Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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March 8, 2014

I am Iron Man, the suit and I are one

Athens — The suit is damaged, it might not hold up this time.

Like many men, I have hidden my emotions behind a suit of armor for years.

Happy, sad, excited or mad – my external emotions were never displayed.

In some ways that was a good thing, but in others...

“I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one. To turn over the Iron Man suit would be to turn over myself,” Robert Downey Jr. said in Iron Man II as Tony Stark.

For years I prided myself in my armor.

Hurt me, nothing. I’d turn the other cheek.

Anger, nothing. I’d hold it in and deal with the problem.

Excitement, nothing. Smiling while opening gifts in front of someone is the hardest thing to do.

But a series of events has damaged my armor and I am not sure I want it back.

Sometimes it hurts to feel, but it’s needed.

Maylee Grace is scheduled to enter this world on Saint Patrick’s Day (Yes, she will be wearing green) and I want her to see her daddy show emotion.

No, I don’t want to be the guy who flies off the handle over spilled milk, but I do want to be the guy who cries when he sees his daughter for the first time.

The guy who cries, cheers and applauds as she takes her first steps.

I want to be the guy who cries when his daughter goes on her first date and waits up in eager anticipation until she gets home.

I want to be the guy who cries while worshipping the Lord for the mercy, love and grace he has shown us – his children.

Perhaps my armor started to show damage when I found out I was going to be a father. Yet my emotions were kept in check and I did not show the excitement I was truly feeling inside.

Considerable damage was done Dec. 19, 2013 when I got the call my dad was dead.

Two months later, I was told I had high cholesterol and needed to make some changes.

There is a hole in the armor, it is not going to hold up.

“Life is filled with so many ups and downs, have you ever been there?”

“One day you’re smiling, the next day you’re fighting to hold back your tears to hide how you feel.”

“So tired of faking like everything is okay, when you know it’s not right.”

“No sleep at night.”

“You may be asking, ‘cause you never imagined, how can this be God?”

“This cannot be God.”

“I can only tell you what he told me...”

“Live through it. Grow through it. Get through it.”

“You can make it if you just, pray through it.”

“Don’t let this be the end for you. So live through it.”

Those are words from the song Live Through It by James Fortune that have helped me during this time of crumbling armor.

I have tried to hold the armor together, but the simplest things continue to chip away at it.

Our guest room is decorated with various Texas Ranger memorabilia I have collected through the years. Being in the room now, I weaken as if Superman was standing on top of kryptonite.

The Rangers were our thing, a common interest where my dad and I connected. Where myself, my sister and brother always found a way to relate to dad.

Now, a simple Elvis Andrus bobblehead sets off a series of emotions I’ve previously kept contained.

As the song says, I am praying through it but most importantly living through it.

Life throws curveballs we never expect, some weaken our armor.

God is in control and he allows us to grow through the tough areas of life.

My dad’s death hurts, but what it leaves behind is a stronger, more emotional son who will be able to provide for his daughter in ways he never could before.

“Live through it. Grow through it. Get through it. You can live through it. It’s working for your good.”

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