I see them now the same as I’ve seen them for a long time. They are young and perhaps getting younger to me. They are entering into a new chapter. They’re just kids, or, at least this is what we say.
“They’re just kids!” And they are.
They’re kids in a world that keeps changing. The rules change. The fashion changes. Music and television has changed. Everything changes, except for the core. And the core is us.
This is us, down to our natural self without all the window dressing, the glitz and glamour, or the images that we use as a shield to protect our truths. The core is the heart. This is our dream station. This is where our mind starts from scratch. This can be the child within or the one true self; either or, this is the real us before growing the exterior shells to create the barriers between us and vulnerability.
We learn as we grow, which is funny to me because as a kid, I wanted to gain as much as I could. The more you have, the more you grow in this world. The more you have, the more people want you on their side. You’re a benefit. You have value. At least, I thought so. I believed this with all my heart and furthermore, I believed people only want you around if you’re an asset. What this means is when the asset stops, I always assumed the friendships end.
The more I grow, the more I want to shed the unseen pounds that have weighed me down throughout my life. The more I understand, the more I grow. And the more I grow, the more I understand that I need less and not more.
I was up in the woods once. Did I ever tell you about this?
I was alone. There was no one around me. I took to the mountain and went up the white trail. There were some deer running by. I saw a doe just standing there. She was looking at me. We had distance between us but she was close enough that I could see her eyes. I could see the way she looked at me, which was not too concerned. I suppose she understood that I was not a threat.
The trees were tall and the morning sun was trickling through the leaves. I could hear the wind. I could feel the heat and the sweat beneath my clothes.
The climb was tough but I had done this before. I had done this many times, in fact, however this was a time that I made it a point to do it alone.
I was looking for the overlook. I was looking for a cliff, which overlooks the mountains below. I was looking for a spot that was high enough and far enough away. I wanted to be away from anyone and everyone.
There is nothing man made up here. There are no intrusions and there were no interruptions. Instead, there was just me as myself with no one to impress or be afraid of. I climbed up as quickly as I could and felt my feet stomp into the ground. And the more I climbed, the hungrier I was to reach the cliff. Until finally, I was there.
I am not sure if I can accurately describe the beauty of a place like this. I stood upon a gray rock, which was a carved place by some unexplained power that is greater than myself. There was nothing around but the woods and the trees. The blue sky above me was empty of any blemish. The sky was clear, except a few clouds that traced like the delicate white feathers of an Angel’s wing.
I could smell the sweetness from the Earth. I could feel the wind on my face and my heart, which was beating like a drum. Below me were the domes of smaller mountains that roll and weave into one another.
The green from the trees that cover across the lower hills are amazing from this angle. The variation in the shades of green is beautiful to say the least. But more, the heightened sense of awareness at this point could only be described as godly, or cathartic, or better yet, the view from here was redeeming to me and redeeming to my soul, to my heart, and healing to my aches and pains for all that I’ve held onto.
I looked up to the sky and came to a supplication. I chose to reach an agreement between me and whatever it is that has kept me from reaching my best life.
I petitioned the universe. I petitioned my hopes and my fears.
I allowed myself to leave it here. I allowed myself the relief as a sense of dispensation; as if to absolve and forgive my transgressions (as well as my trespasses) as a competent source. What I mean is it was time; it was time to give myself permission to let go, to surrender and to end my personal persecution by granting me immunity from the decisions that have become my injustice.
I decided to let go of the unnecessary angst and the meaningless bouts that I had held so closely. I held them because I swore they were important.
I pardoned my sins and mistakes. I gave way to the emotion of the moment, which was empowering, yet sad, yet beautiful, yet, it was enough to let me weep and feel a thousand pounds lighter.
This was enough to let me realize that my limitations were only limiting because I allowed them to be. I came to the understanding that much of what I learned would need to be unlearned in order for me to reach my best possible life. This means work. This meant that in my treaty between me and the universe, or to whomever was listening to me at the time; I had to hold up my end of the deal. Even if no one was listening or no one else cared, still, I had to hold myself accountable for me.
This meant that I could no longer allow the distractions and the deception of my perception to intrude upon my life. I came to the understanding that my past surrenders were only my past. Yesterday is gone.
This was the here and now.
In my agreement with the world, I granted myself accountability to create a new path and as a result, I relinquished my past sins of the heart, the memories of violence, the liabilities and the unforgivable debts. I cleaned the slate so that I could start over.
I think about this when I see them. I can see the look in their eyes. They’re confused. The junk is only out of their system but it’s still on their mind.
They are young. They are learning. They are growing and same as the saplings in the forest, they will one day grow tall enough to take over the world. (If they survive.)
My roots are older. My limbs are not as strong as they once were. Perhaps age is not always as kind as I wish it would be. However, age has been kind enough to me by allowing me the eye-opening events, which have changed the face of my life. I do not compare or say I am the same. I am not interested in recreating the wheel. Instead, I want to be a spoke or at least be helpful to the hub that allows the wheel to spin.
I know there is nothing I can say. At least, not really. I know that to be a kid means your choice of selective hearing might not always hear the best advice.
I know there are differences between us. There are differences between the generations and differences in the culture. But the core is the same. The heart is still the heart. Needs are still needs. Hopes are hopes. Dreams are dreams and desires are within us all. It took me a long time to decide to absolve me from my past. It took me a long time to learn how to live and not just exist.
I suppose my hopes are to become the person I was always looking to find when I was a kid. And should anyone need help or an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on; or should I find myself lost again or should the weight return; I want to put in as much work as possible so that I never return to my old default settings.
A good man once told me, “Son, you have to give it away to keep it”.
He told me, “You have some work to do”.
I was young at the time.
He told me, “Just don’t give up before the miracle happens”.
I remember being angry with him. I remember hearing people say this all the time. “Don’t quit before the miracle happens”.
I was angry. I was frustrated. I was alone in a crowd and at best, I was ready to run away again.
I asked, “So when is this miracle supposed to happen?”
My voice turned furious.
“When, goddammit! Because I don’t see any friggin miracles happening for me right now.”
The man was white haired. He broke for a second. His eyes watered and with all of his powers of emotion and with all he could deliver in the most calmed passion he could afford, the man responded, “You’re still here, aren’t you?”
I was so angry and yet, so moved that I couldn’t even speak.
The man said, “That’s a miracle if you ask me”.
There was no judgement. There was only understanding.
And the truth is it hurt . . .
I suppose the debt I owe is to pay this forward. The same as someone helped me when I was hopeless, let me be that channel. Let me pay back for the gift that helped save me from myself: One day at a time.
This is what saved my life . . .