Where do you find yourself? And where have you looked? I, myself have searched both high and low for the elusive me. I have been, or so I thought, hot on my trail for years. And yet time and again the person I discovered was only trying to be someone else. Anyone else, except who I was. Anyone, as long as I was accepted and felt as though I belonged to something greater than myself. It didn’t matter to whom or even what I belonged too. But belonging meant I had to be like, act like, talk like, and walk like, look like someone other than me. I was a follower. How often in my young adult life had I asked myself, “is it possible to have an identity crises before one has an identity?” Characters. I never thought I would be one. Acting out a role in a grand play where I was the star yet others had written the script. Yes I searched for myself everywhere for years to no avail. Then came the still and lonely night that I looked within myself, and there I was.
Behind curtain number one is who I am today. A quality human being guided by a set of spiritual principles provided for me by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am a man who believes in the power of love and how it changes things when it is allowed to flow freely through each of us. I am a man whom has exchanged selfishness and self-destruction for selflessness and limitless possibilities.
My philosophy of life is simple. It is not unique in any way, shape or form other than the fact that The One who taught me this belief sacrificed His life for mine and rose again. Many have shared and/or held the same belief for centuries. And, for me, there is no doubt that countless millions will continue to share it long after I have sailed off to celestial shores forever.
I have lived in darkness for most of my 46 years. Driven by forces that led me to continually search and seek for nothing except that which would fulfill my own fleshly desires. At any cost. And although in the beginning of this dark journey everything seemed so alive and exciting, it was draining my spirit of all that is great and true. I have victimized countless others in my “pursuit” of “happiness”. Lying, stealing, manipulating, cheating, violence, drugs, and alcohol were my companions. Faithfully by my side. And always eager to aid and abet in my nefarious ways. But it became lonely and quite frightening in the darkness. I stumbled through without sight for many years trying to make my way out of this labyrinth of blackness to no avail. And these companions that I had felt so close to in the beginning could not, and would not; assist me in finding my way out. I trusted them for so long. Still blind to their causes. I could feel that they were only leading me deeper into my destruction. But I was in denial. I had to trust in them. Who else could I turn to? Someone good? I had harmed all of them at one time or another. The ones whom trusted me. Believed in me no matter what. Those who loved me enough to give me a second, third, or fourth chance. I would continually hurt, harm, and abuse them as long as they would let me. Surely they would not dare to lead me out of my sickness. Or would they?
28 years of experiencing madness from my primetime 50 yard-line seats had shown me I was in the wrong game. I was in the game of death. Not life. Everything I did felt dirty and vile.
Everyone who looked my way seemed frightened and scared. Or worse yet hurt and disappointed. Something had to give. But nothing would unless I was courageous enough to cut some things lose. When I began to throw off my former companions one by one my life began to change dramatically. People began to reach out to me and offer their prayers and petitions for my recovery of life. They helped me to get back up on my feet again. To walk up right. To make sober-minded choices for my future. They were showing me genuine care and concern. That were showing me love. Something inside of me changed. I was awakened to a beautiful way of life. These individuals exuded joy in helping a fellow human being who was hurting. They were absolutely radiant almost all the time. Their pleasure was not in taking but in giving. In helping. In loving and caring. In lending and ear or a helping hand. In sharing their experience, strength, and hope. Their spirit seemed so alive. I wanted what they had. They seemed happy in their own skin. With their own identity. Unique individuals with their own different talents sharing a common goal. As corny as it may sound, to make this world a better place.
I am no longer hidden behind curtain number one. Today I believe. In me and you and us and in this place. And in Him. Today I can stand proudly in the fullness of who I am, a quality human being.
The works cited are the experiences of my life and the observations of the works of others in theirs. I hope that is acceptable