I’m in the 2nd quarter of the Men’s Academy program. Part of the transition from regular program to “works” is the training to reconnect men with the community upon program completion. Because of my unique background, the transition for me held some ready-made steps.
I work in Accounts Payable for the Accounting Department. Marco is the Director for the department. Upon being placed here, I discovered early on that Marco and I graduated college around the same time. We’re both in our mid-forties, both technology guys, having worked in similar fields. The question about my status in the Academy is one that always surfaces, ‘What brought you here?’ I didn’t have an addiction, but I did suffer a deep brokenness. Having been married for over 17 years with grown children and a demanding career, only to suddenly watch it crumble, I found my identity and my purpose becoming unraveled. I would have considered my wife and myself to be Christian, but, in truth, we were not living it. Coming to the Mission has given me the time to build a relationship with God and discover things about myself I never before faced. Working with Marco, there‘s never a moment when I felt like I was less-than. He treats me like a part of the team. In talking, he has helped me bring some of my hurts and fears to light. We share a lot in common.
For me, it was a desire to fill personal voids: a once broken heart — a heart that had been through trial and tribulation; divorce and isolation, death and resurrection — a heart now yearning to have a relationship and to journey with God. Put another way, I came to the Fresno Rescue Mission for a spiritual rehabilitation of my soul.
For as long as I can remember, I hid behind a mask; a “Phantom of My Own Life’s Opera,” hiding my insecurities and projecting an identity I believed others had formed of me. My greatest challenge was reconciling my fear. In the past, I bound my identity in material things, accomplishments or career goals. A year and a half out of college, I was married and 18 months after that I became a father. I bought a house, had two nice cars, a lovely wife and a German shorthair pointer named Dudley. As time progressed I went to work into the medical field, working for Bristol-Myers Squibb pharmaceuticals. I wanted to live and project the dream life. My problem: I had no idea what that was. Afraid to disappoint my wife and family, I began to lie, or embellish the truth. Over time, those lies became a "cancer" that killed everything that meant something to me. Soon, my marriage ended and I was alone. Everything of true value was gone.
Through this, I‘ve turned to God. I’ve been able to work through the disappointments I’ve had, and find the connection to the lessons I’m learning by opening up with men, like Marco, who struggle with the same issues. I’ve discovered who God created me to be. And, for the first time, I feel whole — at peace in my heart. Relationships with my parents and grandparents, that I thought were damaged beyond repair, have been restored. Not all relationships were salvaged, but I carry hope within. I may not have all the material possessions and things I once had, but they also no longer define me. Today, my true wealth is in living as God would have me live. My soul no longer feels incomplete or restless. I’m happy and secure — authentic in Christ.
A portion of Travis' story appeared in the April 2014 edition of LHN, page 7.