I’ve been MIA from here, a lot on my plate these days, that whole Cultural Oasis project, work, a memoir, but I need to say this: I am so thankful for the path I had to travel to get to this point in my life. The degree of peace is proportional to the level of pain I endured, mole hills of hurt I sculpted into Everests.
Where do I even begin? And please, know every single person in my life I love, if I leave someone out, it’s not intentional, I have the attention span of a gnat in a South Florida Christmas village display at 9:00PM. The first few are easy – God. Always first, always had my back, even when I turned mine on him. I died, multiple times, and here I am. I prayed for the end, and He gave it to me, a junkie’s obsessions totally relieved.
My parents – walked through my fire with me…no I drug them, caused them untold nights of anxiety and worry, hearts skipping beats every time a phone rang after midnight, Wrapped up in self-centeredness, I never gave their thoughts or love a first thought, let alone a second. Yet their love for me endures, much like God, their love is grace, unmerited mercy. How grateful I am for their unconditional love, words don’t exist.
Family and friends that have reached out to me, I lied to so many people, took advantage of kindness, was a complete scumbag, yet you still give me support I that leaves me in awe. Another gift I would have said I don’t deserve, but today I gladly accept and work to return in kind. To anyone who bought Long Sleeved Summers, Shoestring Theories is on me. Contact me any way you want, I don’t hide in my own self-pity anymore.
To a man named Leroy, who was a beacon to show me I was on the right path. To the men at DAF & Swinton many of whom are still close friends, the struggle is real, but we get through it together. To Brendan for being a true friend, at my lowest you were there for me.
To Greg- I love you man. You took me through steps, you taught me what to do to foster and nurture a relationship with God, Any time I needed help, you were there. I am grateful to have you in my life as a teacher and friend. You showed me how to help another man, and what altruism is all about.
To people I have wronged, hurt, some of you have tracked me down, offering support. Some I have found and made amends as best I can. There is so much left to do and I love that it’s seldom an apology but an owning of my actions, and an offer extended to make those wrongs right. To know I endeavor to never allow a selfish decision be made, or an act of service have even a hint of ulterior motives. I fail, I am human and admit when I fall short.
I could go on and on- today I have nothing but love in my heart. My head is held high. I look you in the eye, I see the beauty around me, as well as the pain and despair I was delivered from. I don’t forget those moments of sheer hopelessness, where my will to go on was shattered into a million fragments, because I get what it’s like to have strangers shrink away at the sight of my wretchedness. When all I wanted was a hello, some interaction with humanity – that’s why the slightest action, a hello, a cigarette given, can make all the difference to a human being in need.
Gratitude has shifted my perspective, nothing in this life can steal my joy. I ride the waves of emotions like everyone, but the peace inside me is rooted in God and selflessness. Am I perfect, so far from it. Every day though I thank God for all the people above, those named and unnamed, and for those stuck in the struggle, those who feel all alone. I am grateful for all of it, the random encounters, the lost relationships, the terrible decisions, all of it is vital or I would not be here, able to be thankful for the most basic provision, a job, a roof, for coffee and cigarettes, and more importantly, I am thankful for everyone in my life, that they were all put into my life for a reason.
Thank you. Nothing of any value exists without love. With it, and compassion, the resultant peace of mind nurtures a joyous heart. God-given joy, sustainable selflessness.