She’s a question mark

As you’ll find when you look up the 5 W’s on Wikipedia, they’re defined as “questions whose answers are considered basic in information gathering or problem solving.” Well, some people would definitely consider my love life basic. Clearly I just roasted my own self and I’m OK with that, though, because I like laughing. I laughed a lot yesterday while I was driving behind a car that had a dog sticking it’s head out barking wildly at cars passing in the other direction. I also think yesterday was a good day for information gathering. It started when I opened up Spotify.

I heard one of my favorite songs when it cycled up in my Spotify library. Every time I hear this cover of a Temptations hit, it sends my mind a’drifting, thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to put together a video with this song for the woman I marry.” Sure, it’s 90s reggae but it makes me think of a fun relationship I’ll have with my best friend.


I’m a hopeless romantic. My favorite movies are The Notebook, Elizabethtown, Hitch, and I’ll throw Serendipity in there too, as a great romantic comedy. So when I have the chance to make something personal for someone I love, of course I’m going to do it. That’s why!

An educated guess would say this story will unfold in Nashville, where I live. There are other possible backdrops to this love story; I have family in Florida so there could be a scenario where I cross paths with a beautifully-quirky woman there.

Timing is everything and right now, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe she and I are already friends. Maybe she’ll be at the Post Office today when I go to drop off some mail. Either way, I’m looking forward to the day I can’t remember what my life was like before she entered it.

Now this is the question of the hour. I’ve had a handful of great relationships in my love life, but none that progressed to marriage and, it might be strange to hear this, I’m very thankful they didn’t. Had I married in my 20s or early 30s, the relationship would have gone one of two ways: a rough and rocky start that crippled us for a long time, or simply ending in divorce. Neither of which is something I wake up hoping for each morning.

So this mystery will go on unsolved for the time being. Heck, we only have information for 2 of the 5 W’s and that, my friends, is what I’d call… not even close! But when Spotify queues up Billboard’s #6 song from a reggae band of white guys in 1989, I can still anticipate the day when the question mark becomes an exclamation point!

-Out of the Wilderness


I have a little phrase I’ve been repeating to myself as a reminder of my appetite. And no, I don’t mean peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, although I’m down if you have some to share. I mean appetite as in what I’m hungry for, what I want my life to be about and in turn, what I’m feeding it and how I’m feeding it. What am I doing each day? What am I not doing each day? More on all that here.

For her, for You, for us, for us.

The her is my future ________ (insert “girlfriend” or “wife” here).

The You is God.

The first us is for the relationship I’ll have with previously mentioned girlfriend or wife.

The second us is for the relationship I have with God.

It might sound simple, I know what you’re thinking. Love can walk through…wait, what? OK, it might be simple but it’s been a good reminder to keep my eyes pointed towards God– my savior, my helper, my provider. I don’t always get it right, but that won’t stop me from trying.

-Out of the Wilderness

Being single at 38 years old

NOTE: This was originally written last spring but I recently decided to go ahead and share it. Life in and out of the dating world can be a roller coaster emotionally. Count the following as a moment of bare honesty on my roller coastery journey.

I’m not exactly sure where this post will go, but I wanted to write down thoughts I’ve been having as a single guy at my old age. Old! That’s how I feel some days. Usually that sensation comes over me the night of, or the morning after, playing basketball or volleyball. I move a little slower, I groan a little more, I tighten my bathrobe a little more snugly around me. I’m pretty happy with where my life is, with what I’m doing, and the friends I spend time with. Is this where I thought I’d be at 38? The truth is, I don’t ever remember thinking about where I’d be at 30 or 40. And even though I feel old sometimes, I feel really good other times.

I also think I’m past the question, “Why aren’t you married yet?” …because I haven’t been asked it in ages. The answer is always the same: haven’t found the right one yet. That’s partly true. I’ve dated on and off for the past few years and I’ve been in the company of greatness. But for whatever reason the relationships fizzled and died, or never even really started. There have been a handful of dates that would have never happened, if I knew how they’d go. I’m thinking of one at Buffalo Wild Wings, or another attending a Ben Rector concert.


But truthfully, those, and other less memorable one-hit wonders, as in “I wonder why we are here, now, together,” have helped me get to where I am. A little more mature. A little more focused. A little less hopeful. Yes, I said less hopeful. It’s hard to keep hope alive all day every day.

In fact, I’d say it’s impossible.

In fact, stay away from people who are positive all the time, they’re hiding something!

In fact, you don’t want to be there when they explode.

I’ve gone through periods of great hope, great excitement. I want to be there again but I’m in a season of doubt right now. Doubt about marriage, doubt about even wanting to date. Because dating might lead to marriage, and I’m not even sure I want that. We’re taught through many ways that finding a partner will make life worthwhile, that you can be on top of the world like Jack and Rose if you find the other half of you. I don’t really believe that’s true. Life is worthwhile even without marriage. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Do you want to know the thought on the forefront of my mind the past week or so? It’s this…

Who’s going to take care of me when I’m old?

My mind drifts to 50 years from now when one of my nieces is stuck with checking in on their cenile uncle. You know, the one who never got married and had all the goats? He keeps mumbling about wanting more tattoos but his whole body is covered.

OK, OK, sometimes I think I’ll get a few more tattoos, not all over my whole body, though! But that would be me: the crazy, single, never-married uncle who didn’t reach his potential as a husband or maybe even a dad.

