What if our “super scripts” come from the unsettled idea that we’re not living up to our values? For example, Rob believed that his inability to truly connect and belong would result in everyone in his life eventually leaving. At the age of 29, death found him, with three of the most important people in his life dying within a few years.
Episode 4: Death Found Me
One of the challenges we have is to identify the scripts that hold us hostage.
Rob Dale, Eric Deschamps, Trefor Munn-Venn
Hi, I am welcome to Living Richly. My name’s Trefor Munn-Venn and I’m here with my good friends, Eric Deschamps and Rob Dale. And we’re thrilled that you’re joining us today. Today’s a special kind of day because one of the things we committed to as part of this whole process is that we would share our stories with you as well.
And you know, that can be uncomfortable for us to be as vulnerable as could be. You’ll notice that’s why we have bourbon present just to make this bourn made it bourbon, right? Cheers. So pour yourself a drink. Compelled we do you. All right. It’s now rated E, our show. Yeah, it’s no longer the kid friendly version.
Right? Right. The… each of us being willing to share our own experiences is so essential in terms of our growth, in terms of come to, to terms with our lives. So that we can make those choices to say, how do we live this richly? And today is a chance for Rob to tell his story, but before he does, Eric and I are gonna introduce him a little bit.
We want you to know a little bit what do, what do we know about this guy? What do you need to know before you listen to him? Rob, you and I have been friends for, well, we’ve known each other for 10 years, years. I, I, I counted us as friends the whole time. I don’t know if you did, but the… Do I need to answer that?
That could be up. Forgot. Okay, you can plead the fifth. The…we, we met when we were both Know, active in new businesses. Yeah. We were in the same geography, but we didn’t know each other. We both knew Eric. The…so you’re the linchpin here. Yeah, that’s right. I’m to blame everybody. That’s right.
All the connection happened there happened there. The you know, when I think about our friendship I see. So when I look at you, I see a guy who is grounded, who is real, who is continuing to work through his own life and has like this inherent openness. I love the openness that you bring into the world in terms of how you live.
When someone says, I have feedback for you, you, you actually. and some party wants to, like, I, I see you say, tell me more. Help me understand. Like, how rare is that in the world? Yeah. You know, you’ve done all kinds of things. You’re a fascinating guy. I’m, I’m not gonna introduce that stuff cuz you’re gonna tell that story.
And you two guys have a lot of history, so Eric will, will deal out all the dirt there. Yeah. . But the I think how you have brought kind. A gentle intensity mm-hmm. To how you, how you live. Thank you. Right. Like, I, I don’t, Rob is a gentle guy. Yeah. But that it should not be misconstrued as in any way, weak or anything else.
Like he’s got such an inner strength and, and I look at you and I see that and. There’s pieces of that. I’m like, I wanna bring more of that into my world and my life as well. I value you so much. I know we tease each other a lot. We joke a lot. We spend a lot of time together. We’ve been through a lot together.
Yeah. And I’m very grateful. But that’s, that’s the kind of guy that you’re, you’re gonna hear from here for in a minute. But Eric, as I said, you’ve known Rob for a long time now. How long? 30 years. We were just doing math on that. Amazing. We’re still friends. That’s like too long. Two or three years old, right?
Two. Yeah. We were, yeah, we were so young. We were so young. We’re so young, and so much I could say. And, and I’ll say a, a few things about my friend Rob one of my two best friends in the whole wide world, the other ones sitting across from me and introduced today’s show Rob, who not only first of all has a striking resemblance to fazi the Yeah, that’s true.
Walka, Walka, Walka also. bear’s striking resemblance. We, we actually think it’s his twin is Sparta Kasen, Sparta Catt Senco. But Robin and I, it’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate. It’s true though, right? Like it’s even Sparta Catt at a recent game when I called you over and said, look, your twin, he was even shaking his head in, in acknowledgement.
So you’ll have to take that up with him. Rob and I have known each other a long time. We both come from a similar background. We’re both ex preachers and he’s gonna get into some of that today and tell you some of his experience there. Rob is a guy. He’s a no bullshit, no pretense guy.
One of the most loyal people you will ever meet. Yeah. He keeps the two of us grounded. He’s a stabilizing force and as you get to know us better, you’ll see how much Trevor and I need that stabilizing force. It’s like herding cats. I can imagine. People love cats. People love cats. Do they
Do they, I dunno. I’m a dog person. He’s the first team member. That I recruited to my first company many years ago, and he’s him and I have been working together ever since. He’s a, a masterful coach, one of the best of in the business in the industry. And just again, just an amazing, amazing human being that I’m super proud to call my friend.
Thank you. Yeah, that’s very kind words from both of you. I expect a lot of the opposite as we go along with this podcast. . Yeah. All the nice things have been shared. Yeah. Moving forward, we’ve run out. We are, we are now bankrupt on nice things to say . Especially as the bourbon kicks. As the . Right.
