If You Are Absent During My Struggle, Don’t Expect To Be Present During My Success

I saw these words on a video title by Will Smith about fatherhood on Facebook today and they literally grabbed me by the, uh…neck.

During my personal struggles this past year, I have been emotionally overwhelmed by the absence of the thousands of people I have spent my life helping succeed. My weekly visits to my psychologist have been invaluable in dealing with the deep shock and disappointment of this revelation.

I can literally count on my fingers the small number of people who have been steadily present during this hardest year of my life.

I’m determined they will be present as I now again experience the blessing of success.

Thanks to Melissa, Ben, Brock, Ramy, Tiffany, Vince, Tami, Carlton, Mark, David, Rhonda, Kathy, Charlie, Patty, Daniel, L.C., David, Jim, Audrey, Jonathan, Matt, David, Jim and Agatha.

And to my Mom, Dad, brother and sister and their families.

We often fail to mention people by name in fear of forgetting someone. I’m certain I have neglected to mention someone who has consistently cared for me this past year, in the haste of writing this post, and if I have done so I apologize now.

However, that is the beauty of a blog—I can edit immediately. And if I happen to have inadvertently failed to mention you, I know you are big enough to mention it to me, because you have been big enough to show your love all year when I have been very unloveable.

There are names that are conspicuous in their absence, largely because of the glass house of our social networks. Those of you who follow me closely, know who I’m talking about without me saying anymore.

This purification process, though extremely painful, has a very positive side. It has enabled me to narrow my focus to a few people.

It has vividly exposed the people who really care. And the ones who don’t.

It has given me opportunity to understand I should not try to carry the whole world on my shoulders.

I can’t. I have clay feet.

Just like every other person who has ever lived. Just like those who have been absent and judgemental.

But I am determined despite my human frailty, to shun bitterness, shame and banishment—instead I plan to continue to provide refreshment, encouragement and diffusion of ideas for those creatives that will allow me the opportunity to do so.

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If You Are Absent During My Struggle, Don’t Expect To Be Present During My Success

34 Responses

  1. Keep shining..I’m still with you… :)

    Julie Kolb February 24, 2012 at 12:24 #
  2. Thanks, Julie!!

    Randy Elrod February 24, 2012 at 12:31 #
  3. “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” – Solomon
    Vince´s last blog post ..Open Source Book Club | Cognitive Surplus

    Vince February 24, 2012 at 12:49 #
    • Thanks for your braid! More than I can say.

      Randy Elrod February 24, 2012 at 13:08 #
  4. I believe in re:create and in you, Randy. So many, including myself and my family, have been significantly blessed. My gratitude still stands over all these years, including this past one.
    Rich Kirkpatrick´s last blog post ..Worship Leader Chronicles: Six Outrageous things I did in church!

    Rich Kirkpatrick February 24, 2012 at 12:58 #
    • Thanks so much, Rich. I know that and I’m so thankful!! It means the world.

      Randy Elrod February 24, 2012 at 13:09 #
  5. I’m with you man! This could any of us! You’re never far from my thoughts!

    Paul February 24, 2012 at 12:58 #
    • Thanks so much, Paul. I appreciate you so much!

      Randy Elrod February 24, 2012 at 13:10 #
  6. Randy, you are still in my prayers.

    I am still inspired by and grateful for the depth of creativity & experience which you pour into others freely & honestly.

    Thank you for our conversations both in person and via media. I hold these as precious gifts that I’ve been given by God through you. Your words have changed my life in many ways for the immediate good yet in so many ways for the future good as I continue to wrestle and struggle with the turmoil of artistry & creativity inside of me.

    May God continue to complete the good work He has begun in you…
    Marina´s last blog post ..Bienvenue Au Burundi

    Marina February 24, 2012 at 13:19 #
    • Thanks so much, Marina. I need your prayers and so does my family. Your words are like a balm to my soul.

      Randy Elrod February 24, 2012 at 13:21 #
  7. Randy,

    There are many of us who, though not as personally close, may still be recognized has having some small part in your life. I think I am one of those. And it may be precisely the lesser association that prevented (excused?) the lack of a public response. I don’t know. I can only write for myself. Here’s what I do know. The details filtered only in bits until your Open Letter. It was surprising, shocking, sobering. I think Paul commented, “It could have been any of us.” My knee-jerk reaction: “No, it couldn’t” My later, more thought-out response: “Yes, it could have” No one, and I mean no disciple of Jesus ever, ever wants to see a fellow traveler fall. Especially one with so much influence, so many gifts and so much left to do. (I hope you read into that the positive, present/future tense, because I believe that to be the case) I grieved for you. I grieved for your family. I grieved for me. I grieved for us. Ultimately, however, I prayed and continue to pray for healing, forgiveness, restoration and “re:creat[ion]” While you may sometimes feel you are the worst of all of us, you are also the best of all of us.

