February 8, 2012

A Moment of TRUTH

He walked into my office, shut the door, turned the lock with a firm snap of his wrist, and sat down in front of me, right across my desk. A “moment of TRUTH” was about to unfold. I could tell he was upset, and deservedly so. After all, it had been just the prior weekend, after another one of those binges at home, while I was alone, binges I’d become infamously famous for, that I’d “called in sick” the following Monday. “Can’t make it in today. I’ve got the flu.” By then, the pattern was well-known. Everyone knew it, family, friends, co-workers, community, EVERYONE. “Gus has a problem. Why won’t he get HELP?”

Slowly, he pulled a blank sheet of 8 ½ x 11” paper from his briefcase, set it on the desk, and said, “This isn’t working for me.” “He” was the man I’d worked for and alongside for over 20 years, the one who’d consistently promoted me to higher positions, who’d gone to bat for me time and time again. And then he said, “Do you think you have a problem?” My heart was in my throat. I could barely breathe, let alone talk. But I did. I said, “Yes.”

“Let’s connect the dots then Gus.” He then took a pencil and started placing dots about a quarter inch apart on the paper. By the time he was done, the dots took up almost the entire sheet. I couldn’t tell what he was doing. But then he did something else. Taking the pencil, he began slowly marking and connecting one dot to another……

Before long, I saw the four letters slowly taking shape……H E L P.

That was nearly seven years ago. When he was done, all that was said was left up to me. It was my choice. Get help or not. I didn’t. God had other plans. He made sure I hit rock bottom before He would step in and pluck me from the ashes, ashes of my own self-destruction. Everything I’d worked and dreamed for; my job, my family, my home, and nearly my life, would soon be reduced to pieces.

Today, I look back on that “moment” in time as clear as if it just happened. So much has changed since then. Everything’s changed. I’m still the same person on the outside, just a few more years and a few extra pounds. But everything inside is completely different. I’m not the same man I once was. Where there was once pride, anger, denial, and ego, lies instead humility, acceptance, compassion, and love. Oh, but I’m far from perfect. I still get angry at times. I still have an “ego”, we all do. I say this often, “I may have lost a lot of pride, but what pride I have left for what I’ve done since, and for who I’ve become, I’m damn proud of.”
What am I left with? A sense of purpose. A sense that I’m to give BACK to this world, and to those with whom I interact with, that which I almost lost. LIFE itself and all that’s pure and true about. Values like truth, respect, honor, dignity, courage, integrity, sincerity, sympathy, compassion, and love. He’s given me another chance, another opportunity to do good, to make the right choices, or what I call “NEW ways of living and thinking.”

So whatever YOUR situation is, whatever circumstances you may be under, remember this; everyone gets another chance, everyone deserves the best this life has to offer, everyone has value, meaning, and purpose in this world. And when your “moment of TRUTH” arrives, grab on to it. Clinch it and never let go. I guarantee you, when you make the right choices, good things will happen in your life. It may not happen tomorrow. It may not even happen the next day, next week, or next month. But it WILL happen, it’s a virtual guarantee. So keep going, you’re not finished yet. Thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become character, and character becomes destiny. Greatness exists in ALL of us and your future is NOW.


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