Exactly. The you know, we said we were gonna tell this story. Wait, Rob, where do you wanna start? Where do you wanna start to tell your story? What a great question. I if I had a little bit more confidence, I would quote Steve Martin from the Jerk. But I’ll just start with, I was born at a young age sorry.
Oh, no, no. . The dad jokes start already. If you could choose somewhere else to start your story, where would you start? If we were a. Too. Yes. in post editing. Yes. Well, thank you, . That was very Let’s change clothes. Let’s all do, yeah. It, it is an interesting thing to share your story to be, you know, we’ve talked about this when it comes to living richly to that, that sense of vulnerability, the willingness to be able to be open in sharing both the highs and the lows.
We really do want everyone who, who tunes in, who listens to the podcast to get a sense of who we are, not because we think that there’s, you know, we’re, we’re anything special in that sense. But because we want people to be able to relate to different parts of, of our of our journeys and.
and, and so we made that decision. Mm-hmm. Having said that, it’s hard as fuck , right. It was easy when we made the decision, it was easy to make decision. We were not in front of Mikes. We’re kind of second guessing it now. Yeah. Yeah. This was a really dumb idea. Yeah. And I, and I think that, and, and certainly, you know, for those that are listening, as you begin to lean into your own journey around this one of the things that you’ll hear, if.
You know, of this community for any length of time is the importance of doing it with others. Mm-hmm. of that vulnerability and that willingness to share the, the good and the bad and the ugly. Right? And, and so to be able to do that and encourage you to do that, and hopefully if that’s one of the things that you’re inspired by.
In listening to my story, in listening to our stories then mission accomplished on that. And that’s, that’s ultimately the goal for doing this is not to celebrate anything of our past, but to really help people to, to appreciate and understand it. Mm-hmm. you know, for me, I’m, I’m, I’m a born and raised, Ottawa area guy.
This has been home even though I’ve lived outside of the city for a lot of years. Have been back home here for a long time and, and absolutely love this city. I have been someone who and has been interesting as I started into the journey of really embracing my. To realize where those stem out of.
Probably my entire life has been at the, one of the core things has been trying to find those the connection, the community, the people. And that stemmed out of, I grew up in a, in a, in a home where I moved a lot. My mom was was certainly a hero of mine. The hero in my journey and in my life, probably more when more than any other person impacted my life in so many great ways.
But she was a, you knows, High school dropout at the age of 16. By the time she was 21, she had had five kids. She had given two up for adoption. I have a, a, a brother and a sister that I’ve never met but she’d given up a couple of adoption. There’s three of us that, that stayed, and she basically moved around almost her entire my young life early, early years.
It’s interesting when people ask me to reflect back on those early days of my life because I have no memories. Mm. Like literally not a single memory. The only memories that I have are formulated out of stories that have been told to me later on or of pictures that I have. But all of those memories have grown up.
Now I. I, I, you know, I, I went to, I think it was somewhere I, I counted one time. It was 15, 16 different schools before I graduated high school. That’s how many times I moved. Just about every part of the city. I spent time in and lived in. And we often, early in those years, lived on social assistance, lived you know very much struggled.
Mm. Did a lot of moving around. I knew nothing really about my. Family, my extended family and my mom’s side of the family. I knew a little bit of my, my grandparents on my mom’s side and, and my uncles on my mom’s side. But my dad’s side, I really didn’t know. They, my dad was the person not talked about.
Hmm. And I didn’t really know much about him at all other than, and I had no memory of him even. Again, I’ve had many stories about him that have been told to me, that I’ve learned about after the fact. But my dad, when I learned later on, I was about, I was actually just heading off to Bible college.
There is such a thing as a college where they study one book for four years. I called Bible College and seminary, if you will. Yeah. When I first began into ministry, and that was, it was, it was in that first year of Bible college. First discovered that my dad at the time was living in he was a resident of a millhaven maximum security prison and had spent 17 years in prison at one point, had broken outta prison more than anyone else.
And was certainly notorious for it, which is why he was in a maximum secur security prison. Had spent I came to learn because as I got to, first time I met my dad that I remember was. the Millhaven went and did the whole, you know, going through the, the search, you know, the, the, to get in there and to meet him, but to learn about and to discover kind of that whole story of why my mom moved as often as she did, was in a way to stay ahead of this very angry, bitter man.
And my dad was in those early years of, of of his life. He was a genius but also a high school dropout. And You know, lots of issues in his own, that, that side of the family and everything else really had become somebody who was just a bitter, angry human being. Mm-hmm. . Now, by the time I met him, he was no longer that he had embraced yoga.
He had embraced he had really kind of come to terms with a lot of things. He was living his life. He was, he was just kind of doing his thing in prison. And I remember spending time with him very early on and he was, Fascinating, brilliant human being who just struggled and you learned about all of these difficulties and these pains, but I learned that I had had a script all through my childhood that I didn’t even realize was there.
We talk about in, in the living richly. One of the, the challenges we have is to identify the scripts that hold us hostage. Right. And early on, there’s so many of them are, we’re not even conscious of them. We’re not even aware of them. Right. And one of those early scripts was that I am cursed, cursed. It was a powerful word.
