The search

There is buried treasure somewhere in a backyard of small home located five houses north of Front Street in a town called East Meadow. I know this because I buried it there, long ago, at a time when youth was made for the young. I’m sure I drew a treasure map, just in case I forgot where I buried these things.

Somewhere, buried below the ground in that yard are my little trinkets of youth. I buried army men, matchbox cars, and little secrets, which I swore no one would ever know.
Somewhere in the northeast corner of that yard is the grave of my dog Tammy. And somewhere in my memory bank is a little handwritten book. This was written by yours truly in bad penmanship with a blue pen and misspelled words on lined sheets of paper, stapled together and hidden away somewhere. I think I hid this someplace behind the sheetrock wall of my childhood bedroom. The title: My First Book.

I remember being young. I remember when the summertime was this long beautiful thing that moved way too fast. I would wake earlier than anyone. As a matter of fact, I still do but for different reasons.

I would wake and go outside in my backyard. We had a swimming pool which was partially in-ground. The water was cold first thing in the morning but I didn’t mind. I would go out and sit in one of the rafts and float around. I watched the morning sun grow stronger and enjoyed the smell of a honeysuckle bush in my neighbor’s yard.

I remember the age when distance was a huge thing. The idea of people living in another town seemed like people living in other counties to me.

Although my house was on a main road, across from me was a large plot of empty land. These fields were the playground of my youth. I used to explore here. I build clubhouses here. I built a treehouse once but older kids came by and tore it down after I finished.

I used to look for buried treasure in these fields. I remember there was an article in a section of the newspaper called “Kidsday” that reported about a boy that dug up a real Indian arrowhead. I remember wishing that was me—actually digging up an arrowhead and there I was, famous, just for being an adventurous kid.

I remember a certain hike I took around the fields once. I walked down by a little stream that bordered behind the Meadowbrook Parkway. The stream ran between a section of woods, which gave me the feel as if I were somewhere else in this world.

I’m not sure if kids today are allowed to be this brave, to go outside alone, I mean, and dream big or wonder about things like buried treasure without the benefit of a cell phone app.

Kids explore. This is what they do. And they need to do this. They need to explore their natural curiosity because age comes along and takes away the right to be naturally wholesome (and dream)

Truth is, we all need to explore. We need to see things. We need to search; otherwise, we become stagnant. Otherwise, we fail to keep the ability to use our imagination. And of all gifts we have, truly, our imagination is one of the most precious gifts we own.

I see me as a searcher; only, my search has changed throughout the years. So have my intentions. For a long time, I was searching to find a better way. I searched to feel better and to be better. I wanted to look better and sound better. But if I couldn’t be the best; I suppose I had to be the absolute worst. I was on an expedition, so to speak, just like I was as a little kid. I was on the lookout for some kind of hidden treasure. I was searching for answers to questions that were never even real and trying to solve the imaginary riddles made up in my head.

Last night I was thinking of a man that gave an interview about his previous religion. He was at a high level in a heavily scrutinized church, which, I will not name or mention for reasons of my own.

In the interview, the man discussed his high rank. He told about the honor he was given. He talked about his position and how he was about to be honored. He was about to receive the secrets to the world. However, when the man was taken into a secure room, guarded by guards, he was taken to a room and given a briefcase. In this briefcase was the secret. More accurately, the contents of the briefcase were mainly a story of science fiction about aliens and volcanos and things that made no sense.

The man in the interview broke down. He became emotional. He told about his loyalty and dedication to the church. He talked about the time he devoted. He discussed how he ruined people’s lives for this. During the interview, he told about the directions he took from his church and the people he manipulated on the church’s behalf; only , to find out it was all a hoax.

It was all a lie, said the man in the interview.
Every last bit of it.
A lie.

At one point in my life, I was at a crossroads. I was trying to find myself. I was looking in too many different directions. I wanted to know who I am but I was disturbed by one fear.
What if I find me?
What if after all this time of looking to find my true self; what if I find me and I don’t like what I see?

