Cathedral of cards Monday April 2, 2007, 11 comments

I’ve been thinking about belief a lot lately. Not about any sort of god. Or religion. Or even myself. Just about belief.

A couple years ago, I was pretty good at believing. I was a successful web designer with a great job and a stable of websites with varying degrees of “success.” I was young, married, a father of three wonderful kids – I seemed the very model of success. I looked like I was going somewhere.

Today, it seems I am not so good at believing. While I still have a stable of websites and am the father of three wonderful kids, I am also in the process of getting divorced. I am no longer an employed web designer (though I am searching – I’m the best, you want to hire me!). It is hard for many people to look at my life and consider me anything like a model of success now.

It’s easy to think my lack of belief caused this massive swing in my life and circumstances, but the change in my circumstances is the cause of my lack of belief. You see, a couple of years ago, I had a lot more need to believe.

I had built a very elaborate house of cards based on the dreams and wants of other people, and ignored my own dreams. I convinced myself that what I had was the life I wanted. And I believed in that house of cards. I had invested so much into that house – church! – of cards, sacrificed so many dreams to the altar at the center of the cardboard cathedral, that I couldn’t bear not to believe in it. So I believed with the passion of the condemned or the pious.

I used to have a very simple rule for life: If the universe resisted me, I was probably taking the wrong course. This belief led me a great way along the road. It is unfortunate that it was the wrong road.

One day it became apparent to me that there was a fundamental flaw in my belief. If the universe wasn’t resisting me, it was because I was taking up no space, not because I had found the best course of action. Life is not water flowing down a hill. Life is roots cracking rock to gain a foothold on that hill.

I realized that my entire adult life had been spent supporting and nurturing the dreams of others.

And that house of cards came crashing down. I made some hard decisions. Other decisions were made for me, though I chose to react the way I did. I will always and forever hold myself responsible for my actions. And responsible I will be.

So here I am. The house I am building now isn’t made of cards, its made of bricks and stones and wood. It’s much smaller, and it will take much longer to build, but it will be solid and real, and it doesn’t require my belief to exist.


sarah Monday April 2, 2007

If only the baby boomers would let go!

jules Monday April 2, 2007

Adrian, that’s some very powerful imagery depicting your changing and growing perspectives. I look forward to your “openhouse” when your new “cottage” is complete. Well done, my digital friend.

Chris Tuesday April 3, 2007

This is probably the most beautiful piece of writing I’ve read in a long time, mostly because it rings so true – and I can certainly relate, as I’ve recently realized something similar as well.
Congratulations and good luck.

Adrian Tuesday April 3, 2007

Wow. Thanks Chris. I’m humbled by your praise. I wish you luck with your situation.

Jorge Wednesday April 4, 2007

When the universe resists, you need to push back, bud.

That’s the way you used to be.

It seems to me that you are returning to a place that is familiar and yet new at the same time.

You know where I am.

I’m just around the corner with extra mortar in case you need some.


Tom Wednesday April 4, 2007


Finally had to take out some time to seek out some friends I haven’t heard, seen, or read in a while I happened to find you again.

I’m sorry the time has been so long and to read about the challenges you’re facing. Not that it’s sad to face challenges, but that you, along with your children, have to face a separation. I don’t know what I’d do without Dylan around every day, but know Erica hasn’t always been pleased with my decisions and sometimes felt she could always do so much better.

As for the beliefs … This is where the challenges always have forced me to reflect on what I believe. I know of what you speak – the house of cards – and it sounds like you have a good idea of your direction (which I’m not surprised).

I wish the job situation was one I could help with. I can’t imagine someone with your talent being out for too long – there’s always the postings on Authentic Jobs ;-)

My thoughts, prayers, and heart is with you my friend. Don’t hesitate to contact me at any time. We do have some opportunities here in SW Michigan, but I’m sure you wouldn’t really want to trade it for Canada.


Adrian Wednesday April 4, 2007

Nice to hear from you Tommy. Been way too long.

Mark Wednesday April 4, 2007

Adrian, I found you via 9rules a few months back and was instantly impressed with your writing style. In that time, though, I’ve come to respect your ideas and insights that I see in your posts.

First, thank you for sharing your writing with me.

Second, this post pushed me off the fence, so to speak. I’ve been struggling with a partnership that I think will be profitable but it is not what I want for myself. As you say, it’s someone else’s dream. Tonight I came clean and am stepping back to give myself more time to pursue my writing. With that, I already feel like I’ve succeeded. At least I’ll be happy.

Adrian Thursday April 5, 2007

Wow Mark. If I have in some small way helped you make your life better, I will count myself lucky. I have no doubt you will succeed. And be happy.

Dug Thursday April 5, 2007

I’ve been accused (on many occasions) of playing with only half-a-deck.

The nice court-appointed doctor says I should share more. Does this count?

Dug Thursday April 5, 2007

It just hit me. All this talk of faith and the fall of homes of cards, it all makes sense now. This is about the Leafs not making it into the playoffs, isn’t it?

Don’t worry, Adrian. There is always next season.

(I’m not really much help, am I?)

Commenting has ended for this post, but I'd still love to hear from you.

The website of Adrian Lebar

A Rain of Frogs is written, designed and built by Adrian Lebar, a twenty(!) year veteran of web design and development. He is currently managing web and mobile development teams at Canada’s largest and most beloved classifieds site, Kijiji!

He is a father, sailor, snowboarder, skier, cyclist, writer, artist, graphic designer, classically trained musician and afraid of heights.

Adrian is not currently available for freelance and contract work. Learn more.

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work.”
- John Gall


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