2018: The Unmaking

Hey friends, it’s been a while.

At the end of every year I write a blog post reflecting on the year that’s just come to a close….and boy was 2018 a year.

When thinking back on this year there are a lot of emotions that come rushing at me and I was trying to think of a word or phrase that would encapsulate it just right for me. Then, of course, I found a song. If you know me well you know that Nichole Nordeman is one of my all time favorite singer-songwriters. I still have to pinch myself that not only have I been a fan since I was a teenager, but Nichole also wrote an endorsement for my book Stories from Webb, a beautiful one at that!

While listening to her music I came across one of my favorites of hers called “The Unmaking“. Here is the first verse and chorus..

This is where the walls gave way
This is demolition day
All the debris and all this dust
What is left of what once was
Sorting through what goes and what should stay

Every stone I laid for you
As if you had asked me to
Monument to holy things
Empty talk and circling
Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?

What happens now?
When all I’ve made is torn down
What happens next?
When all of you is all that’s left

This is the unmaking
Beauty and the breaking
Had to lose myself to find out who you are
Before each beginning
There must be an ending
Sitting in the rubble
I can see the stars
This is the unmaking

“The Unmaking” by Nichole Nordeman

2018 was the year I was unmade, where I had to find myself again. A year of great heartache, immense loss, and a complete undoing of so many of my foundational beliefs.

Yes, I shared my story online. Parts of it anyway. And yes there were huge things worth celebrating. I released my second (Stories from Webb) and third (Sparks in the Dark) books with DBC. Stories was written with inserts from my Webb Family, and Sparks was written with the brilliant Travis Crowder. I got to do my 2nd TEDx Talk (Tell Your Story). I was a Top 10 National Finalist for the John C Maxwell Transformational Leadership Award. I got to walk my Sister-in-Law down the aisle at her wedding. I was continually afforded the opportunity to speak across the country and begin some new partnerships with a couple of pretty amazing organizations. I got the incredible opportunity to walk into a school I love, with people I admire, every day and work hard at changing lives. And I could list on for miles.

But there were many parts of my story this year that weren’t shared. Why? I guess the easiest answer is….fear. Fear of judgement, fear of embarrassment, just flat out fear.

The biggest pain this year was the death of my mother. I’m not going to rehash everything I’ve shared openly online, but it rocked me to my core. It destroyed the one area of my life that was a constant. That was always my constant. It’s funny how the unexpected loss of one person can change an entire family dynamic and leave holes that make everything difficult.

I remember talking with those I once considered friends about some of the things I was struggling with at the moment and the comment being “oh man, you have so much to be thankful for, can’t you just get over the pain?”. And then in hearing another conversation between people, the comment “He lost her a month ago, shouldn’t he be over it by now?”.

2018 was the year I also lost many of the things I had worked so hard to build. I watched my work, and my words, get stolen from me. I had to place distance between myself and destructive relationships, business and friendships. And hardest of all, because of the distance placed, I watched those I wanted trusted work tirelessly to destroy almost every professional relationship I had built with so many deteriorate because of lies, deception, and deceit that went on behind my back. I also watched people I considered my heroes or who had greatly inspire me, no longer respond back to any of my reaching out and many doors closed.

So I closed off. I stopped writing for the most part, stepped back out of the spotlight to focus on my school, stopped my Twitter chat, and retreated. I lost my voice. I felt like I had nothing to say. My heart continued to believe the best in people, and it hurt so deeply when yet again I was proven that some people are just toxic. Thanks to my wife, and a close knit group of friends, I made it through the year.

And over the last few weeks, I’ve finally entered into a place where I am finding myself again. Where I’ve been completed unmade and am now beginning to rebuild. Because amidst the rubble, I can see the stars again.

So here I am. On this journey alongside you. I won’t retreat, I won’t give in. And what better way than to close with some lyrics from Missy Elliot from the Reimagined Version of “This is Me” from the Greatest Showman.

I’m just tryna reach up to the sky, see the moon
I got confidence ’cause I’m the flyest in the room
And I been knocked down, but I always get up
I had some fake friends, had to go and switch up
Yeah, no pain, no strain, I ain’t chasin’ all the pain
‘Cause I got more to gain, and I’m just tryna make a change
I’m just doin’ me, I’m in my own lane
I fell down a few times, but I’m up again
Marchin’ to another drum, see me cross, see me bow
When they thought that I was done, ah nah, here I come
I’m not weak, I get on my feet
No apologies, yeah, this is me

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