Right? That’s a strong, and I can remember saying, kind of using that language early on, and I remember in, in in Bible kind of language in, in church language in the church culture that we come out of. There was this idea of break the curse. Right. And I embrace that notion of I’m gonna break the curse because I believe there was this curse.
I have a an an uncle who was beaten to death by an off-duty police officer. I had an aunt who committed suicide. I had an aunt who was killed in a plane crash. I had, my dad was in prison. I had you know, two grandparents who died of, of alcohol related diseases. The family was a cursed family in my eyes.
and most people, if you experience one of those things, it’s a big deal to experience, you know all of those things on one side of the family. But I didn’t even realize it was there until older until I got into my twenties and started to really kind of understand a little bit of that story of where that was.
but all through those childhood, one of the things I do remember was the constant, again, changing schools. I hear people talk all the time about childhood friends. My childhood friends lasted for four or five months, and then I moved on to, to other ones. Mm-hmm. . And so there was never that true connection and never that, that true sense of, of and so whenever I went into a new environment, I had to re Identify, I had to, I had to create a new identity that would fit into that group, right?
So whether it was, you know, going when I lived in Overbrook and it was more of a tougher crowd, and then I was, I was the tough gang kind of guy. I was the guy that, you know, the, the, the street thug. And, and even though that was, as you guys know, I’m a, I’m a pretty. Person gentle Jones, unless it comes to sports, right?
Yeah. But and yet in that world, you had to have a different persona. And I would do that. And I can remember, you know, getting kicked out of Reto High School because of getting into fights and stuff like that, and having to, all of that stuff because I was trying to put on an act right to be accepted by whatever group or or community that I was a part of, right?
One of the most significant moments for me was at the age of. And at the age of 13, my mom remarried and she remarried a guy who was a former outlaw biker. Again, another, probably one of the most. Gary was one of the most ismo, one of the most gentle people you’ll ever meet. But this guy was also a, don’t mess with him.
His, he had a long fuse, but. You know, when it went off and I only saw it go off probably once or twice in, in the whole time that he was in my life. But this guy was a former outlaw biker and was still connected in a lot of that crowd. And I remember how frustrating it was. As a 15, 16 year old, you’re out trying to rebel and trying to do all this stuff, and then I’d come home from my own parties and.
30, 40 Harleys aligning the street of, you know, I lived on a Glen Avenue in Ottawa, in Vanay, and you know Harley’s lining the streets of the, and then these massive parties going on and bikers, you know, passed out everywhere. And this one guy had a fake leg and his leg would be, people are tossing it around and playing baseball with this guy’s leg.
Just crazy, crazy shit. It sounds like a scene, like guardians of the gang . Right, exactly. Like just wild stuff. And yet, They were the most loyal, committed group of people with one another. Mm-hmm. I remember going up to there used to be over here on in Gatan know there was a a slide where they used to have these metal slide or, or cement slides that used to go down at Monk.
And I remember going there with my, my stepbrother and, and my family. And we had this guy, mountain man and mountain man. It was, yeah. He was nicknamed that because this guy was a, a mountain of a man and ex outlaw biker. And well, he was an outlaw biker at the time. And going to this thing and my brother and I were 16.
We’re goofing around. We’re, we’re completely breaking every rule on this hill. And as we come down to the bottom of the hill one time, one of the. The kid working, the staff member comes over and kicks us both out, tells us that you guys are the band, you’re out of there. And so we went back to where all our group was hanging out and you know Gary, what, what do you guys, you know, oh, he got kicked off and everything like that Mountain man said, no, no, you guys walked with me and walked back over and looked at this guy and just said, you’re never gonna kick these guys off this hill.
And the guy was like, I’m so sorry. Right. And I remember at the time thinking that’s what I want to be. Ah, because there’s that dis one. He was protective of. Clan. Yeah. But also feared and strong and, and, and all of that kind of stuff. Problem was, is that it wasn’t me , so I wanted to be that, but it wasn’t, it wasn’t me.
Right. And and so, but that was my, the, the, the, those early defining days of, of those scripts of just kind of the experience where I would see, you know, a lot of people like think of the biker community and they think of this, oh, they, you know, these outlaws, these are criminals. And I’m like that.
And they. At that time they were less so. And in most cases they were, many times they were just good old boys. Sure, they were selling some pot and doing a few things like that. But for the most part, these were people that just, they wanted a sense of brotherhood. where you could you, you stood together to anyone outside of your network or out outside of your community internally.
You were, you were always there for one another. And I saw guys do incredible things in support of of, of one another. And so I saw a beautiful, my first real beautiful sense. What I would think a family is was with, was with these outlaw bikers. Mm-hmm. Wow. You know, which was kind of . Many people wouldn’t think of that world as that way.
And it came back for me years later when I, when I when I founded a church called Bikers Church and really began to work. With that community to, to support and help people that were, you know, struggling in different ways in their community. But but in those early days, that was probably one of the, the, the, the real significant moments for me was looking and saying, that’s what I want.
