Chopperpapa and The Crossroad of What Next

It seems I have reached a crossroad for this website and its history has nearly everything to do with that.

This whole thing was someone else’s idea. Nine years ago, several guys in a single men’s group suggested I write a book. For some reason, there was value in hearing about my mistakes and life experiences. All of their ‘Others need to hear this’ and ‘You’ve got to get this out there’ went to my head. But I lacked the confidence and desire to go so extreme. Instead, ‘blogging’ was becoming a thing and for a small investment of money and smaller of time, it was a reasonable alternative.

But because all this began with my head, my heart was naturally in the wrong place. I had convinced myself, fueled by all their encouragement, that Oprah would call within hours of hitting ‘publish’ on my first post and I would soon have a reoccurring slot on her daily program, just like Oz and Phil.

That was August 2010, I am still waiting for a call. 

Instead, things went sideways. Looking back at the titles for those first articles, I am not even sure I knew what or why I was doing it. I had no ‘voice’ and my topics were somewhere between unhelpful and unnecessary. It would be half a year before I posted anything remotely to do with what I have since tried to make Chopperpapa about. Yet while I was confused about ‘what’ I hoped to accomplish, I was crystal clear in ‘how’ I wanted to get there.

Immediately, my competitive spirit kicked in. I started comparing myself to similar blogs, checking their follower counts, how many comments they were receiving and what they were writing about. Seeing myself playing catch-up, I wrote for the reader, instead of from my heart. I chose topics I believed would get the greatest attention, and in doing so, moved farther away from my intent and my center. 

Thankfully this did, with time, change. Whether by accepting that my dreams of blogging superstardom were dead or through Divine intervention, I stopped allowing readers to comment, because I did not want that to be a distraction. I might be the only blogger in history who does not keep count of the visitors to his website. 

Absent these measuring sticks, my voice, and my heart finally found alignment.

In the years since I have written extensively on my experiences as a divorced father. I have thoroughly dissected co-parenting. I have analyzed single parent dating, child support, deadbeat dads, and anything and everything having to do with divorce.

And the truth now seems I have run out of things to say. 

I have nearly published 500 essays over the last nine years.  All of them written amid the backdrop of a decade and a half old divorce. I now have the feeling that to continue writing about that event only keeps me anchored to it and that past, when everything about my life is now better because of it. I thought about taking the site down, but occasional emails from a stranger thanking me for something I wrote years ago inspires me to keep Chopperpapa alive, if barely.

What happens next? That is the crossroad. I have thoroughly enjoyed the writing over these past years. It has been cheap therapy and I have learned more about myself than I ever could have imagined. I have met wonderful people who would otherwise remain strangers. At times, it has been hard work but worth every minute. Yet divorce, sadly, will never go away and others are walking through their own emotional winters whose experiences can be used to help others. I hope they find a way to do so.

I am unclear what Providence has next for Chopperpapa if it has anything at all. For now, I wait. I wait for inspiration. Wait for the next words to say and the next best thing to do. But in this waiting, I will be around, willing to listen to any who need an ear. Ready to answer, as best I can, questions from the broken father or confused mother while praying that something, anything, I have had to say in these 500 essays will encourage and challenge them to stay the path I once tread.

And who knows, inspiration comes at the strangest times and places. One can never tell when it will strike or what it will be. But for now, I step away, though not far, and wait for the Spirit of Heaven to show up at this crossroad.

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