He sits silently alone, feeling the rain from the burst pipes in the house he was miraculously given by friends and family. He doesn’t move as the air barely crawls through his lungs while the water mixes with his tears. The minutes pass, feeling like an eternity as the voice of common sense tells him he needs to do something before he catches pneumonia but the thought of moving presses him down on the floor with a thousand pounds of regret, frustration and despair. He thinks to himself how easy it would be just to sit here and let the consequences of hypothermia take him away from all the pain. “I’m just so tired”, the man whispers to a God he has lost faith in. “I’m tired of talking, tired of praying, tired of feeling, tired of trying… I’m even tired of crying and I’m so damn tired of myself!” It feels like spoiled orange juice pouring out of his soul as he vents, justifies, yells and cusses. Finally the bitterness is spent and he grudgingly decides that this is a stupid way to die and it probably wouldn’t work anyways, so his numb fingers dial a number with empty resignation, “Mom… I need help…”
I wish I could say that this was the moment that changed my life, but it wasn’t. There were many more lessons I had to learn, endure and overcome. Everybody loves a comeback, who doesn’t root for the underdog with the million to one chance of winning? I mean there is a reason we all love “Rocky”, the no name Italian that beat the odds. It seems ironic to me how we love to be inspired but lack inspiration ourselves, as if there are no more mountains to climb or mysteries to solve. Perhaps it’s because we don’t want to go through the pain.
I remember TD Jakes making the comment to his congregation that just because we know the struggles in the scriptures doesn’t mean we won’t experience them. The pain is part of the transformation process. Just like a baby being born, we have uncomfortable months that lead to painful contractions that finally bring someone incredible into existence. Symbolically we are being reborn to a life better than we knew. The utterly terrifying part is that some of us stop moving in our journey and just like a child trapped inside the womb, given enough time, they will become stillborn.
Had I stayed at that point of my life that was most painful, my story would’ve ended right there and all my dreams and goals would’ve been lost. My purpose in this life would have been aborted by my own hands. Saying that it is hard to get back up and walk on feet already blistered and bruised is an understatement. We have to crawl through our fears, resentments, regrets, doubts and multiple failures and on top of that, the path is pitch black. The darkness of the unknown can create even more anxiety as our imagination kicks into overdrive manifesting monsters out of our mess.
The thing that scares me the most about my past is not the mistakes I’ve made. Chances are I will make even bigger ones in the future (LOL). What truly terrifies me is how the pain, mixed with panic and procrastination, made venom that paralyzed my heart, mind and spirit. I was scared to do anything, fearing my own ability to make decisions. I had convinced myself that I just couldn’t take another failure. I couldn’t handle another rejection. I couldn’t endure another humiliation. I had developed my own religion of isolation, impotence and hopelessness. I was the bubble boy who was also paralyzed from the neck down.
This is why I endeavor to encourage others who have given up, at the end of their rope. The last straw has fallen, and despair has spoiled into apathy. I understand the tremendous temptation to give up and let the current of chaos take you under but your story is not over. Believe it or not we can take it, all the pain, punishment and problems that seek to drown us, will instead teach us how to be strong swimmers. We unknowingly become inspirations to others who have fallen and not yet risen. Hope can be just as viral as depression, spreading enlightenment and encouragement instead of the living death of despair.
I truly don’t remember the exact steps I took to get to where I am today. All I remember is that I just kept crawling, then limping, the walking in a new direction. I just had to keep moving, making blood pump through my limbs, working out the dreams that had atrophied in my mind. I still have my struggles and even though I hate admitting it, I need the adversity in my life. It makes me a better man. I learned how to move out of the coma of complacency and strive towards a future that I desire.
So if you are truly tired of being a victim of fate and circumstances, whining about what could have been and want to fight for what could be, then take those first courageous steps in a new direction and don’t ever turn back! Boom….