Be Vulnerable

Wreck a Car, Not a Life

I am easily trapped in states of compulsive consumptive obsession. I happen upon a new thing, like a song or a food, and I go off the deep end. It’s ok, though, it seems to match my short attention span. 

I am usually a day late or a dollar short, like most things in my life. I’m usually not the first on a thing, but I finally come around. I typically use up the thing. During the pandemic, I found that my recent obsessions have more staying power. That might be a good thing. 

Writing this platform for example. It sprang from an obsession. And immense dissatisfaction. If necessity is the mother of invention, dissatisfaction is the baby daddy. In October of 2020, with six months of lockdown in the bag, and a then-new forecast of a longer, darker winter, I was searching for something. 

Like the sobered-up dude at 3 am standing in front of an open fridge door praying for an unknown culinary desire to just materialize, there I was. Standing in front of the open door of life. The broken promises of an overworked and under-satisfied normality were shattered pieces of a warped tarnished mirror behind me. 

The unknown culinary desire wished for might as well have been the $350/pp nine-course Chef’s Tasting at The French Laundry. The Now-Normal I write about was just formulating in my head. I had purged, cleaned and feng-shuied the house to hell. Something had to crack. 

It was me. Naturally. Way back in the day, one of my best friends created a custom t-shirt for me. It coined a term, and started a legend (in my own head). I still wear it proudly today. He explicked the inexplicable. Shout Out to Pat M.

Ric-ci-dent ( rik’ si dent ), n. 1. An unintentional or unexpected happening that is undesirable or unfortunate, esp one resulting in injury, damage, harm or loss, wherein one may or may not be responsible, at fault, or causative.  2. An accident or incident in which Ric has been involved: Honey, don’t be mad, but … I’ve had a Ric-cident. 

Maybe that has something to do with the fact that every car I’ve ever had I wrecked. Well, not every single one of them. But certainly enough to establish a pattern. Crap. Those damn patterns again. 

1972 240 Z Absolutely the best car I ever wrecked. A telephone pole lost its life in this one, but mercifully and thanks to God, my best friend Jim and I did not. Uncle Leo, I am so sorry I wrecked your car, and will replace it someday.

Well, the impetus for this whole project, and really, for this uncharted path I’ve ventured off into, was all contained in one box. And I had to open it. I’m gonna stand back and let this speak for itself. 

12 Years After Incarceration, Letters from Crossroads Bring Him to Tears

by Paige Deur | May 25, 2021 | Latest News, Stories

After a non-fatal car accident involving nine others and a DUI charge more than a decade ago, Ric found his life forever altered. He went on to spend 247 days in prison – a place of punishment that became a sanctuary of transformation.

During his first thirty days in prison, the only book he had was a Bible he received from Crossroads. He would go on to read through its words eight times, using several different translations, before his release.

Ric completed six Crossroads Bible study lessons and received several life-giving letters from mentors, before his release. God’s Word had changed him in prison, and Ric vowed to give back by becoming a Crossroads mentor someday.

“After my release, I packed up the ‘prison box’ and stuffed it under the bed. Way under the bed, like all the way in the back, behind the ferocious dust bunnies,” Ric said. “My promise to God that I would become a mentor was soon forgotten. I had MY life back.”

As Ric sat in pandemic lockdown this past year, home on furlough, he felt a nudge to pull out that old box from under his bed. “It sat there for a day or two,” he said. He started by organizing the letters by date, but as he saw the letters from his children, who had just left home to live on their own this year, he found tears filling his eyes.

And then he came across letters from his Crossroads mentors, which opened “the floodgates of emotion,” prompting him to search for Crossroads online and finally make good on his promise to become a mentor.

As Ric looked through the materials from his time inside prison twelve years prior, he rediscovered the Crossroads lessons and letters from his mentors. It’s hard to relive his prison days, but he is grateful that the letters from Crossroads mentors prompted him to give back as a mentor.

“I still have only read very few of the letters. It is so emotionally overwhelming,” Ric said. “But I find that working with my students provides a calming salve for my soul. I feel God working on me as I review and comment on the lessons.”

Those six lessons Ric completed more than a decade ago are still making an impact on his life.

Since Ric decided to follow God’s leading to become a mentor, he has found peace in a season when his career remains uncertain. His eyes have been opened to God’s provision in his life. “I am so glad God is working through me,” he told us.

At the end of each letter he writes, Ric shares a poem that he wrote while he himself was behind bars, encouraging his students just as his mentors once did for him.

