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Thread: Life, Liberty and the Prusuit of Woodworking

  1. #1

    Life, Liberty and the Prusuit of Woodworking

    This is kind of a double-introduction as I have been on this website since its infancy. Still this is something I wanted to share for quite awhile, and since this place is pretty close knit, I think it is something people on here will relate to.

    Lets just say that on September 5th 2004 I had a bad day…a really bad day. The train I was driving suddenly dynamited leaving me stuck on the mainline near Cameron, MO. If getting screamed at by every railroad supervisor on the planet was not bad enough, I got a call from my wife. My parents house had just burned to the ground. To make a long story short, I flew home to find two things. The charred remains of my parents home, and my own house half-cleaned out. Apparently my wife had found a boyfriend online and was leaving me after 9 years of marriage. Because of the fire, I came home before she could clean out the house and be gone.

    Its hard to explain, but her leaving basically left me with nothing. In one days time I suddenly had no job, no car, no wife, no parents next door and no way to travel in this isolated rural town to get anything. So I did what a lot of people would do if they were in the same situations as me. I called the Sheriff Dept, told them where I would be, then grabbed a rope, fitting it into a noose and tied it to the house rafters and jumped…

    Now my call to the sheriff Dept was so my parents would not find my body. I did not want to put them through that, but I had no way of knowing that a Deputy was very close by, perhaps by divine intervention since I live in the middle of nowhere, even by Maine standards.. Anyway the Deputy cut me down, got me to the hospital and eventually got me to another hospital.

    I spent 5 days in a mental hospital getting help. I am not proud of that fact, and in fact pretty ashamed. But in some ways it was what I needed. It was the darkest part of my life. I have never been to jail so being locked up for those 5 days was pretty horrific. So was seeing some of the patients in there. Either way its not a 5 days I look back on fondly. Still I recovered and I moved on.

    So how does this story all relate to woodworking? Well I changed. I look at life different now. Every time I complete a project…no matter how small…I realize that its something that never would have been created if that Deputy had not been driving by the house. I also have an enormous amount of patience too. When you have rope burns on your neck, you realize that having dust nibs in your finish really does not matter. It can be redone. In fact, anything can be redone, only life and body parts can not be fixed or replaced. Its that kind of attitude that makes life enjoyable.

    I just hope other woodworkers that read this, get two things out of this. If things look pretty bleak, get some help. Its embarrassing I know, as I can attest to four years later. Still get some help if you need it. The other thing is to look at your skills in a new light. Don’t be angered by the little things in life. You are created something out of nothing really. Take pride in your ability to see things in something else, and to make that vision become tangible. Most of all though, realize life is indeed good.

    As for me, well I managed to find another railroad job here at home, bought a truck to get around in, and even found a girlfriend, all within a week of getting out of the awful hospital. Eventually Patty and I wed, and even had a daughter named Alyson. I just amazes me that four years ago I almost ended everything. Alyson would have never been created, my house would still be small, and Patty living alone still. Its just almost unfathomable me not being here.

    Life is not perfect I know, it never is, but I must say life is indeed good. Fellow woodworkers, realize that before its too late.

    Last edited by Travis Johnson; 08-05-2007 at 11:29 AM.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
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    That's quite a story Travis. I too am glad the deputy was near by, because if he weren't we would not be able to enjoy and appreciate your input. As you have found out, as dark and bad as things are, times change and often for the better! Thanks for sharing and I'm glad your world is a better place now, as is ours for having you a part of it!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    WNY, Buffalo Area
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    Travis,

    That was very moving. Thank you for sharing this part of your life. I too am glad that the deputy was near by.

    This really puts things in perspective - Thank you!

    So how does this story all relate to woodworking? Well I changed. I look at life different now. Every time I complete a project…no matter how small…I realize that its something that never would have been created if that Deputy had not been driving by the house. I also have an enormous amount of patience too. When you have rope burns on your neck, you realize that having dust nibs in your finish really does not matter. It can be redone. In fact, anything can be redone, only life and body parts can not be fixed or replaced. Its that kind of attitude that makes life enjoyable.
    We create with our hands in wood what our mind sees in thought.
    Disclosure: Formerly was a part-time sales person & instructor at WoodCraft in Buffalo, NY.
    www.tinyurl.com/thewoodshoppe

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Houston, Texas
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    Dear Travis,
    It is so good to have you here with us today, bringing Patty and Alyson into the picture by what I too would consider "Divine intervention"!.
    Thank you for sharing your rebirth from literally a dying moment. You have brought tears to my eyes with the joy in your awakening.
    Enjoy the day.
    Shaz
    I am a registered voter and you can be too. We ( registered voters ) select the moderators for this forum by voting every six months for the people we want to watch over this family forum.
    Please join me. Register now.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks Travis, and thank the good Lord for that Deputy
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Travis - thanks for posting - I know that this is a difficult kind of thing to share and also know the value that can come to all parties from sharing.

    I have an understanding of some of the feelings involved that I am grateful for, and wish that I had never had. There you go. Despair and depression create complex energies that are as powerful as they are disturbing.

    I am delighted that your life seems to be on an upswing all the way round at the moment. Sometimes realising how close you came to losing everything helps to put anything else into perspective.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Placitas, NM in the foothills of the Sandia Mt
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    Thanks Travis, that's really an inspiring story.

    Hope those out there who feel things are just too much will remember your story and keep going.
    Don't believe everything you think!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Indianapolis area
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    Thanks for a very moving story Travis. Thank God the deputy got there when he did. I hope that Blessings continue your way.
    ________

    Ron

    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  9. #9
    Travis..........................
    That had to be hard to share.........Thankyou for sharing.

    Have a saying

    "When you are done pick yourself up by your boot straps, move on"

    You did just that.
    God bless you and yours.

    WoodWorking, Crappie Fishing, Colts, Life is good!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    810
    Travis,

    It's very nice to meet you. Thank you for the introduction, and for opening your soul to us. Your daughter is beautiful, and I am sure that no matter how dark those days were for you, (and they sound like they were very dark) I'm sure that you will find a way to dig deep and turn your experiences to a useful purpose for your wife and daughter when they need you to be their rock.

    Years ago I worked with some men in the mines in Northern Ontario whose life philosophy was summed up in a greeting and parting phrase that only hard rock miners might have heard, yet it's applicable universally, so I'll finish this post and wish it for you .... "take easy - make nice".

    John

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