And I don’t have that. Mm-hmm. In my life. Outside of that, how, how do you go from surrounded by bike? To, I’m going to Bible college. Yeah. Well that, that’s a question both of us ask ourselves. So terms of how, how do we end up there? Yeah. Although I wasn’t a biker. What? You know, long story short on that one because I wouldn’t have called that.
I wouldn’t have called that. No, it’s not a natural trajectory is it? The influence of my mom. My mom, again, you know, talking about this. She was just this tiny lady. She had you know, born with three quarters of one lung. She couldn’t walk and talk at the same time because of the, the, this, this challenge.
And you know grew up with alcoholic parents and just all of these issues in her life with a, with her first husband again in, in and outta jail, running around, all this kinda stuff. When she, she comes into there, she’s partying, she’s with Gary. They’re having a great time.
They’re just kind of living their life and ever like this. And her, her dad passes away, my grandfather, mm-hmm. , and he passes away and, and I remember. I remember sitting on the porch with her. It’s one of my first memories, as I mentioned, cuz I didn’t have those memories. Yeah. One of my first memories was my mom crying at they were doing this kind of, you know, the, the wake and, and talking about her, her dad.
And the, and this on and off relationships that she had with her dad and the, and then the, the role that in that alcohol had in all of that kind of stuff. And she made a decision that night that she was going to stop the party and stop the drinking and that she was going to go to church. My mom though, decided that, This was gonna be the case, not just for her, but for all of us, right?
And so she literally grabbed us the next Sunday, including my stepdad, who Gary just didn’t know what to think, . But that Sunday morning it was, get in the car, we’re going to church. She didn’t drive, so she needed him to drive. So they drove, we packed him with my, my stepbrother, my stepsister, my sister and I, we all headed off to church for that Sunday.
And I remember those. A month or two months, my stepbrother and I, we would take the offering envelopes in the pews and we would write like 6 66 and Satan is the best. And, and we would That’s the, a real badass. Oh yeah. Hey, like, yeah, exactly. Oh, we were causing trouble, right? . And in those early days there was even a lot of, I started getting hanging out in the church with the youth group and just got it drawn.
Again, a sense of loyalty where there was a lot of, even some of the board members and some of the parents were like telling their kids, you’re not allowed to hang arou around with that Rob guy, or those, you know, tho they’re, they’re trouble and everything like this. And it was the pastor of the church.
Who at one point the board wanted to set some rules around and, and wanted to kind of kind of challenge us or, or correct us in some of our behavior. And he basically t drew a line in the board with the board and said, if anyone speaks to him other than in a negative way, I’m resigning from this church.
Wow. And this guy was a founding member of that church. He became a lifelong mentor in my life. He decided in that moment that I was worthy of investing. Wow, I’m sorry. And he saw something in me that I certainly didn’t see in myself. He and all through his life, he’s still alive today lives out in BC and you know, and his name’s Reverend Bert Lira, just an incredible mentor in my life because of the way that he saw me and saw something in me that I certainly didn’t see in.
Didn’t, would never have believed, even if he had just come out and said, you’re going to do this in your life, I would’ve been, you know, completely not believing of that. But he had, he never ceases to amaze me the power of encouragement, the power of acceptance, how that can completely change and alter a person’s trajectory.
Yeah. That even if they didn’t get it right from where they expected it, it often comes from the most unexpected places and, it can true, can change, it can change a life, obviously, as it did yours. Yeah. And I look at it today, right? I mean, in the work that we do, and I, and I, I say this so genuinely when I’m talking to whether it’s a business owner or an executive or a leader or, or just any person that I’m having that conversation with, I’m such a believer in, in believing in people, right?
Because there is something when, you know, That’s all that sometimes people need is someone in their corner just cheering them on. It doesn’t mean condoning behavior, it doesn’t mean accepting all of that. It, it’s just to say, listen, if you’re ready to take a journey, I’ll take the journey with you.
Right. And, and you’re right. It just takes one at times for, for us to be able to do that. And that’s was the influence. That was what shaped me. They had me, you know, I got involved in the church, you know naturally just ended up going off to Bible college, became an, an ordained minister started into traditional churches and started kind of functioning in this kind of role and thinking, okay, this is it.
I you know, worked my way up the ranks as you do often in the church world from being a youth pastor to an assistant to an associate. And my first, I, I got, got married and had my first daughter and we were living in Windsor, and then I, you know, G had the calling to become a lead pastor of a church for the very first time I was 28 years old.
Wow. And time to kind of go. And I, and I’m amazed at that. Of course. I, I laugh, I joke with my, my daughter Brittany, who was the one that was born in Windsor that she is now older than I was when I. Started as a senior pastor and Wow. When I look, I just can’t imagine her carrying some of the burdens that I carried at right at her age you know, and, and want to protect her from a lot of that stuff.