Ric shared the poem with us, and we want to share it with you:

The Fence 

Before this, I sat on the fence of convenient belief, between the pasture of certainty and the desert of uncertainty. When pushed or fell, or most likely, jumped off into the desert, my discomfort caused me to cry for help. Why me? How could I be so abandoned? Why so alone to fend for myself? Anger and hostility were constant companions. However, in the pasture of certainty, into which I most certainly chose to go, I never questioned my success, for it was due to my hard work, my diligence, my self-righteousness. Never believing that both sides of the fence were under the province of the same controlling force. For it is impossible to know the difference: to enjoy the sweet sights and smells of the pasture of goodness, or to endure the agony and loneliness of the desert of bitterness, one must experience both. I have now an inkling of knowledge and understanding, and an abundance of faith and hope. For the fence is in the heart, not the mind. Its architect is self-doubt, its builder false pride, and it’s maintained by arrogance. I am caught in the desert, by my own hand. I question not, for I know. But as surely as I stand here, I am not alone. I am on my way back to the fence. Not to straddle it, never again. For my task now is to dismantle it and take it apart. And to use its posts, its timbers, and its nails, for they are strong and sturdy. I will construct a shelter in the pasture, a shelter of hope. A shelter for fellow travelers caught in the desert. So they will not find a fence, so they will know in their hearts, there is no difference between the two lands. They will find a shelter, a place to give thanks for the journey into the pasture of goodness. But more importantly, a shelter to provide them protection and comfort in the desert. A beacon of hope, to guide them out of the wilderness. For a traveler is never alone. Jesus walks every step of the way through both the desert and the pasture. Human choice is necessary, not to determine the destination, only to choose the traveling companion.

Please explore ways to help out this life-changing organization Crossroads Prison Ministry

I write often about vulnerability, and think of it more. It’s the unspoken thing in difficult things. Resistance to it creates friction against a forward movement. Friction is the mortal enemy of movement, and we create emotional friction all the time. 

Once created, it’s a greedy bastard, friction. It seeps into every desire and need. It perverses your goal-setting. It weakens resolve. It saps will-power. 

Friction’s kryptonite is vulnerability. I literally just learned that lesson during the past 16 months. Hey, you only have to hit me a couple of times in the head with a 2x4 until I get it. Alright. 

All of the battles with my demons, all of the chases I’ve gone on with them, every false victory had been fought almost without arms. I recognize people from my past in their calmness, and I now know what I was attracted to: Vulnerability. 

It is not a natural trait, especially for a 5’4” Leo with a Napoleon Complex. But it is something that can be mindful and thoughtful. I certainly haven’t perfected it, hell, I’ve perfected denying it, so it takes a bit to unpack it all. But working on it feels good. And things that feel good reduce friction. And lack of friction makes movement possible. 

Start moving today. It will make you feel good. 

The Wife and I have trouble clearly communicating at times. After 30 years (August  17) of wedded bliss, the empty nest gets a little cramped! It’s a hard ask for her to consume all my spoken and written words. 

Without approaching this from a stand-point of vulnerability, my dumbass approach just made things worse. Naturally. So after a back-up and re-group, I switched approaches and wondered how else could I connect with her? 

Duh! Have I mentioned my belief about the Five Elements of Life? Maybe. Read about that belief here

Second Element, after Food? Music. I send The Wife one song a day. As lyrics. She enjoys reading the lyrics instead of listening to the song. Sometimes she doesn’t read them. Sometimes she likes them and lets me know. Other times not. 

Her reaction though, isn’t my primary concern. I send it. Everyday. Occasionally, she asks to listen to the song after work with a glass of wine on the patio. Those are the best days. 

Here’s a song she commented on and asked to listen to. 


Tell me one more time again just like I didn't hear you

Like I don't know what's going through your mind, I do

I play the same game too

I know it's hard to stop even when you want to

Now the moon lights up your face and I can see your crying

You never liked me to see you cry, it's true

I've done some crying too

You know, the hardest part about it is trying to hide it from you

Well, it would be great to be so strong

Never needed anybody else to get along

We're so scared of the silence and the tricks that we use

Oh, we're careful and we're cunning but we're easily bruised

I don't wanna lie about it, I'm not bulletproof

Well, I finally found the way to hide from all your glances

Until the waiting game we play is through

I can, but what's the use

When all I really want to do is hide out with you?

Well, it would be great to be so strong

You never needed anybody's help to get along

We're so scared of the silence and the language that we use

Oh, we're careful and we're cunning but we're easily bruised

I don't wanna kid about it, I'm not bulletproof

Tell me one more time again, I guess I didn't hear you

And I don't know all the secrets that you keep inside

I tried the same thing too

But they all come pouring out of me when I'm talking to you

Well, it would be great to be so strong

Never needed anybody else's help to carry on

But I'm not waking up each morning with forgiveness I can use

Know I'm careless and I'm cruel but I'm still easily bruised

But I'm so tired of lying about it, I'm not bulletproof

Oh, and I'm not going to lie about it, I'm not bulletproof