To My Family & Friends
(and anyone else that stumbles along ...)
Lately, I’ve been consumed by a bit of a tough battle with depression.
In an effort to crawl out of my little dark corner, I found
myself writing to my family and friends. Once finished, I was
not overly impressed with
my results. At first I felt inspired, but by the time I finished,
I felt like I had just wandered aimlessly through the forest.
I always have varying
degrees of doubt after I write, but this seemed like many other
attempts that eventually found their way to the recycle bin.
Then I came across the following from a book called The Prophet by
“Am I a harp that the hand of the mighty may touch me,
or a flute that his breath may pass through me?
A seeker of silences am I, and what treasure have I found
in silences that I may dispense with confidence?
If this is my day of harvest, in what fields have I sowed
the seed, and in what unremembered seasons?
If this indeed be the hour that I lift up my lantern,
it is not my flame that shall burn therein.
Empty and dark shall I raise my lantern,
And the guardian of the night shall fill it with oil and he
Shall light it also.”
Now, of course I can write nothing like the elegance found in the works
of Gibran, but might there be a small piece of the Spirit that I can share?
If not truly somehow inspired, know that these words are from my heart
and within them I hope you find a sleeping love. In continuous fear, I
have suppressed much of this love because I’ve felt too unreliable
to effectively carry it forward. But, I think that holding it in has possibly
been gradually dragging me to my knees. Finally, left with no more real
excuses or viable alternatives, I extremely reluctantly decided to share
So, here goes nothing ...
In a way, I have been writing the following thoughts in my head for a
good many years. Although I have truly been blessed with an abundance of
love, I have spent most of my life experiencing some combination of worry,
anxiety, and disappointment with myself … yes, in a way the curse
of Catholicism ;-) As I continue searching for Truth – some real
meaning and purpose in my life – all I can confidently say is that
I honestly know very little. I have written many words on faith, spoke
of God’s Spirit in my heart, entertained a wide spectrum of personal
perspectives on Christianity (including completely doubting its validity
at all), while desperately struggling to accept the enormous array of competing
and often conflicting spiritual views in the world. I have indeed had periods
of balance in my life, ALWAYS the result of some spiritual awareness of
some sort. In fact, one thing that I can confidently say is that I have
NEVER found a sense of Peace without some type of surrender to God – however
I may have actually perceived Him at a given moment in time.
A few of you, through some specific, recent events, have seen me desperately
struggling … maybe even more than you may have thought you would
ever see from me. Others have simply experienced a quiet withdrawal over
time, as I have slowly yet consistently become less present (if not completely
absent) in your life. I have always wanted to have a positive impact on
the lives of others, but struggles inside my head have caused me to lose
confidence in myself. Terrified of my inability to contain a growing pessimism,
I’ve come to know myself as unreliable. This sense of doubt and uncertainty
has caused me to question my value as a husband, father, friend, son, brother,
mentor. My instability has become more and more difficult to hide. This
has, in turn, fostered my greatest fear … a real sense that I may
actually have a growingly NEGATIVE impact on the lives of others.
So why am I writing this to my family and friends? There’s actually
two fundamental reasons: Forgiveness and Help. The first, Forgiveness,
many of you may see as unnecessary. But, too many of you have said over
the years that I’m too hard on myself … that I’m a good
guy with good intentions. Please understand that here you are slightly
mistaken. See, I’m a dreamer. I have visions of a better world with
people looking for the Spirit within one another, accepting our personal
flaws, and simply helping each other; which fosters a continued growth
of relationship. But my dream is always for some tomorrow … a day
off in the future that can only come after I somehow fix myself … after
I somehow become reliable.
