If you’re stranded in a desert with a dry throat and parched lips, about to die of thirst, then what you need is water. However, if you’re going down with the Titanic, about to freeze or drown to death, your need is altered. You no longer need water but a life raft. If I may continue to beat this dead horse, consider the possibility that it’s way past midnight and uninvited footsteps in your kitchen have called you out of a dream. Two thieves have broken in with the intent to rob you and, if need be, hurt whomever tries to stop them. If you’re in the South, you go to your cozy gun closet and reach for the nearest twelve-gauge. The rest of us might just scour for the closest bat and hope to God it does the trick. The bottom line is you need a weapon. A bat. A gun. A knife. If all else fails, just chuck your one and only copy of War and Peace at the intruders’ faces. Are you sensing a pattern? Every situation is different, and every situation exposes a need in us.
25 kind of hit me like a brick. A lot of freaking changes went down in my life. Some good. Some rough. Some I’m still undecided about. Wrestling with unmet expectations became a regular thing and endless questioning my mantra. I guess that’s how change works. Sometimes it feels manageable and other times it feels eerily similar to a rusty nail being forced into your jugular. But all Tetanus aside, it’s been a year for growing, and the greatest amount of forgetting. (Norma Jean lyric J) It came uninvited, like a thief, and I felt so unprepared. But adaptation has permitted humans to remain on this earth as long as we have. Adaptation and a little thing called grace. Undeserved. Unfair. Grace. Through all the suck, I realized that expectations and reality are not in a healthy relationship. In fact, they’re more like bitter exes feeding off weak and fragile moments. The perspective needs to change. The fear must become courage. The anxiety must become peace. The hate must become forgiveness. The doubt must become faith. And within this chaotic design, a seed of hope begins to grow. Hope that the suck is not eternal but, like our bodies and like this world, only temporary. Hope that though our dysfunctional reality TV show looks nothing like the fairytale/adventure/sci-fi trip we had in mind, there is still a reason to dream with tenacity and with the fearless passion of a child. The valley of the suck is finite. Hope: Infinite.
Life is a journey, and each day a bend in the road. There have been so many times where the skeptic in me has ignored the promise of hope and instead surrendered to doubt and fear. I’ve wanted to give up so many times, as a writer, as a boyfriend, as a son, as a human. Would it matter if I did? Would anyone give a crap? After all, what’s the freaking point? But I was asking the wrong questions? And depending on who you ask the above questions to, you’re gonna get a colorful arrangement of different answers. The point, if I were to sum it up in a few words, is to keep on living. Keep on seeking. Keep on trying. Keep on walking. Keep on believing. And in this wild pursuit of existence, we may discover that perhaps we’re all asking the wrong questions. We should be asking What If? What if it’s not about making a million dollars or going to bed with the world’s most attractive models or reaching fame in the book world or even getting the American dream? What if it’s a bigger picture, but with our limited vision, our limited perspective, nothing’s coming into focus. The struggle, the tears, the heartbreak, the rage, the discontentment, the fear – what if all of it is the journey toward a higher form of living, a necessary evil to propel us toward action. Through one lens, the home invasion could appear to be nothing more than a few low-class crooks just looking for an easy score, but through another lens, it can be viewed as a call to bravery, a call toward fearlessness, beckoning you to fight for what has already been given. A call to cease dwelling in the what-could’ve-beens and face a new direction full of unknown reality and purpose. There’s a famous proverb that goes something like this: “Without vision, the people perish.” So many people are wandering through the world pissed off at God or at Mommy or at their boyfriend or at their boss or at that douche who cut them in line at Starbucks. After all, why not? Life has been cruel and has thrown us down some ugly detours. But rarely do we take a moment to clean the fingerprints off our lenses to see that every ugly detour has a purpose: To make us stronger. To test us and push us toward a greater reality, one that takes the focus off ourselves and puts it on an author much more deserving who is writing a story far more compelling.
The fruit of it all, then, becomes taking part in the epic and becoming the remarkable character we were always intended to be. There will be suck. And there will be joy. And there will be everything in between. The trick is not to avoid the suck, because that’s impossible. The trick is to not get lost in the in-between. That’s where dreams become mere whispers told by old men. Find the exit to hope and don’t look back. There’s a book that has been in my heart for a while now, ready to be written. But I wasn’t ready to write it. Maybe I’m still not, but I’m going to try, because humans need hope. This world is a crime scene, and hope is the only thing that’ll keep us alive. It’s a living, breathing weapon. It’s waiting for all of us to taste and see. And just believe.
-evega, the skeptic