Pushing Fervently

Back in the day—before Dom, before Jude—therapy meant kicking off my shoes, grabbing a blanket and piling up on my therapist Beth’s couch to untie the many knots in my rope.


These days, Beth is 2,000 miles away and I live (and work) in a small house with two other people who can’t quite grasp the concept of personal space. Now therapy means grabbing my phone, notebook, pen and a handful of Kleenex before heading to the driveway, where I sit in my car and call Beth. That’s usually right around the time one of my neighbors cranks up a leaf blower or jackhammer.


Prepare yourself for this shocking revelation: Beth recently suggested I take some time away by myself. This came after an hour of me talking about feeling unfocused, overwhelmed and like a total failure, all day, every day.


I’d been hearing a little voice tell me to take some Danny days before Beth mentioned it. I even scoped out a few local rentals online, but pricing kept me from pulling the trigger. After our talk, I emailed a friend who’s into meditation and such, thinking she might know of a monastery nearby where I could go on the cheap. She replied that she was going out of town the next week and I could have her house all to myself.


I love it when God does that.


photo-4I got there on Thursday night and spent a few hours unsuccessfully trying to figure out how to do everything and nothing at the same time. Friday morning I got up and took myself for a walk, which turned into a run around Spinnaker Bay, a waterfront neighborhood where everyone’s front yard is a boat dock.


It’s an exhilarating feeling to be able to run—or do anything for that matter—without having to watch the clock. In celebration, I turned off the tunes and let my mind go wherever it wanted.


I started thinking about who I want to be. About what’s working in my life and what’s not. About how great it would be if I ran my life instead of the other way around.


But mostly I thought about my dreams—the things I bury under to-do lists, meal plans, budgets and paychecks.


At some point I saw a bridge in the distance. It was further away than I wanted it to be, but I decided to head towards it, thinking how nice it would be to cross over the water instead of retracing my steps. I almost turned back once because of the heat, but had a little pep talk with myself instead.


One foot in front of the other, Danny. It’s just like those dreams: If you keep working towards them, you’ll get there. Maybe not as fast as you want, but eventually.


This was a pretty solid improvement from the talks I usually have with myself, which involve lots of curse words strung together.


So I kept running, kept thinking and sure enough the distance between me and the bridge started to shrink. Just as I was congratulating myself on my perseverance, the sidewalk ended with a small silver fence. Nothing between me and that bridge but a big batch of bay.


So much for my tidy little analogy about dreams, tenacity and accomplishment.


As I turned around to head back, I realized I was standing in the middle of a small marine wildlife refuge. A few steps away, a small plaque honored the man who created the area:


photo-4 copyJack Dunster (1925-1995) was a Long Beach resident for over 40 years.
His profession was civil engineering, his hobby was plying local waters and his passion
was the waterfront. This reserve was Jack’s lifelong dream, and he pushed fervently
to see his dream become a reality.


I wasn’t where I’d planned to go, but I was exactly where I was supposed to be. God knows it’s rare for me to be alone, quiet and open to the signs He puts in my path, so He decided to go with an actual sign for complete clarity. Think about those dreams all you want, but you also have to push them, and push them fervently.


Nicely played, God, I thought as I ran back the way I came, this story already writing itself in my head.

browse this site  


  1. Brenda Walsh says:

    Your story is verbal grace, Danny. Thanks for giving it a voice.

  2. So happy to see a good word from you today. ..and jealous of your alone time!! Glad it brought you at least a moment of clarity.

  3. I love this Danny! I certainly don’t have all of the challenges you face as a wife and mother, but I too have those “terrible” conversations with myself. Glad your little retreat provided some GOOD conversation. I’m actually doing the same thing in about a month – a little art retreat where I hope to focus on art and have positive talks with myself.

    Keep up your stories. They are so good, and I love reading them. I would also love to see you the next time you’re in Nashville!

  4. Jane Watson says:

    I have missed your stories, so when this was in my email today was so excited to see something worth while to read, other than all the crap I get, and for me it was a very inspiring. Thanks for
    sharing your life struggles, it is what makes us who we become though! Very good to hear from you again.

Speak Your Mind