Mm-hmm. . And so headed off to be a senior pastor, a lead pastor in my first congregation where I was in charge and I was going to be the guy. I and, and it was in, in that context that I you know, found some language recently that. When death found me. Hmm. And it was probably in those two years of just stepping into that role as senior pastor of that church in Eric Falls Ontario, that I all of a sudden, everything, all of the confidence, the, the structure that I’d.
Found my tribe. Yeah. That I had my purpose. My purpose was to love Jesus and to serve God and all of this kind of stuff. All of that got shaken. I had a daughter who was born when we were in Windsor, Katie and she had some some health issues. And at seven months old, she passed. Mm. And and I remember, you know, the, the, you know, the it’s a long, you know, kind of go through that whole story, but it was just an incredibly challenging, obviously traumatic experience to have being here in Ottawa where she was going to have some heart surgery.
As routine as heart surgery can be. And the doctors were fairly confident. There were no issues. What they didn’t know was that she had this underlying condition a syndrome called, it’s now a well-known, not well-known, but it’s a more well-known syndrome called Noonan Syndrome. At that time, there was no real understanding of it.
And so she went through this surgery and she just got worse and worse. And over the course of a week, I can remember, I remember it’s the first time I’ve ever seen. To breakdown because he was so carrying this burden of this is not supposed to be happening. And it was only with some conversations with a doctor in the UK that they came to understand this idea of Noonan syndrome that she passed eventually passed away f as a result of, of that.
But I can remember the devastation of that moment thinking this is as dark as it gets. And I remember breaking down in tears talking to the. The chairman of the board of this church that I had just taken over that I was now just a few months, I was six months fi five months into leading this congregation saying, I don’t know how I can lead you.
Yeah. I’m completely broken. And, and how graceful they were and how loving and kind they were. And I it, you know, took some time off. Went back up to the to the church to ready to take over the, the and care for the congregation and, and, and really had made the decision that I was going to care for them as they cared for me in the grief.
And, and, you know, of, of going through this incredible loss. And started back pastoring about a month before Easter. Mm. And we were putting on this Easter play as churches often will do, and we were getting things ready for this thing. And a week before the, the Easter weekend the weekend before I’m laying in bed about three o’clock in the morning and I, the phone rings and the, the person on the phone I.
Selves as a police and says, you know, are you pastor? Are you Reverend Rob Dale? Yes, I am. We need you to come. We, we got a car coming to get you right now. We need you to come out and help us with a situation we have. One of your parishioners has a shotgun and is threatening to kill himself. He won’t speak to anyone but you.
We need you to come out here and, and help us to, you know, neutralize this and, and, and I’ve absolutely, and I’m like, what? You know, I’m 20 at that time. I’m 29 years old. You know with very little life, you know experiences and, and, and needing to go and take care of this situation. And so, You know, I get dressed and we are heading out and, and the police arrive and when they pick me up, they said to me, as soon as we got in the car we’re actually gonna head to the station, not out to the, and, and when we headed to the station, they informed me that that he had pulled the trigger and he had, he had shot himself.
Mm-hmm. I then went with the police over to his house to let his wife and 12 year old son know that his, that their, that their husband and father w wasn’t coming home. No way to work, you know, to, there’s no script for that. No. And at the time, not realizing the burden I was carrying from my own daughter’s death, right.
To then walk right into now having to care for this cuz he was well loved. JJ was an incredibly loved person in the com in that community. The entire community was affected by, by his death. , everyone churchgoer and Knot turned to me and said, you know, we’re basically, you need to help us all through this.
So I just basically took Katie’s trauma and just kind of pushed that down. Said I need to be the man of God. Yeah. Right. I need to be the, I need to be something for these people. They need me, they need me. . Yeah. Right. And, and a script that we both know well. Yeah. And so my needs don’t matter. We need to take care of, of them.
Right. And and, and I think I did a, a, a great job at that as much as I could at the time. Right. I look back on it, I’ve reflect on it. I talked to some of the p I’m still connected to a few people from that. From that church and certainly, you know it, it, it was you know, you, you try to do as best as you can during that.
In that course of the time, just before Katie’s death, my mom had she discovered she had breast cancer and began a journey of. Of battling with cancer. I made the decision, my, my wife at the time, and I made the decision to resign from the church about about a year after all of this that had happened to come back to Ottawa to care for my mom.
My sister had been her primary caregiver and we felt it was important for us to come back and kind of honor our, my mother and, and to take care of her. And so we moved back to Ottawa. My mom moved in with me. And a literally, and the whole purpose again of moving back to Ottawa is to care for my mom.
One week after we moved back into the city she asked me to take her to the hospital. She wasn’t feeling good. I drove her to the hospital and literally a week later she was dead. . Mm. And I remember, and even having the conversation with my sister about how my sister believes us, I believe this as well, that it was like my mom knew that I would be the only one who would be able to kind of carry the, the kind of degree for the burden of being the one to bring her to the hospital for the last time.
And it was like she was waiting for me to be there to take her in. And to do that and and to experience that and to go through. She wrote a letter shortly before her death. She knew that she was, she knew she was dying. It was clear afterwards I realized that how much she knew she was preparing for her death.
