There is a longstanding idea that we are born several times and yet, we only die but once. I can say that I have been born in several ways. I can say that I have died several times, only to be born again and brought back to life.
I have seen amazing times. I have been to amazing places. I have taken the risk to stand up and be counted and oppositely, I have chosen to hide at times, both sheepishly and regretfully, because I was too afraid to try or risk the chance that I might just fail.
There is an entire world around me that is changing on a daily basis. Life is truly moving at the speed of light, and yet, no one notices the hour or the day or how quickly a moment can evaporate right before our very eyes. This is life, imperfect and sometimes unjust, but nevertheless, this is all we have. or, better yet, this is everything we have.
In David Copperfield Chapter One, Charles Dickens wrote “I am born”
I have been thinking about these words. “I am born.”
I have been thinking about the amount of times we are actually born, and yet, there are times we are born again, over and over, repeatedly, throughout our life until the day we die.
Dickens wrote, “Whether I turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday at twelve o’clock at night.”
My Mother used to tell me about the day I was born. She would tell me this on the morning of all my birthdays. She told me this story for the final time on my birthday in September before the day of her death that followed the next year on June 10, 2015.
This is strange because my Mother told me this story on the morning of all my birthdays and yet, I cannot remember any of the details except, of course, that I was born. I was late to arrive. I know this much is true. I have photographs that prove this. In fact, there is a photograph I saw recently of both my Mother and Father and a baby nurse. They were standing in front of the hospital where I was born. This was my very first picture.
I was physically born September 20, 1972. The Technicolored photograph showed a brightness, which can only be seen in old pictures that date back before technology softened them with various filters. My Father was dressed in a suit. My Mother, although just released from the hospital was dressed fashionable as well. The nurse was dressed in a special uniform, as if to define a certain dignity to her position. This was not a typical outfit. And yet, there I was, swaddled up in a blanket.
I was born into this world, a small young boy and whether I was to be the hero of my life or if this station would be held by anybody else would remain to be seen. Then again, I am convinced that we are born each day unto something new. I am convinced that we experience death while still alive and as for the station of heroes; I am further convinced that this role will be held by us, ourselves, and countless others in countless ways, from now until the hour of our death (Amen).
I am certain that our ideas of heroism change the same as we change. Our body grows and so will our mind. Our circle of influence will change and so will our taste and opinions. With each day of our new births, we will evolve and transform. We will create and destroy, build, and remodel, continuously and consecutively the ability of our soul is gone and vacant.
For the record, I have been reborn and born again but not in the holy sense. I say that I am reborn but not in the sense of resurrection. Instead, I have been reborn in personal resurrections.
I was born again during a morning on a farm in a small Upstate town in New York. I was born again during a snowfall that laced the trees along the mountain while smelling the scent from a wood burning stove. I remember the quiet. I remember the scenery. The sky was blue after a huge snowfall the day before. The sun was bright but yet, there was no warmth for the hand and the January winds were sharp and whistling. My coat was zipped up. I was bundled up and my toes were cold in my boots. My nose was runny but the surroundings were something I had never seen before.
I was moved by beauty that came to me at an absolutely ugly time. I faced a painful moment of clarity with an exhale or sigh of relief because at last, the pain was allowed to subside. In fact, I was allowed to heal — that is, if I were to choose to heal or give myself permission.
I was born again into the light of a new decision. More to the point, I was reborn. I let my old self go and lay to rest the pain and anguish. I gave up the rage and the hatred. A piece of me died, but yet, a piece of me had been reborn, which even in sadness was cause for celebration.
I died one night in the basement of a strip mall while hiding behind a series of boxes in the candlelight. I died when a gun was put in my face. I died each time I put poison in my veins.
I say this because I died by euthanizing me into a stupor of an untouched and unreachable atmosphere. I did this with hopes to narcotize myself into a painless resolve, which only lasted for a short period of time, and while oblivion was only temporary, at least I had the temporary fuse that burned me down to the edge of my gentle explosions.
I was reborn however. I was reborn and rehabilitated. I was reborn when I sat in a chair in the living room of my Aunt Sondra’s house. I was in my mid-twenties or at least somewhere around that age. I received a letter to my Aunt’s home about me from the Department of Education. I opened this letter with about a half hour of steady hesitation. I was certain the contents of the letter would have begun with “Dear Mr. Kimmel, we regret to inform you,” however, and alternatively, the first words under Dear Mr. Kimmel were, “Congratulations.on passing your high school equivalency exam.”
I sat in that chair and wept. I wept heavily but not because I worried about failing. No, I wept because I believed the lie that I was incapable. I believed this lie for as long as I could remember; therefore, so long as I believed this lie, it would have been impossible for me to be the hero of my own life.
As I report to you now, I am approximately two months away from my 48th birthday. This year will be the sixth year that I’ve not had the phone ring at an early hour to hear my Mother tell the story about the day I was born.
But either way, yes, I was born.
I have proof of this. I have details which I have recorded in my journals to act as the seasoning that has created the different flavors of my life. I am often the hero of my story and sometimes the villain. I am me and no one else. I have been born more times than I can figure. I have died several times as well. This is my truth. I have lost and I have gained. Moreover, I have lived and I’ve died because I was born.
Here I am now, on the verge of something new and hopefully something bright, but yet, here we are now — all of us are in the same unsure territory. The world is panicked by a virus that has swept around the globe and taken lives in the most unmerciful way.
The City of mine is oddly vacant. Stores are closed. The streets are empty. People are home and some are facing the fears of homelessness. We are in the middle of a pandemic but yet, here we are.
I am not sure what our rebirth will look like now or if there will be a rebirth at all for some of us. I only know that I was born. I know that I lived and I am still alive, which means I will be born again, every day, each morning until the day my body gives up. And yet, even still, I know that it is by dying that one is awakened to eternal light. Therefore, I can choose to find comfort or I can give into my fears. Either way, the choice belongs to me.
This day is a challenge and nothing more. This day is a search for purpose and as long as I am able to search then I am able to stand. I can rise up against the adversity of anything that stands before me. I can live and die a thousand times in a day or an hour but so long as I am born; I am capable of anything. All I need to do is to understand the strengths of my ability, which are born with me because above all things, I am born and nothing, no matter what can ever change this undeniable truth.
I am born.
What amazingly strong words these are to say.
Don’t believe me?
Try this out for yourself.
“I am born” are three words that define the birth of overcoming the old patterns of our life. This is the way to leave behind the pasts that we choose to lay at rest. I am born.
I like that idea.