    You and I have met. We’ve talked, if only briefly. I’ve commented on your blog. We’ve shared ideas, a few text messages and some pretty neat tweets. Still, I don’t think you would have counted me as one of your close friends, so I apologize for not seeming like one to you, either. But I’ve been here, in your corner. I wasn’t shouting. I may not always have cheering, but I wans’t throwing stones, either. Yes, this is your journey, but it is also our journey. I pray those closest to you will continue to lift you up, metaphorically and literally. As for me, I will continue to pray and try to shout encouragement just a little louder, so you can hear.

    Tim Godby February 24, 2012 at 14:52 #
  8. Randy,
    What about old friends that sent letters of encouragement to you only to hear nothing?
    Not really interested in the details, but it seems that people with the same backgrounds that once called each other friends could encourage one another. You influenced me greatly in my teens and early 20s.
    I might turn your blog around and suggest that the people that considered you valuable before your success might be of some value to you during your struggle.
    That was my motivation. I wish you the best.
    Scott

    Scott Lingerfelt February 24, 2012 at 15:36 #
  9. Scott, Thanks, your words are well-taken, but in the wildness of the past year, somehow, I did not receive your letter. I would greatly value it if you could manage to find it and remail or resend. Your friendship means a lot.
    Randy´s last blog post ..If You Are Absent During My Struggle, Don’t Expect To Be Present During My Success

    Randy February 24, 2012 at 15:49 #
  10. your strength and openness is a constant inspiration to me. Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share your life with us

    Michelle George February 24, 2012 at 16:21 #
    • Thanks so much,Michelle!

      Randy Elrod February 25, 2012 at 09:40 #
  11. How refreshing to hear your human side. Forgive me in thinking of you as unreachable, because of social network we would never have known each other to exsist. My attraction to you was your natural love of Italy, food and (in my opinion People). I love that you are creative, but with this gift of creativity I have also experienced the misunderstood and miss representing of other people who are created differently in Gods image. People who have limited understanding of human expressio, In my opinion, they are unfortunate, but still deeply loved by God and have i have grown to understand that I lack some of their talents too.

    God is soo amazing and complex that His image cannot be contained in one human form.

    Unfortunately Satin also has an influence. I have come through the most horrible 2 years of my life, I have been broken into a thousand pieces and left for clay dust on a floor. Recently I have been doing a clay class and found out that is against the law to use a brush on the floor of a clay work room due to breathing in the dust, which is very dangerous. I have found that if I kick up the dust in my heart and breath it in, it only makes me sicker. Forgive me for thinking the change of your tweets, which I noticed a year ago, was because of your ‘refining time’ and not (as I thought) of your tweeting success.

    After two years I now am just beginning to see some of God’s working out -although I have a very long way to go. I pray that you will also see soon God’s strange and wonderful ways come together.

    May the Lord Bless you as he Refines you like Gold (not clay). May he watch over you in the refining pot until He sees HIS reflection.

    Love and prayers.

    Tracey

    Tracey February 24, 2012 at 18:20 #
    • Thanks, Tracey for your honesty and for your words.

      Randy Elrod February 25, 2012 at 09:40 #
  12. Cheers to re:newed friendships!

    John February 24, 2012 at 19:21 #
    • Ha! John, You had me at re:newed.

      Randy Elrod February 25, 2012 at 09:41 #
  13. Press on, Randy! So glad you are seeing a bright light at the end of this dark tunnel. Thank you so much for the reminder of how important it is to be empathetic with those God puts in our life through thick and thin. It sounds like there is still a good bit of bitterness that is triggered unexpectantly by the most unanticipated things… like a headline. You can only imagine the things that trigger sin and selfishness in me! There are still so many things. I love you, my brother. Truly, deeply thankful for the people that God has surrounded you with. People who have the privilege of putting their arm around you and literally walking with you through this. I’m jealous of them – and so appreciative for them at the same time. Healing is slow. You’re doing great – keep moving forward.

    Jonathan Ford February 24, 2012 at 19:40 #
    • Thanks so much, Jonathan. You have been an inspiration to me with the Nouwen gift and the gift of your words. More than I could ever express!

      Randy Elrod February 25, 2012 at 09:41 #
  14. You know what you and ReCreate have meant to me in the last 4 years. I can’t repay it.