And she wrote kind of final goodbye letters to, to my sister and my brother and I, and in mind she talked about, You know, Rob, you’re the the the, the phrase was, you’re the one I’ll never, I’ve never had to worry about you, and I never worry about you because you’re the peacemaker, you’re the bridge.
You’ll be the one that keeps everybody. Okay. And I remember how angry I was at that. Not, and, and then I was guilty. The guilt I felt for being angry. Angry. All right. I felt guilty for feeling angry. Yeah. Because it was like, I just wanted my mom to say, Hey, I worry about you, or you know, I know you need, you know, to what, because that was my reaction was, but what about me?
Yeah. My sister’s letter had all this beautiful stuff about her and my brothers about him, but mine was all about you. You, you’ll take care of everybody. I didn’t want to care, take care of anybody. I wanted to. I want someone to take care of me. Yeah. And and that became, again, so those three moments, I remember after my mom’s death, I made the statement to someone.
Everyone I care about goes away. . Right. And, and I made the decision then that I would be very careful not to ever be vulnerable with people because why would I, cuz if I’m vulnerable, if I trust people, if I embrace people and, and I found that, and I, you know, I’ve hurt people along the way as a result of that script, I get close in a relationship and then I damage it.
I, I end it, I do these things in order to, because I, and I would just constantly make this shift around, right? And I buried all that for years. Yeah, and past started the Bikers Church became one of the most successful churches in our denomination. Saw all kinds of great stuff happening there. You know, we rekindled our connection through all that season.
And I was, you know, I was featured at, you know, at at different denominational events and I was. Touring around I to come speak at my church time I was touring around, speaking at all kinds of church. You never, you never invited me to yours. I just realized that it was a, one way, felt like that was a very one way relationship.
It really was . It really was. I just wanted your money. Oh God. Right. And that’s fair. Yeah. But it really didn’t because in that context and in that world as a, certainly as a minister, You, you had to have your act together. Yeah. I to your shit together. You had to have your stuff together. So it didn’t really, it didn’t until after I when I made the decision.
And I remember you had left that world a little bit before me, a number of years before me, but I remember having that conversation Dodge. Yeah. But I remember when I, I did a road trip on a, and, and I remember being on this road trip and I had made, I was just so torn with this is not, Who am I?
Mm-hmm. And I had no idea how to get out of that how to get out of that world and how to, how the hell do you start? At that point I was in my, you know, at 40 years old, how the hell do you do this? And you did. Hmm. And and I remember coming to you and saying, okay, I need, I need, I’m gonna, I’m about to resign from my church.
I’m about to en announce that my marriage is over. Help. Yeah, I remember that. Like, who, who, who do I, who do you know? I, I need a job. I, I’m qualified to, to, you know, be a greeter somewhere, but I’ve got no qual, I’ve got no experience outside of the church world. Who do you know that could hire me to drive a truck or do something?
And then you had that famous question that you that you asked which was have you ever considered coaching, not a coaching Robin , and started that journey with, with you? One of the best journeys ever, by the way. It has been a tremendous, incredible journey. Can I, can I ask you a question?
Yeah. You, you talk about that trip you went on and you talk about that clarity. How does that clarity show up? Did it show up on its own? How’d you know you needed to go on a trip? Or did you know you needed to go on a tra like that? Cuz that’s, that’s a seminal moment in, in all of this. Where all of a sudden you, you made a call to say, things have to change.
Right? Yeah. And you say, how do I start fresh? Cuz that’s my other question is, yeah. Tell us about how you started fresh, but that, that trip galvanized or clarified your thing. Something happened there. Can you tell us a just a little bit about it? Yeah. And it was I made the decision to go on the trip.
It was you know, in, in, in we called. I basically took a three month sabb. Yeah. And I was at a point where I was I was pastoring bikers church. I was also pastoring the church that Eric had stepped down from. And and I was, I was kind of burning out. Yes, thank you, . I, I was pastoring these two different congregations.
I was going like crazy and I was, and I was exhaust. I was angry. I was incredibly sad. Mm-hmm. I was every day waking up feeling like a phony. Mm-hmm. Believing and, and outwardly everybody was like, I mean, we were literally growing the church. Both churches were growing and numbers. We were one of the first churches to, to put our to stream our, our sermons online.
And we are getting, getting people watching from around the world. Everything externally was success. Yeah. Inwardly I was dying. Yeah. And I was like, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t believe half the stuff that I’m preaching. I don’t believe all this judgment, like all this. And I was wrestling with faith and I, I don’t even know if I believe in God.
I was just, all this stuff was struggling. and I decided to do this hard, hard to be the guy at the front of the room that’s telling everyone what they should believe and how they should live. Yeah. And yet you’re sitting there going, I don’t even know if I buy into this shit anymore. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.
And many days I remember I would literally get off the stage after, at the end of the night just, and I would beat on myself for hours about, about what I had to say and, and how could you say that when you don’t believe it, and all this kind of stuff. And, but I was. in my, I believed I was trapped. Mm-hmm.
