice, we came to the conclusion that there was only one logical option. It was the end of Summer after all.

About three hours later, we found ourselves in a line of like-minded drivers and passengers waiting to cross the border – to Canada! As we approached the kiosk, a friendly man with an obvious accent invited us in upon presentation of our passports. We made it! Along the way, we had decided that it would be fun to try out a casino on the Windsor side of the border, as we weren’t of age yet to go to any in Indiana, and had both always wanted to try one out. By the time we arrived though, it was near midnight and we opted for something more low-key.

Shortly after crossing over, we made for what we thought to be a Canadian restaurant by the name of Tim Horton’s, where we picked up some delightful coffee and donuts. Given the sporadic nature of our trip, I had not considered to notify my bank that I would be out of country, and so my card was denied several times before the cashier determined to waive the charge and allow me my consumables on the house. Canadians really are as kind as the stereotypes say!

Following our pause for refreshment, Ryan got the great idea to check out “a Canadian grocery store,” since they were “bound to have stuff we couldn’t find in America.” It’s true. They really do. Though most is honestly just the same stuff we have but with a different brand name. As we departed the store, we decided that it was time to go home, so that Ryan might still get up for work the next day. Yup.

While all of this makes for a rather lackluster trip to another country, border patrol certainly had other ideas. This time, they weren’t so friendly (this was the Americans, of course). I do not recall how they knew that we hadn’t been across the way long, but they knew. The officer caught us off guard by inquiring exactly why we were only in Canada for just over an hour, to which we responded honestly. He didn’t seem to like “Tim Horton’s and the grocery store down the street.” In fact, he really didn’t like the Tim Horton’s part, as he pointed across the bridge to the tall neon sign designating the existence of the restaurant in Detroit. Oops.

With quickly failing tact Ryan began to explain to the officer that he had been working hard all Summer and that he had a “disposable income.” With that, we were escorted from the vehicle to a detainment facility while several officers and K-9 units searched the vehicle for drugs. Yup.

For nearly an hour we sat in the increasingly small, white room where a very unpleasant woman sat glowering down on us silently, apparently not thrilled to be babysitting two young miscreants like ourselves at 1am. We attempted small talk, but again this was the American side and she was not having it. The clock ticked by until we were finally given the all clear. I still remember the woman’s face scowling all the more when she learned that we had been telling the truth the whole time. Her eyes screamed “dumba***es” as she turned away and went back to her office.

At once we were escorted back to our vehicle and sent on our merry way. Within a few long hours, we made it back from Canada. What a grand adventure it was. I leave you with this:

canada-meme

Much Love & Many Blessings,

Brady J. L. Smith

The Insouciance of Faith

Amidst the rapid influx of change in my life, I began to find myself becoming more stressed out than I had been for some time, more tired and ultimately, feeling more distant from God.

While I managed to maintain my scheduled daily reading of scripture, and didn’t fail most days to make contact through prayer, I found myself at a loss. Left wondering “where God was” in all that was happening, and feeling slightly more than whelmed with all of it, I kept charging forward; I was determined to get it all ironed out.

Things have been awesome the last week or two.

Work seems to be going much more smoothly, despite the fact that two of my clients have been hospitalized, several refuse to disavow any relationship between their drug use and their circumstances, and at least four have routinely avoided all contact with me. Even just reading that incites some wonder in why I am not currently tearing my hair out from stress; I simply am just not.

I have successfully moved A into my new apartment, which has been an immense blessing, though it is not without its abundance of problems. The dishwasher does not work, the toilet will not flush correctly, the bathtub will not drain, the A/C did not work and I have been waging war on a seemingly endless army of carpenter ants that seem to know of an inordinate number of holes in my home defense. Sound stressful? I have had fun with all of it.

As Katherine and I prepare for our wedding day in less than a year, we now have to consider so many things that have never crossed our minds (or at least, mine); and I don’t mean only the wedding itself, but the life beyond that. We are beginning to see more of each other’s flaws and intricacies, but I have never found it easier to love her and to accept her love.

What, perchance, could have elicited such peace among all of the drastic change and all the stresses, major and minor, that are raging around me? I attribute this to a few minor events.

At some point within the last two weeks, I was so overwhelmed with the responsibilities and chaos of my new position that I could not help but feel the weight of it all and therefore to feel inadequate. I was certain that, at the rate I (felt I) was going, I would fail many of my clients and then get canned. Then it hit me. So what if I crashed, burned and inevitably got fired? Life would carry on. I would find something for which I am better suited. God would provide. This immediately made a difference in my demeanor and the way in which I handled not only my job, but also my relationships and other responsibilities.

