All of us have a “story”, or at least those of my generation, the baby-boomers. But it doesn’t stop there. ALL of humanity, every individual, from every state, from every country throughout this world, has a story. Some are magnificent, full of all of life’s pleasures; happy childhoods, close-knit families, successful careers, happy marriages. And then there are those of us who weren’t as blessed, we might have been born into poverty, came from broken homes, resulting in broken dreams, disillusionment, and despair. The list may be endless. Everyone has a story. This latest chapter is for them. But it is also for those who were more fortunate, to remind them that it could have been them, to remind them not to look down upon those less fortunate, but rather to lift them UP. Why? Because. WE are ONE. No one person is created to walk through life alone. We NEED each other. It is our ABSOLUTE duty to care for one another, in spite of differences in race, color, wealth, education, or whatever term you wish to choose.
There’s a song by Michael Bolton. A song that resonates MY story. But I’m guessing it resonates for MANY of you reading this latest chapter. Here are the lyrics, in part:
“Gonna break from these chains around me…Gonna learn to fly again…May be hard, may be hard…But I'll do it…When I'm back on my feet again…Soon these tears will all be dryin'…Soon these eyes will see the sun…Might take time, might take time...But I'll see it…When I'm back on my feet again…I'll walk proud down that street again…And they'll all look at me again…And they'll see that I’m strong…Gonna hear the children laughing…Gonna hear the voices sing…Won't be long, won't be long…Till I hear them…When I'm back on my feet again…Gonna feel the sweet light of heaven…Shining down its light on me…One sweet day, one sweet day…I will feel it…When I'm back on my feet again…And I'm not gonna crawl again…I will learn to stand tall again…No I'm not gonna fall again…Cos I'll learn to be strong…When I'm back on my feet again...”
For those of you reading this, who know “my story”, those of you who may have known me for many years going back to my childhood, those of you who have come to know me through my Facebook page, or those of you who have come to know me through this website and blog called “Ramblings”, then you know WHY these lyrics resonate so loudly for me. For those of you who don’t, I won’t bore you with all the detail. But I will give you a glimpse before moving on to the real intent of this latest chapter, to illustrate to those of you who may still be crawling, who can’t see the sun, who are deep in despair from whatever life has tossed your way, that you WILL be back on your feet again. I won’t tell you HOW. That is up to you. But basically, it comes down to one thing and one thing only. God gave man free will, to choose right or wrong, up or down, good or evil. It’s really that simple.
For many years after reaching adulthood, I was lost spiritually and emotionally. I made bad choices. I took wrong paths. And I’ve paid the price in ways that would shock you. I nearly died, not once, but THREE times, from an insidious, powerful, and baffling disease. A disease sorely misunderstood by society, but a disease nonetheless. What some might view as simply a matter of will power, for those of us crippled with the disease, willpower meant….nothing. It consumed my life, literally and figuratively. And yet I reached the pinnacle of success in spite of wrong turns. I was once the envy of my banking peers, gifted with the knowledge of financial analysis and in loan narratives, all the while raising a family, and managing a large dry land farm operation in Western Kansas, encompassing over 4,000 acres. A bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, numerous graduate schools, including the University of Oklahoma, University of Colorado, and the University of California. I had it all. And I nearly lost it all. I fell hard and fast. And yes, I crawled, nearly begging to see the light of day, just as it says in Michael Bolton’s lyrics.
That moment, that crawling moment, occurred over three years ago. That was the day life began as if it were new, June 5th, 2008, a date that will be forever etched in my memory. During these past three years, things have “happened” and people have come into my life that simply astounds me. Colors seem more vibrant. The sounds of children’s laughter and birds singing have clarity and meaning about them that I continue to revel in and explore on a daily basis. Most of all, the people who once knew me when I was crawling, even those that saw me with their own eyes at the very depths and pit of despair, see me now in an entirely new light. I’m walking proud down that street again and they see that I’m strong.
What am I left with? This. The written word. The one thing that I can hold onto tightly with all my heart and soul and pay it forward to you in kindness. God looked down upon me with favor and left me with this gift, the gift of knowledge, the gift of awareness, a gift I WANT to share with the world. To tell YOU, that if you’re crawling, for WHATEVER reason, that if you’re in despair, if you’ve lost hope, that you think there’s no way out, DON’T GIVE UP! You may be suffering from a disease, you may be experiencing grief over the death of someone you love, you may have financial or employment problems, personal issues like divorce, the loss of your job, etc. The point is, YOU have the power! YOU have a CHOICE. And the only choice you have in life is the only one God gave ANY of us, and that’s free will. Right or wrong. Up or down. You have the choice to get back on your feet again, to walk with pride, dignity, and honor.
Everyone has a story.