And and so the road trip was, I’d read about it. Somebody else had done a road trip similar to this and I thought, boy, I would love to do that and I want to go on alone. And no one understood it. Everyone argued, I had probably half a dozen to a dozen people in the trip. I remember it was a biker shirts.
They all rode three quarters of ’em drove motorcycles. So I had so many people saying, you can’t do this alone. We’ll go. Yeah. And they couldn’t understand even some of my close friends when I’d say I, I gotta go alone. I gotta get, I just gotta get away from everyone and figure stuff out. And the yaha moment for me, I know you guys don’t know that this exists was sitting at the Grand Canyon.
Oh, okay. Grand Canyon. That’s a whole other story. That’s story. Whole other story. Yeah. They’ve only, you guys have only been to the, for, you know, at the Grand Canyon when it’s snowed and they can’t see anything. But sitting at the Grand Canyon still don’t believe it’s there. Watching the sunset.
Yeah. Taking in this majestic view, this, this expanse of something and realizing how insignificant so much of the stuff I was carrying was in the greater world, like in the greater context of stuff. Mm-hmm. . And that, because it w because I had made it to be so big, right? In that moment, I realized it wasn’t so big, it was controllable.
Right. Wow. Because, because it, you know, be again, in comparison Yeah. That my stuff was smaller than I had made it out to be, and then therefore I could control. So I made some really strong decisions during that trip. It took another five years for me to act on them. Yeah. Because just, you know, just because we make the aha moment doesn’t mean we’re ready, isn’t there?
Just getting, getting ready to ready, get ready, ready, ready. Get ready. There’s lag between that moment where we come face-to-face with something. We have an epiphany, we have an aha moment. Our beliefs begin to shift, but it takes a while Yep. Sometimes for everything else to catch up to that. Right. Right.
Yeah. Right. And when and when I did finally act on it and I, you know, had that conversation with you, that coffee with you, and then made the announcement to the church the, I think the reason why so many people, it, it is tough to make that monumental a shift in one’s journey because people don’t underst.
and, you know, we talked the importance that we’ve been, you know, in this, in this whole podcast and in this journey of living richly the importance of community. And I can say with the exception of a handful of people, everyone who was on that journey with me or in in my community at the time from my perception, turned their back on me.
Right. And I felt so alone. And I remember it was only one day that this happened on the 21st floor in Apar, the apartment building this, this small little one bedroom apartment that I was living in, standing on the balcony of this tw on the 21st floor. Looking out over that thinking no one would miss me if I just jumped.
Right. Mm-hmm. and and then I thought of my girls. I have two daughters and I thought of my daughters, and I was like, that was the only thing that kept me from jumping was, was Christina and Brittany. And, and that idea of being there to be a dad to them. And I couldn’t put on them that burden of, of that moment.
But that’s how loss it was. So you know, and I, we talk. Transformational change. We talk about making these changes the, the, this, this, this shift in thinking. It’s not easy. And, and we’ve, you know, I think one of the probably resounding themed messages of this whole living richly journey is it’s not easy.
No. It doesn’t mean it’s not. Right. Right, right. It’s a challenge. It’s difficult to do that. And that’s probably one of the things that I learned at that point. Mm-hmm. Incredible. Yeah. Incredible. Wow. Well, the So beautiful that I, in that dark moment you thought of your girls. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Right.
And we, we, we know your girls. Yeah. And what, what amazing humans they’ve turned into. They really are. They really are. The we don’t do it cuz they’re gonna turn into amazing humans. No. We don’t know what’s gonna happen. But, but that love for. So, so beautiful. Yeah. That, that sense of, can, can you talk a little bit about you know, you said then there’s this moment where, and you use these, these really powerful wor words around death.
Found me. Yeah. I found that so interesting. After you had also described what you called before the the Dale Curse. Yeah, you had all kinds of death. Mm-hmm. in the le in the lead up to that. Yeah. And, but the, but these ones were very, very different for you, weren’t they? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think, you know, the, the Dale Curse you know, which I, I, I chuckle when I think about it now, only from the standpoint of there’s so much.
Life that I see in, in many of the people in my, my background there, although I’m not, you know, overly close with many the, the Dale Curse was again, not stuff that was directly connected to me. Mm-hmm. Right. I, I knew of it. I mean, it obviously was very connected to me, but I didn’t think of it at the time.
Whereas, of course, Katie and my mom and JJ. That was very personal, that was very much real to me and, and part of my life in, in that context. So that’s where I see ’em different. They were both scripts. Right. And I didn’t know it at the time. Yeah, right. In fact, it hasn’t been until just recently when I began the very initial work of Living Richly that we’ve taken even just a few years ago where I even came to realize that these were scripts I was.
Right. Myself. Yeah. Right. And began to identify the scripts. The beauty is and, and perhaps you, I talk about lessons learned through this journey is as I’ve been able to identify those scripts, are they true? Are they not? Do they stand up in a court of law kind of thing? You know, all of this kind of.
