A Story of Hope
Seven years ago, my husband was so depressed and checked out of life that he needed to leave our company and find work elsewhere. I was scared to take over the company that he and I had built and had run together for seventeen years, yet it was evident that it had become like cancer to him and it was killing him.
Saying goodbye and heading to work those first few days as he lay on the bed in the fetal position, suffering in the pain of needing to figure out what he wanted to do, was brutal. I felt like a cruel and terrible wife to be firmly standing in our decision for him to leave the business. I just wanted to forget the agreement and invite him to come back to work so his suffering could end. But, standing strong in the midst of the storm made way for the huge gifts that would eventually expose themselves.
Within about a week, a random door opened up, and he was hired by a company and began a new job. The weeks and months ahead led to his slow climb out of depression, as he began to choose his life and have honest conversations with himself. There have been many resources along the way that have aided his healing and transformation, one of which was a trip into the wilderness alone to find himself. The following year he took a similar trip, but this time took a couple of friends along. The year after that, a few more friends asked to join him. And, a couple of years ago, this annual men’s trip into the wilderness to get honest with themselves and the lives they were living became known as APEX. This week, seven years after his first trip by himself, thirty-three guys gathered at an epic house in Lake Tahoe for Apex 2017. They are impacting each other's lives through powerful conversations, honesty, and moments in nature.
My husband, who I feared might never be happy again, took his suffering and turned it into an opportunity to invite men into their own awakening.
One of my favorite things he says about APEX is that it isn’t a retreat. He says men have been retreating their whole lives, but this is about men choosing to show up in relationships and their work, learning to live with intention in the tension life can bring.
Journeying with my husband through freedom from depression was messy and difficult, yet it pales in comparison to watching him stand in who he is and invite other men into the same opportunity. I am so grateful that in the painful and scary moments of doubt that he might never find his way, we held in.
If you are in the dark parts of a storm in your life, I want to encourage you with my husband’s story, which demonstrates that there is hope. As you stand in each moment, fighting the temptation to give up, know that each small victory adds together for the win.
What might feel like the end of you could simply be the beginning of something that is far greater than you. Have hope!