    Louis February 24, 2012 at 20:32 #
    • Thanks so much, Louis, and what a joy to see you there side-by-side with your son. Wow!

      Randy Elrod February 25, 2012 at 09:42 #
  15. You are loved Randy…this walk is one of more focused lines… So many want to make life polar… However, last time I checked God was much more into forgiveness and restoration… Than rewarding folks for judging… I surely am imperfect and yet He loves me… And so I love others as he loves me … Remember new addresses and towns make it harder for some to call or write

    Sweetie Berry February 24, 2012 at 21:50 #
    • Powerful words!! Sweetie. Thanksfor them, “So many want to make life polar” And yes, I understand not only new addresses and towns but my inaccessibility during this time. See Scott’s comment above. That is why I put the paragraph in about hesitancy of listing names. Thanks SO much!

      Randy Elrod February 25, 2012 at 09:44 #
  16. CS Lewis says art is seen as “drippings of grace.” It only seems right that the artist would be constantly full of that grace as well. Grace is what carries us, brings us home and makes us whole. I believe we are called to be healers (reminding all of the home we are called to and the belovedness that we sometimes run from). I’m sure you have & will continue to give that grace to all you meet as well. You are loved through the process. You deserve that.

    Melissa Greene February 24, 2012 at 22:05 #
    • You have surely lived these words out in my life “Grace is what carries us, brings us home and makes us whole. I believe we are called to be healers (reminding all of the home we are called to and the belovedness that we sometimes run from).” And I’m so thankful and proud that you are using them as you minister to others. Thanks, Melissa!

      Randy Elrod February 25, 2012 at 09:46 #
  17. Randy… I saw the name Mark in your short list, and while I’m relatively confident that’s not me :) I do want you to know that you’ve been in my prayers. I haven’t ever felt like I was significant enough in your life to make any impact–particularly living in St. Louis–we never got to hang out, dream together, wax philosophical or anything like that. You have encouraged me from a distance in more ways than you may ever know and it appears that, with all the fall out you’ve experienced, maybe little ol’ me and my love and support would have impacted you more than I was aware.

    I believe in you, Randy. As not only a dreamer, but a do-er. As a creative, an encourager, a mentor, and as a struggling Christ-follower. I don’t condone your sins that have been exposed any more than you’d condone mine that have not. To that same end, I refuse to abandon you for them either. Continue to heal, friend. And let me know if there’s any unlikely way I can help from all the way up here in STL. And continue to support artists, creatives, influencers, dreamers and do-ers the way you can’t help but doing. God adores you. He absolutely adores you. I know in my heart that it’s difficult at times for you to even breathe in that truth. That kills me.

    Thanks for the post. Title is truly compelling… not surprised it grabbed you. :)

    Mark February 24, 2012 at 22:10 #
    • Thanks, Mark. Your words mean so much. You are such an encourager and you are SO gifted. From one do-er to another!! It takes one to know one. :)

      Randy Elrod February 25, 2012 at 09:47 #
  18. Randy, I empathize with and admire you simultaneously. You seem to be on a healing road as far as those who have forsaken you goes…. could it be possible for all of us who have lost so much?…I’ve thought not. Today, after reading your post, I have hope.

    Lori February 25, 2012 at 12:31 #
  19. Thanks so much, Lori. I’m glad my struggle provides hope.

    Randy Elrod February 25, 2012 at 14:57 #
  20. Hey Randy. For the past (nearly) two years, I have felt burned out, cynical, and angst-ridden. Since Re:Create, I have felt refreshed, encouraged, hopeful, recharged, and inspired. Sure, all of the speakers and artists were great, but the thing that really did it was the community. Re:Create is what it is because that’s how you made it, because if flows from who you are – you are fostering real, meaningful community that supports and builds people up. You have poured into these people and built them up, and I have been a recipient and beneficiary of your generosity. You have also been real, open, and honest with us in the virtual places where we meet (which is of course a vital part of real community).

    All of that to say that I think you have a lot of people fighting alongside you, who will support you as you combat bitterness, shame, and banishment. You absolutely won’t be left alone in this. I and many of us here on your blog can’t hang out with you, have a drink with you, or sit and listen while you unload (I’m sure there are times when you need to do that), but we can offer words of encouragement, and we can pray for and with you. You aren’t alone.
    Chris´s last blog post ..ReCreate 2012: Tim Sanders, Part 2

    Chris February 25, 2012 at 20:25 #
    • Thanks so much, Chris, for your words. they mean the world to me. I’m so thankful re:create (not Randy) but re:create was such a healing place for you. May it be so for many more…

      Randy Elrod February 27, 2012 at 17:05 #