Using some of the logic and some of that thinking, I’m able to now look at a lot of those scripts and I’m able to now kind of look and say, no, actually that’s not true. And I remember it was a, you know a psychologist that we’ve all worked with. You know, Dr. Sherry asked me one time, she said, boy, when I look at your life I look at you embracing community.
I see you, you know how much. And I was, ah, you’re right. You know, that’s stuff I don’t even believe, cuz I’m doing the opposite of this. And being able to, to to to embrace that, creating those new scripts, community matters to me. In fact, you know, you helped me one day identify it as one of my core values.
One of my driving values is this idea that community, that that matters, but not community as much as connection. Right, right, right. And so, so my community is a small one. But it’s an incredibly powerful one. Yeah. And, and certainly as I begin to really come to understand the authentic me, not the role that I’ve played on a stage you know, I’ve, I learned that in every environment and in every place I was on a different stage, right.
Whether it was the bikers, whether it was the church world, whether it was the, you know, whatever it is. I was on a stage performing when I was able to get off that stage. And begin to just be the true, authentic me. That’s when these new scripts began to come and I became to get very confident and assured with, Hey, this is who I am.
And, and we, you know, when the self-acceptance began, I didn’t need the acceptance. I love being accepted by others. I don’t need that acceptance of others. And it’s such a difference. It’s such a freeing place to be, right? I love to be in a incredibly committed, beautiful relationship with an amazing woman.
Oh, I thought you were gonna see me. You, and Eric, amazing woman. And Eric. You know, I, I love that. I don’t need it. Which is a, there’s a difference, right? The, the, the difference between when you’re chasing. Right. Versus when it’s just coming your way out of the natural sort of order of things, right?
Yeah. Yeah. So, Rob, a lot of our listeners can resonate with your story, even if the details of their story are different. Loss. Yeah. Losing people very close to them. caring responsibility that they probably didn’t feel ready for, were prepared for. You’ve, we’ll have the opportunity to unpack, I’m sure, a lot more of this stuff.
Yeah. Over the next several episodes as we dive more deeply into this journey together. But for the listeners listening to today’s episode, you’ve obviously learned some pretty important lessons in all of this that have helped you now move from a place of fear and pain and loss. Into living a more meaningful life, what advice would you give them as we prepare to, to, to, to, to, to end this episode today?
Yeah. Yep. Yeah, and I, I would say probably a couple of things that I would come to mind right away. One would be it’s okay to grieve. Your way. Mm-hmm. you don’t have to grieve the way someone else tells you to grieve. You don’t have to grieve. You don’t say, well, this is the appropriate way to grieve in this moment.
Find that way for you to be able to grieve loss and grieve. Loss. Don’t hide from the grief. The grief is okay. Grief is, is a, it’s an emotion that we at times need to embrace. It fucking sucks to have a daughter. , right? And so just be okay with the fact that it sucks and grieve that, be angry, all of the emotions of it.
So be okay with that. Second thing I would say is don’t do it alone. Hmm mm-hmm. embrace, find those people in your, in your community, in, in, you know, the people around you that allow you to just. B that authentic you to, to, to wo work through and to process those things. The, the, the, the scripts that I carry, that I have worked through at times, their heads pop up those stories.
Yeah. And they often, nine times outta 10, it’s with you guys, right? And you identify them and help me say, Hey, there’s that script coming up again. So you know give yourself permission to grieve in your own way and don’t do it alone. Those are beautiful words. Yeah. That’s such good advice. That’s such good advice.
All right. So grateful for you to share that, Rob. Thank you brother. The you know, for those who are just listening and they’re maybe haven’t seen the video, what you haven’t seen happen is that it started as a very gray day here and the clouds have parted and the sun is pouring. While Rob is telling the story, Rob is telling this story.
Rob is having a touch by an angel memory. Cause what’s happening? I have that effect on him. Yes. Yes. I sense that the I’m now. Sunburn on the side of my and the but it’s been, oh. Now the sun’s going away. Ice speed . It’s cause you see what happens. I see what happens here. That’s how it works. Who knew?
Who knew? And that’s about tells you everything folks. The. So struck about how someone also saw in you what you couldn’t see in yourself. Yeah. Right. Eh, that worth that value, that fullness, that realness, and that when you chose to accept that view, even if you couldn’t see it yourself, everything transformed.
Everything transformed. I think that’s, that’s such a reminder for all of us. Thank you for that. Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate it, brother. Yeah. We’re so grateful that you’ve been willing to stay with us through this story as well. We want to continue to share these with you. If you haven’t, you can subscribe so that you don’t miss ’em, so you can still see it.
But also share this with others. I, if there’s someone that, you know, you’ve heard this story and you can probably think, oh my goodness, you know, Who would totally get this, so-and-so. Share it with them. Share it with them. They need it. Do it for them. Do it for them. We, we have all kinds of things available as tools and resources to navigate through.
We’re learning to navigate through. Rob, you just told a really powerful story and expression of how you’ve navigated and how you continue to do it. We want to do that with you, so thank you. Stay with us. Stay in community.