The United States, Philippines, India, Canada, Russia, Germany, Japan. These 7 countries, as well as 12 more stretching from Australia, to Chile, and on to Indonesia, represent the members of a Facebook page called “Gusto”, nearly 500 members total. Meanwhile, people from over 47 countries around the world, including the United States, Japan, Canada, Germany, Russia, Hong Kong, India, Poland, Philippines, France, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Nepal, Brazil, Sweden, and many more scattered throughout Europe and Asia, totaling 5,500 visitors to this website and blog, have STOPPED, LOOKED, and LISTENED to the words, the feelings, the heart and soul of “Ramblings” over the past year. Many have been inspired enough to keep coming back. Some visited only briefly. And a few came to see what all the fuss was about, perhaps even passing judgment now and then, of the words and the “messages” I try to convey with thoughts and experiences garnered over a half-century of existence on this planet. I can live with ALL of that.
You may be asking yourself these questions. Why? Why is he doing this? What is this blog’s purpose? I’m not even sure what the term “blog” means. Commonly, it may be referred to as a personal on-line journal. I suppose initially, that was the intent, though at the time it was created, I had virtually NO idea WHY. Certainly in the beginning, it was a form of self-therapy, if you will. And I’ve been journaling religiously in handwritten form for nearly 3 years. But over the past year, and in particular just the past 3 or 4 months, this blog’s purpose has grown far beyond what some have described as a self-serving indulgence. (Actually, I’m being NICE when I characterize it that way. I’ve heard that some say all I talk about is me...BUT then again, isn't that what journaling is all about, to document one's emotions, actions and reactions as they interact with the world around them?)
To give you a sense of “why”, perhaps a bit of reflection may help. It was only slightly over TWO years ago that I even knew Facebook existed. To confound you even further, it was also about the same time I discovered “texting.” I’m serious! That may come as a surprise to some of you but not to me. In short, this blog and my facebook page, like me, are still evolving and growing. After two decades of being lost in a fog of despair and self-medication, it was only the result of a rapid series of unfortunate, even tragic, series of events that occurred beginning in early 2008 that finally led to an “awakening” from this fog. In essence, this blog, my facebook page, and ME, are all babies in the journey of life. It was truly a form of “resurrection” that “happened” nearly 3 years ago.
Fast forward to today. Ironically, almost 2 years ago, the woman whom I now share my love with, lost her husband of 21 years to another life-changing disease called cancer. After navigating through her own fog of grief and despair with her two young children, she too came to an " awakening" of sorts. She has seen first-hand how crippling and destructive grief, along with it's close cousin depression, can destroy any means of normalcy for all family members after a spouse/parent dies. As divine destiny would have it, shortly after the two of us met for the first time, it was quickly apparent we both were attracted to each others’ journey in self-discovery. We both seemed to have individually experienced an " awakening" of sorts. Or as some would describe as a " resurrection" from the harsh ashes of our life's trials and tribulations. Both of our personalities are naturally very strong, energetic, spiritual and compassionate when it comes to helping other fellow human beings find their way back to God's plan for their lives. Having the desire to help others has led us to a shared vision of doing so, both through writing, speaking, and through educational and charitable assistance provided by the nonprofit organization we are establishing.
Looking forward to the future, I will continue to write and publish my work while also assisting the love of my life with forming a nonprofit organization. It’s sole purpose? To provide charitable and educational assistance to widowed families with surviving dependent children through a variety of ways; teleconferencing forums where parents and guardians alike can listen, share, and learn from others on how to deal with the grief over the loss of a spouse/parent; camps or retreats where parents and children can learn to SHARE, PLAY, and LAUGH again; families will be embraced with love and support while being encouraged to define a new and positive family lifestyle that will foster and promote personal growth and self discovery; financial aid to those who have exhibited the need in the form of gift cards for food, fuel and clothing; and finally, even a fund is planned to provide financial support for higher education for those who’ve shown the need. Again, the most important overall goal is to help these families LEARN to LIVE and LAUGH again.
Meanwhile, “Ramblings” continues to march forward, all in a concerted effort to reach out and INSPIRE my fellow brothers and sisters on this earth by sharing thoughts and experiences with the God-given gift of the written word. Many have been telling me over the past three years, and especially over the past year or so, that there is a NEED in this world to inspire others, and to turn this blog into a book or perhaps a collection of short stories, for mass publication. Recently, I’ve decided to do just that and took a “leap of faith” into this arena. To be sure, writing wasn’t part of the plan a year ago but things change and, after all, that IS my passion and what I do best. If God sees fit to use the gift He’s given me in the form of the written word to HELP others help themselves, I’ll gladly accept it!
I’ve said many times, “things happen for a reason.” My own past has taught me many valuable lessons, one of the biggest of which is what some would see as tragedy or the worst possible thing to happen, has instead turned out to be the BEST possible thing that’s ever “happened!” One of the reasons why I always say, “No regrets. Because if I had any, it only means I didn’t LEARN anything.” More importantly, because I chose to surrender and put aside my self-destructive choices and seek help through others and God's will for my life, He has brought the most incredible and beautiful soul I’ve ever encountered into my life in Natalie Ryan-Ramirez. Put the two of us together, by combining HER experience in dealing with the loss of her husband to cancer almost 2 years ago and her “vision” with the nonprofit we’re forming together, along with my own experiences over the death of my mother nearly 39 years ago, as well as all that I’ve learned from a series of unfortunate personal events in my life during the past three years, makes us a positive force and " source of inspiration" for others to learn from if they should choose to do so.
That, my friends, is OUR shared vision and why I say to YOU, “We’re in this thing together.” We are ALL placed on this earth not for ourselves, but to exist peacefully with one another, to reach out and HELP one another whenever and wherever we can. After all, “Life isn’t a sprint to the finish line. It’s more like a never-ending marathon, full of obstacles and potholes, so we all need a little help along the way.” But perhaps Natalie put it best when she told me this one day recently, “All of us have something to put into the recipe, each of us has unique gifts and talents to add to the mixture.”
Join us then friends, by reaching out and sharing your stories, gifts, and talents with all of us. TOGETHER we WILL make an awesome and life-changing recipe! Good health, happiness, peace, and serenity to you and yours. Always.