What if I find me and it turns out I’m really an asshole?
Know what I mean?

Please understand this is not self-deprecating or me demeaning myself. No, this is me being honest about a fear of mine. And I’ve learned its okay to be honest about this. After all, I’ve lied about me for so long but to no avail. So being honest about it won’t hurt.

For as long as I can remember, I was always searching. I was always looking for something or someone to be. I was always trying to find out who I am. And I’ve always wondered who I should be.

I devoted years to fake personalities. I devoted decades to lies about me and spent countless moments trying to pretend or try to fit in but there was always something missing.
I was on a search. I wanted to be part of something just like that man in the interview. I was trying to find that connection between me and the world. I wanted to find that absolute mindset, or God-head, which is a perfect state of mind, or being.  Simply put, I wanted to feel justified.

I spent countless hours trying to rehearse my personality. I tried to conform. I tried to belong. I rehearsed in front of mirrors and in my head. I rehearsed how to speak. I rehearsed how to act. I tried to train myself on how to think and how to feel.

For as long as I can remember, I was always in search of something; however, with age came the loss of my youthful innocence. My intentions changed and my intensity to discover changed as well.

I recall back to my earlier days of sobriety. I was young and certainly impressionable. I followed the rules because I thought everyone else was following them too.

Then one day, someone I held in high regard was exposed for his lies. Turns out he was drinking. Turns out he ran into legal problems. But I loved this man. He was a mentor to me. If asked, I would have stood on a line for this man and stood in the face of physical pain for him.

I listened as he preached and I followed his recommendations to the letter.
I believed in him. I believed in all he said. And there was a benefit to my belief. I learned great things but most importantly, I learned that I was not alone in this world

I was angry when this man fell from grace. I was angry because he was not the man I thought he was. Or more accurately, he was not the man I needed him to be.
I needed him to be who I thought he was because I needed his direction because I lacked the faith to find direction within myself. In my eyes, this man was a beacon of hope; he was the one that lit the way. He opened my eyes and alas, I was able to see.

We were never the same after that. I still considered him a great man and a dear friend but the glimmer to his charisma was slightly muted. His light was dull and so were my hopes that there were people like me that could evolve as far as this man did.

I think of this and regard my childhood searches for things that were made up in my head.
There is a line in a book, which states, “No one among us has been able to claim anything like perfect adherence.”

Me included.

I mean, sure, I have secrets. I have sins. I make mistakes. I have behaved poorly and inappropriately. I’ve screwed up, fallen, lied, and I’ve lost my way more times than I can count.

But what if there is a very simple reason for this?
What if the answer is as simple as I was looking in the wrong places? Rather than look around and seek to find me in outside sources, what if I looked within?

Imagine that . . .

I spent so much time devoting my energy towards empty searches. I spent too much time punishing me for mistakes. I was angry at myself for the times I had fallen for the same trick pulled by the same kind of people.
I was angry for the wrong turns I took. I was angry like that man in the interview because I submitted myself to believe in a fairy tale.

I never tried believing in myself though.

And this is the choice that made a difference.

When I think back about the mistakes I’ve made over the last year; I realize there were warning signs that I failed to pay attention to.
And it isn’t because I didn’t see them.
It’s not that I didn’t notice. I just didn’t want to pay attention to them because if I did, this would mean that I needed to make another change. And although change is natural, no one likes the way change disrupts our comfortable discomforts.

I have never been able to claim anything like perfect adherence. So let me put this here; yes, I make costly mistakes for free. This is why I stay away from people who speak through self-promotion instead of honesty.

One day, in my belief, I will go before my creator; whether it is whom I think He is or not or whether my moment in heaven is nothing but the final seconds of my thought process before flat-lining and dreaming a final dream; in my belief, I will go before my creator and I will answer for my search.

In spite of all my past transgressions, I just want Him to say, Good Job Kid. Faults and all.

Therefore, I have decided to make my searched worth every minute. This way, the self-deprecating ideas and misconceptions will diminish through empowerment and become nonexistent.

If you relate . . .
Could you imagine?

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