I have failed you. I have not been what I have dreamed of being, and yes,
this is OK … but it is only OK if rather than ignoring it, you instead
recognize it, and simply forgive me. Forgiveness cleans my slate, while
still leaving open the possibility of improvement. Otherwise, we’re
saying to each other, “you’re good enough”. Of course,
in one sense, this is true. We ARE good enough. We can, and should, be
content knowing that we are children of God. But, there is so much untapped
potential. I don’t think God wants us to stand still, but to keep
moving forward. We can be better! We can be more fulfilled. We can experience
each other more deeply and maybe even come to know the Spirit within one
another. See, I don’t want you to be mad or frustrated or discouraged because I’ve failed you. I just want you to forgive me. Whether it’s
real or imagined (or most likely some combination of the two), my sense
of guilt tends to make me stay detached. It leaves me with this sense that
I somehow have to do something grand so you folks can all trust me to stay
engaged in the future. It leaves me in this state of isolation, where I’d
rather do no harm than fail at helping. By forgiving me, you help destroy
this foolish sense of embarrassment that sends me off to a dark corner.
I’m most certain that I’ll continue to fall short of my dreams.
But, I never want to stop striving. This is where my second inspiration
for writing comes into play: Help. See, I need the courage to ask for your
help in promoting a greater awareness and continued growth of Spirit in
our relationships. I have struggled relentlessly as an island to be a better
person, with a continually growing sense of failure. My obsessive narcissism
has inhibited my undying desire towards greater humility and service. So,
in an effort to stop worrying so much about myself, I’m trying to
genuinely reach out to others. I am indeed terrified of failure, but I’m
even more frustrated with my continued submission to fear … fear
that leaves me paralyzed and ineffective.
As I just sat back and read what I have written so far, I began to question
my sanity. I started wondering how many (if not all) of you would think
I was rambling and not making much sense. Knowing this is exactly where
fear usually consumes me, I’m going to press on despite my reservations …
So, where does this leave us? I asked for help. All I’m hopping
is that we relax and take care of each other. Yea, that’s it … I
sound just like a Miss America contestant … my dream is “world
peace”, right ;-) Actually, “I have a dream” that
is more simple than this. The catch is that it has to do with
prayer … something
that I have struggled to grasp for my entire life. Uh God,
divine creator of the order of the universe, maintainer of
the balance throughout all
time and space, I’d like You to consider adjusting Your plan to meet
one of my specific needs. Well, despite my personal difficulty
mentally reconciling the concept of prayer, I do genuinely
believe that “There
is a road from the eye to heart that does not go through the
K. Chesterton). With this in mind - well, I guess actually not in
mind ;-) -
also come to believe that our most fundamental purpose is to
take care of each other, to serve. A
song from Jethro Tull states that “It’s only the giving
that makes you what you are” and a more recent song from a personal
hero of mine, K’Naan, says that “…every time I felt
the hurtin' I felt the givin' gettin' me up off the wall.” OK,
it looks like my ADD has successfully taken me down a rabbit
see if I can get back on track …
Prayer. The other day Julie forwarded a simple prayer from Mother Theresa
that amazingly captures my thoughts. I say this prayer for each of you:
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant
to be .
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on
the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul
the freedom to sing,
Dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
My good buddy, Greg and I made a promise that every day we would try
to say this prayer for each other. In fact, this is my favorite
part of the prayer; its focus is on someone else. Now,
I absolutely hate junk mail and I’m not much of an advocate for chain
letters … you know,
send this to 10 people and on the third Tuesday of next month
experience some miracle. But I would like to plant a small
seed in your heart. Take a moment to think of someone in your
life and consider offering
this prayer for them. That’s all … and maybe this will start
getting the ball rolling for us to focus a little bit more
on helping each other.
All this said, I hope you accept my apology for becoming so distant. Know
that this message is my line in the sand to begin to try to follow my heart
a bit more. I can’t promise anything other than saying I plan to
make an assertive effort to better share the simple moments in life and
ask that you’ all try to do the same.
And this brings me to the end (I know, thank God!). I want to leave you
with two thoughts on circumstance:
We cannot choose our external circumstances,
but we can always choose how to respond to them.
The answer to circumstances is choosing a positive response,
and the most positive choice is to be of service.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
It’s been quite some time since I’ve actually been able to
write anything at all. I hope this has some small, positive impact on your
life. Thanks for loving me …
to Random Thoughts