Shortly thereafter, I learned a new word which quickly became my current favorite, and which subsequently led me to a new perspective.

Insouciance is defined by our darling Webster as “a casual lack of concern; a relaxed or calm state; a feeling of not worrying about anything.” To those Christian readers out there, does this sound at all familiar?

This is a word which belongs not only in the vocabulary of all who proclaim to walk with Christ, but as a defining feature of our lives. This is a critical component of a healthy Christian faith.

Now, insouciance is not to be confused with apathy or laziness. It is a state of not worrying, which just happens to be a point touched on in the scriptures.

Matthew 6:25 – 33

Philippians 4:6-7 

There are several others, but these are some of the most recognizable.

This does not mean for us to ignore our responsibilities or to be unconcerned with the welfare of ourselves or others. It simply means that, rather than worrying our way through every situation and trying to fix them all by ourselves, we ought to maintain our focus on an immensely powerful God who cares about the welfare of all.

We are to fix our eyes on the Author, and maintain the hope that His incredible love and grace allow. We are to yoke ourselves with Christ, allowing Him to carry our burdens with us, thus lifting the weight and power of our worries. This in turn allows us to be far more effective in every aspect of our lives.

This lack of worry, if rooted in Christ, allows a far more clear and true perspective on the things, events and relationships in our lives, and ultimately allows a greater capacity for love and success in all that we do.

Allowing Christ to bear our burdens, practicing a spiritual insouciance; it means no worries, for the rest of our days.

Much Love & Many Blessings,

Brady J. L. Smith

Reliquaphobia

Fear is something I often don’t spend a lot of time contemplating. Sure, I know the things that I’m afraid of: spiders, heights (actually, falling from those heights) and the idea that Taco Bell may not exist someday in the far off future. These are pretty standard though.

A dear friend of mine asked to identify what I fear the most and try to write about it. That should be easy! I thought to myself.

Not so.

I suppose that which I fear the most is loss. I don’t mean the loss of some thing or even someone, and I most certainly am not referring back to my rare case of Tacobellgoneaphobia.

I mean that I fear most to lose time and waste my life pursuing fruitless things.

While in the end, it really, truly does not matter what I do with my life, I want it to be a life well lived. Extraordinarily so, in fact. I recognize that in the grand scope of things, my life is small and insignificant. I am the center of nobody’s universe. Yet I can’t help but to feel that I must do something meaningful at every available opportunity.

I often find myself attempting to do things that used to bring happiness and comfort no matter the rest of life’s circumstances, such as playing video games or reading a book, and am often left feeling worse than when I began. This is not because I dislike playing video games or that I over play them. It’s not because I read books that depress one’s mood or are inappropriate in any sense. I can spend a day at work longing to put my feet up and relax in front of a television and Xbox, yet when I finally begin to do so, I feel a sense of emptiness. I begin to think of all of the other things that I could be doing, and am rendered incapable of just being. I struggle with relaxation because of some sensation that relaxing is a waste of the time God has given me, and there is a very real sense of fear that my life will suffer for doing so.

This is where I have to remind myself of the importance of rest and self-care, two things that have been very difficult to practice since my four years of vigorous growth and self improvement while away at college. However, rest is so important that…

wait for it…

wait for it…

GOD DID IT!!!

And he very much encourages that we do the same. There are numerous references in scripture that point to God’s instruction to incorporate rest into our day to day lives, lest we burn ourselves out and render ourselves useless.

Something I have had to learn, relearn and am yet still learning, is this:

To live a life extraordinarily well lived, one must engage in self-care, quiet time, and just find rest.

Much Love & Many Blessings my Friends,

Brady J. L. Smith

The Ring That Would Change Everything

“Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzumishi krimpatul.”

– Gandalf, Book II, Chapter II;

The Council of Elrond 

Translated, this says:

“One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”

Clearly the aforementioned ring possesses immense power, so much so that it changes the course of history and sends shockwaves through many lives, both fictional and non.

I digress.

Something quite amazing happened yesterday evening, June 28 2016, around 8:30pm.

Through the scrambled and panicked mess strewn about my kitchen, I somehow managed to manufacture a creamy cheddar roux to pour over the chicken, broccoli and pasta dish I was cooking for the very first time.

I had successfully prepared a home cooked meal for Katherine for (she claims 🙄) the first time ever. And just in time for her to return from a long and difficult day; success!

A few days before, she had found a lovely old wooden table that she absolutely adored, and which was conveniently being stored in my living room. Don’t worry people – this is all coming together.

For your viewing pleasure, a table.