People get married later in life. People get divorced later in life. People stay single their entire lives. So many different stories. I’m in the middle of mine, just wondering if a co-writer might come along who can help me, and let me help them, through the next few dozen chapters.

Falling in Love

She was walking up the beach, carrying a chair, towels, and a few other things when I asked, “Can I help you carry that stuff?” She politely declined and also said, “You’re so chivalrous.” Even shot down, it felt like a win… once I found out what chivalrous meant. She must’ve been in her mid-20s which was a perfect match for me… a 5th grader. Trust me though, it was chivalry that motivated me, definitely not her beautiful tan-ness, cute face, or proving to my brother that I would talk to that cute girl on the beach.

Maybe it’s not something other people can see, and I suppose I’m grateful for that. Like I have a chance to see this about myself in the privacy of my own mind, my own heart. Like those markers that write invisible messages till you color over them and nobody but me has the colored markers. Or the Magic Eye images that reveal an image of a dolphin jumping if you look at it the right way.

If people knew me as well as I know myself, they’d come to this same conclusion: When it comes to being a great Wilder, an honorable Wilder man, I’ve got miles to go. In the months that have passed since my granddad Pop died, I have a certain sadness when I think of the great man he was, the great man his son (my dad) is, the great man his grandson (my brother) is, and how I’m just not there yet. It’s a deep emotion. I think back over my life and can’t remember a time I’ve felt something so deeply, something that I know without any doubt will be a landmark time in my life. Here’s Pop.

The video moves me like none I’ve seen in a long, long time. Since I was the one who made it, I’ve had extensive time with the photos. With the song. With these images that tell of a love story that started decades before I was born and continued decades after. It’s because of that love story that I was even born at all. That’s the sort of story I want, too. That one day somebody will know they exist because, like Brad Paisley sings, “Two people fell in love.”

But I’m not there yet. It’s not because I’m picky or because I’m afraid of commitment. It’s because I don’t deserve a wife. Or love. Or fill in the blank. I still act like a child at times. I’m selfish. I’m superficial. I’m a man that doesn’t deserve what good men deserve. And this being one of the most honest posts I’ve had—ever—I’m not against sharing with whoever reads that I’ve gone behind a friend’s back to date a girl he liked. I’ve also been the friend. I’ve dated girls I knew I wouldn’t marry. I’ve spent the night with a girl just for the companionship. I’ve kissed a married woman. I’m not proud of any of this. In fact, I feel a lot of shame about it so when people speculate as to why I’m still single at 36 years old, I don’t dare bring any of this up. Though inside I know it’s a consequence, on a spiritual level, of my actions. It has to be that way. And I’m not upset about it. It’s fair. God is being fair and I love that about Him. But sometimes when I pray, I ask Him to be unfair. That’s what love is. Unfair favor. I suppose one day maybe I’ll get to love someone that way, but I’m not there yet. Still working on being a man that lives up to his last name.

(part 2 of this post is here)

-out of the Wilderness

Suicide in the wake of Robin Williams’ death

The recent death of Robin Williams has not seemed to spark as much debate as it should about suicide. But before I get into my thoughts on it, I want to say that losing anyone that is loved and provided happiness to people is a tragedy and loss that tops all other losses. Whether the death is expected or a surprise, it’s the worse part of being human and knowing we all have an expiration date. Even with the young kid in Ferguson, Missouri, you can say what you want about his behavior, what he was or wasn’t doing before being killed, but he was someone’s son. Someone’s friend. So for those reasons, it’s not wrong to feel sad about his death. Whether it was justified or not, I suppose it’ll be up to a court to decide if the police officer was acting within his rights as a defender and protector of the public. I have my opinions but getting back to the Robin Williams thing, I’m torn in half about it. It’s extremely sad that he, or anyone, felt that their only option, their best option, was to die. I can’t wrap my head around that sort of decision. Of course, there are scenarios where it could make more sense. Being held captive, being tortured or treated inhumanely, or giving your life so someone else can live. But I’d venture to say Robin wasn’t in a scenario like that. 

What I’d like to see more in the media is, not so much a condemning, but a clear message that suicide is extremely selfish. It won’t make you more loved. People will miss you, yes, but think about what you’re doing to them. By escaping your own demons, you’re heaping a great amount of pain on to the few people you love. I can’t think of anything more selfish. 

The news coverage of Robin’s death concerned me more than I expected, but my worry had nothing to do with Robin. It was in the wake of his death that so much love was displayed for him. Now let’s say someone struggling with feelings of being unloved and unwanted watches how the masses come out to praise Robin for the good he’s done. Celebrities, regular people, all come out of the woodwork to say how much they loved him. So what’s this person who’s feeling unloved going to think about taking their own life? “Wow, if I die, people will love me.” I sincerely hope that line of thinking won’t happen but it makes sense to me. 

What I’d like to say to that person is this: suicide is the most cowardly, selfish, laziest, inhumane thing you can do, not to mention painful and dangerous. It shouldn’t even be the last option on your list. Don’t be like Robin in his death. If anything, be like him in his life. Care for other people, make them laugh, and love them more than you love yourself. That’s where Robin fell short. He didn’t realize taking the easy way out made it hard for everyone else. 

-Out of the Wilderness