I had hoped that outing myself as a recovering alcoholic would open up the floodgates of my writing. I had envisioned really raw, insightful posts immediately after my last update, expounding on all of the lessons in wisdom I’ve been “holding back on” because you didn’t have the backdrop to a significant portion of my story. I thought that by exposing myself and getting down to the nitty-gritty it would be easier to be myself. I thought that by better qualifying my story I might become a more effective writer.
Expectations are the devil.
Here we are. Same me, same feelings of insecurity and doubt. Same fight against the fear of sharing what I have to say about how I feel and about my experiences. Despite this, we are pressing on. Why? Because we don’t give in and we don’t give up.
Not too long ago I was sitting on my bed in my in-between room at my mother’s house, weathering a surge of pain and uncertainty. The in-between room is where I sought sanctuary for the better part of this year while I started over. Again. At the sanctuary that is anywhere my mother is, I took a pause. A long breather. I focused on healing and ramping back up. I got my bearings and I got brave again.
At that moment I was having a pretty tough go at it- the acceptance and the forgiving and the staying positive. The sadness and fear were cutting off my airway. The weight of all the stuff and all the feelings was crushing. I was, as I sometimes do, losing patience and losing perspective and losing faith. I was slipping. I had to act, and it needed to be immediately. I needed to anchor myself. I needed a life raft to cling to. As I refused to drown, I felt the urge to keep fighting return.
I grabbed my journal, opened it to a fresh page, and started scribbling. When I was done I tore the page out.
I vow to never abandon myself.
I vow to follow my journey and to believe in it without fail.
I vow to never compromise my values.
I vow to believe in myself.
I vow to have faith in God and His plan.
I vow to do what I believe to be right and true.
I vow to never give in.
These vows are a combination of where I’ve come from, who I presently am, and where I am going.
Since writing these vows, I’ve read that page out loud every morning and every night before hitting my knees in prayer.
I cling to the words in times of darkness when hope is lean. I need them for reassurance, for direction, and for comfort.
They are my plan and my reminder.
This life’s journey has taught me necessary lessons about love. It has shown me that pain and struggle are the touchstone for spiritual growth. It has given me strife so that I may be grateful for and cognoscente to all of the blessings I receive. It has taught me to take nothing for granted.
Abandonment, betrayal, and abuse have been the greatest teachers in my story. Through them and thanks to them, I intimately know what love is and what it is not.
Love is everything. Fear is the destroyer. Love heals all.
My experiences have led me straight to God, and since I found Him He has been asking me to do some difficult things. God is asking me to sit in, lean in, endure, and overcome. He is asking me seek Him instead of outside comfort or distraction. He is asking to me to experience all of it fully, the terrible and the joyous, in order to serve my highest self. He is asking me to stop looking to others to save me. He is asking me to rely only on Him and no one else.
I know this is a lot of God talk, and I hope that doesn’t scare you away.
Just to warn you, I am going to keep going with it.
I am being asked by Him to demonstrate love, to give love, to accept love, and to embody it. I am being asked to be compassionate, to give grace, and to give every ounce of myself that is called for. I am being asked to sit still, really sit still, and listen. I am being asked not to worry about my future, not to worry about my present, and to remember to breathe. I am being asked to appreciate the moment I am in. I am being asked to give thanks for every little thing, achievements and strife alike. I am being asked to do the work in each and every way it shows up for me. I am being asked to open myself up to everything around me- to be receptive and understanding and trusting.
Above all, I am being asked not to abandon myself and not to abandon Him.
This is no small ask.
I don’t know why things happen the way that they do, in the manner that they do, or why not everyone’s deck of cards is stacked the same way. The why isn’t important. What is important is love.
Love is the only truth. I have no time or cause to believe in anything else. I believe in it wholeheartedly, and I know that by acting with love and in love that I will not go wrong.
To trudge means to walk slowly and with heavy steps. Every single day I do everything in my power to trudge forward, relentlessly pursuing better. Better thought. Better action. Better trust. Better compassion. Better empathy. Better clarity. Better faith.
I will not blame. I will not tear down. I will not bring a reckoning for the wrongs I have experienced or that I have witnessed. I will not begrudge. I will not retaliate. I will not falter.
I will forgive. I will contribute. I will love. I will hit my knees in prayer and ask for more to be revealed.
When I forget what matters, I return to my vows.
We all need a life raft to cling to. We all need healing. Our nation, and the world at large, is hurting. We all are in desperate need of love and we are desperately seeking it. We crave it and we also have the capability to give it to those around us. We all need truth. We all need something to fight for.
The fighter in me honors the fighter in you.
I vow to do my best. I vow to keep relentlessly pursuing better. I vow to honor love and to act in love in every single way that I can.
I promise that I will pray through it all, joys and tragedies alike. I promise that I will believe, and that I will give thanks, even when it all seems so overwhelmingly impossible to do.
Let it be the relentless pursuit of better- better faith, better treatment of ourselves and our fellows, and better love- that acts as our life raft and carries us all through.
My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with the victims of and those affected by the Las Vegas tragedy.