As she arrived for dinner, I was finishing setting up this very table on my back deck, overlooking the woods behind my townhome. Decked out with a nice candle, one of her favorite drinks and Pandora channel, and my heroic attempt at a new recipe, it was time for a cute date night.

Isn’t she a peach?

Little did she know… My intention was far more than any ordinary date night.

Hidden slyly behind the very laptop from whence she was enjoying the music she loves, I had hidden the One ring.

No, I do not mean the same ring that was destroyed in Mt. Doom by two very brave hobbits.

I mean the One and only ring of its kind I will ever need to purchase.

What I’m saying, beloved ones, is this; I have asked Katherine Lee Barkow to be my wife, and she said yes. 

I have long counted myself a man living a life of abundant wealth, blessing and love, and last night has only further cemented that. I am honored, blessed and overjoyed for the opportunity to marry this woman and lead her towards Christ for the rest of our lives.

Feast your eyes below.

Much Love & Many Blessings,

Brady J. L. Smith

MY FUTURE WIFE!!!!


Can you believe that I’m THIS blessed?


Morganite, 14k Rose Gold, with diamond halo band. It fits her so perfectly.

We could not be more excited.

P.S. – As for my wedding band…

Bivouac

Oops, I did it again. It’s been nearly a month since I last posted, and in doing so I think I claimed that I was going to post more often… I hereby rescind that statement, and vow to write when I feel moved to.

Ah, the weight is lighter already.

I write today to talk about some amazing people that have stumbled (probably not so coincidentally) into my life in the last several months. In my last post, Through Hell or High Water, I wrote about my best friend for the last 12 or so years. He’s a super rad dude, and for some time after high school I think that I believed I would never find a friend as good for my life as he, nor that I could see myself getting nearly as close. Mind you, Tyler has been and will be my best friend and best man so long as we both live and God wills it, but I have found that my initial beliefs about my own capability to open my life and invest in others’ were incorrect.

Throughout college, I met several people who debunked that belief, some even rather quickly. I made some of the best friends of my life; some of whom I believe will stand by me to weather the storms of life. But even after them, upon moving down to Bloomington, I retained this sort of debilitating fear that I couldn’t possibly do it a third time: I could not possibly find more people with whom I enjoy spending the majority of my time, sharing stories, memories and emotions.

A part of me truly thought it would just be me, Katherine and Jesus down here.

While in many senses that would be more than enough, there is something lacking when one does not find and maintain a sense of community and belonging among a varied group of people. I believe that it’s safe to say that even the most introverted persons are far better off in life when they find just a handful of souls that love, cherish and support them throughout whatever chapter of life they may be in at the time.

This all brings me to the here and now. As may be obvious to many of you, and seems so clear to me in hindsight (it is 20-20 after all), I have indeed found an amazing group of friends that add a tremendous wealth and value to my life.

It all started when I needed a comfortable coffee shop just to get away from the demands and woes of life… Wow that got dramatic fast. I stumbled upon this little shop probably as far from my apartment as I could have found, and when I went in there wasn’t a single seat available at any of the tables and wouldn’t you know it; they were out of the drip coffee I wanted! Things weren’t looking so good, until one of the owners insisted that he make me a pourover cup and take a seat at the empty leather armchairs.

Not long after this encounter the other owner, the sister-in-law of the former, would offer me a homemade bun the next time I visited. I could tell that there was something special about this place and these people. Several visits and far too many cups of coffee later, I considered myself a regular of Crumble Coffee & Bakery, where I eventually ended up befriending everyone on staff. I was asked to apply for a position a few times, have been given more free food and drinks than one could imagine, and have been known to take out the trash and sweep the floor from time to time.

As always, I digress.

The kindness and hospitality of these coffee shop owners would lead to my meeting those whom I would consider my closest friends in Bloomington. Katherine eventually got a job at Crumble, where she is creating delightful espresso drinks and learning to bake some of the most fantastic baked goods that have ever graced my lips, and the two of us have spent an amazing several months with these magnificent people.

One of my favorite things about the group is the sheer diversity of personality, strengths and joys. I have learned much from them already, and continue to be surprised daily. I have found myself, once again, learning to build relationships and love others as some of my closest friends in a way I once believed could not be repeated.

I am so very grateful to these dear friends for opening their homes, their lives and their stories to me; and more importantly, I am so very grateful to God for bringing us together to share in life and community.

Now, I will continue to enjoy life and friendships right where I am, but I think that I will move on from Bloomington with a new peace and understanding that God will always provide the community I need, no matter where He takes me.

Much Love & Many Blessings,

Brady J L Smith

Through Hell or High Water

One of the word prompts this past week was “buddy.”

This instantly brought to mind a man named Tyler. This guy is the Bucky to my Steve Rogers, the Pikachu to my Ash, or perhaps the Rocket to my Groot. Lame, geeky comparisons aside, Tyler is and has been my best friend since the 5th grade. This is somewhere in the ballpark of twelve years ago, and man is that a long time to stay friends.

It hasn’t all been great. We’ve said and done some pretty harsh things. We have insulted one another, broken one another’s hearts and put each other through some pretty low stuff.

But we have also loved well. Tyler has stood by my side on multiple occasions in the emergency room (granted, they all probably involved him somehow), backed me up when no one else would, listened to me dump all my emotional crap, and housed me when I needed a place to stay. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he will stand proudly beside me as the Best Man at my wedding someday, and I would not have it any other way.

There are many people that have come and gone in my life, especially during the last five years that I’ve spent in college towns, while Tyler is one who has always been there. He has made a significant impact on my life, and I hope that he would say the same about me.

As iron sharpens iron, God has placed Tyler and I in one another’s lives to encourage, to embolden, to build up, and to bless. I anticipate that I will never know a friendship stronger than I have with him, and I look forward to many more years of trouble, hardship, love and righteousness next to my brother.

Much Love and Many Blessings my friends,

Brady J. L. Smith

Adrift

Disheveled and brokenhearted, he looked down at the small box of things in his hands, and choked back the tears welling behind his eyes. These things had for so long filled the office that he was told he must now vacate, after so many years of service and dedication. He knew now that he had underestimated the power of the greed that drove his partner; a greed that had at one point not been so.

It was so beautiful when it all began, he thought to himself. With that, he walked solemnly through those doors for the very last time.


Upon pulling into the dusty gravel drive, he slowly halted the vehicle and contemplated the conversation he would soon have with his wife.

He gazed for a long time at all  that lie before him. There was not much, but this, at least, was still his. This could not be ripped from beneath him. He shifted into gear and approached the house. Slowly he walked through the door and greeted his beloved wife, gently kissing her round belly.

After hearing what he had to say, she wept. After a long silence, she spoke.

“Perhaps this could be a healthy change.”


Nearly a week had passed, and he had almost no luck finding a job to stay afloat. After twenty-seven applications he had received a mere four phone calls; one of these was his buddy that managed the gas station down the street, informing him that his request for a gas station points card had been denied and that they had open interviews on Tuesdays.

After hanging up, he sat motionless in that old leather chair by the window, watching the steady rain wash away the topsoil around his wife’s flowerbed. He felt overwhelmingly lost, cast adrift in the tides of life.


When did everything begin to head south? What could I have done differently?

He knew the answer to both, and he knew that what he could have done would not have been the right thing at all. His now ex-partner, who had for so long been his most reliable confidant, had become corrupt with power and greed. Together they had defied all expectations and built something wonderful – and now apart, he thought, they would both watch it crumble. He from afar, and his old friend from within.

One had allowed greed to consume him; the other felt only sorrowful pity.


As young men growing up in a small rural town, nobody ever imagined they would create the kind of change that they did. These two had no experience, no money and no business in the business world. All that they possessed were their fast friendship, a desire for change and an immovable passion to see others flourish.

It had seemed immovable, at least, for the first decade. After several bad deals, the threat of losing more than they could imagine, and the temptation to make even more, something changed in his dear old friend. A deep, incurable lust for more.


Several years and thousands of changed lives later, he noticed a hiccup in the numbers. At first they seemed like simple accounting mistakes; they were negligible, fixable. With time they grew to a point he could no longer ignore.

All of the evidence pointed one direction. Mind racing and heart beating out of his chest, he scrambled to find  another solution. There had to be some mistake. Had his partner fallen that far?

After a brief and estranged discussion, each knew they could not change the other’s mind. In pensive silence, he left the board room to gather his things.


As the pounding rain relented, the contrast of the fire crackling in the nearby fireplace drew his attention back to the present. The power within those bright embers, kept in check only by a single layer of brick, had always invoked in him a sense of awe.

Suddenly he noticed her across the room, and their eyes met, a warm smile gracing her lips as she quietly observed. Just to look upon her gave him hope. Together they had already overcome so much. Surely, this would be no different.

She was all that he needed.


 

If you’ve made it this far, I appreciate you reading my short story! I recently started following a blog which posts one word prompts each day, and decided to write a short story, roughly 100 words at a time, using those words. I found this to be very challenging, not knowing what tomorrow’s prompt would be or how to direct the story, but this was a lot of fun to work on and really stretched me.

I hope it was a good read, and I always appreciate feedback. As always;

Much Love and Many Blessings my friends,

Brady J. L. Smith