I’m not sure why it’s a struggle to be honest about the way we think or feel. I’m not sure why it is when people say what they think or feel; someone will come by and say something like, “Hey, don’t think like that.”
I suppose we live in a world where there’s not supposed to be anything wrong; but of course, there is something wrong. If there is, I suppose we’re supposed to hide this or keep this to ourselves.
I remember someone once told me that you can’t walk around and wear your heart on your sleeve.
Okay. . . .
I have no argument about this. I do not support this idea nor do I oppose this either.
To me, this is just someone’s take on the world – this is them. But to be clear, I have lived most of my life, trying to guard myself from my thoughts and my feelings. I have tried to either stuff or bury so many things. I tried to be tough. No really, I did try.
But the fact is, I’m not so tough.
And that’s a tough pill to swallow – if you know what I mean.
Sometimes, I swear, it seems like I’m a spectator. The whole world is a show and I’m watching in the audience; as if the entire show is in a different language with sub-titles that I can’t seem to keep up with.
Ever see a show or a foreign film like this?
I look around at life.
I see the good and bad. I see the joys and the pains.
I see it all and so do you.
This is around us every day yet there’s this model of who we’re supposed to be.
There’s that blueprint that you and I talk about which tells us how to design our lives.
But what if that design doesn’t fit us?
I’ve been told to keep your cards close to the vest.
Don’t show the world what you’re holding.
Don’t show weakness.
I’ve been told that we should never let anyone see us sweat and that essentially, this is the same as the saying “Protect yourself at all times.”
I get it.
Not everything is safe.
The world around us is not always a safe place.
Not every person is a safe person. Then again, not everything is a threat or a danger.
But let’s be clear, this world can be an exhausting place at times.
It it’s hard to carry your shield and your sword when you’re tired and cleaved.
Sometimes even the toughest soldier is weary from their battles – and, in fairness, I am not a soldier by any means.
But, I do understand what it means to have battles of my own.
I found an old entry in a journal of mine –
I think I’d like to place this here with you now.
Today, was not an easy one
I had to take a minute….
I needed time to clear my head.
I needed a minute just to catch my breath.
Just a second, if I could find one
But I couldn’t.
The reason is life is busy.
And time – well, time isn’t always so friendly.
“This is life!”
I said this to myself and then I went back to work.
I need to be clear on something:
Just because I have faith doesn’t mean I don’t have struggles.
I struggle. I have doubts.
I have battles with myself and yes, I talk to myself all the time – and I even answer myself too.
I’ve both won and lost to the arguments in my head which, at best, was draining because in the end, no one ever wins an argument.
There are no real winners, especially in an argument and especially when the arguments are with yourself.
I have moments of faithlessness.
I have times when I fail to see the point.
I wonder about the truth of God
And, if there is such a thing, I wonder if He’s (or She’s) actually watching.
I try to tell myself, “The last will be first and the first will be last.”
This is a lesson about humility.
I remind myself, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.”
And mind you, the way things are now, I’m not so sure if the Earth is really a great inheritance.
When they say, “Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone,” I know what this means.
I know this is about judgment and how we shouldn’t condemn one another – yet we still do – all the time.
To be honest, I know that I am not one who is without sin and, therefore, I know that I am certainly not the person who could cast the first stone.
But dammit all, I’ll bet you four tickets to the next resurrection that there’s a really long line to be the person who throws the second stone.
Sometimes I need to clear my head.
It’s easy to get lost.
I need a break though.
I need a minute but time is a special commodity and one that we don’t have enough of.
I know this.
Sometimes, I need to slip away.
Hence, this is why I’m here.
This is why I need you the way I do.
Take this morning for example.
I snuck through the door and walked up the steps to the roof of the building where I work.
I found my spot to watch the sky and yes, whether I believe or not or whether my faith is in tact or whether this is me acting “as if” because I need something in return; I came up here to the roof to have a word with our sponsor – and who’s this, you ask?
You guessed it.
God The Father
(or possibly The Mother).
I thought about a verse that comes from John 9:39-41
“I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness.”
I thought about the way we are as people and remembered another verse that goes, “I have come to give sight to the blind and to take from those who can see.” This was said by The Son of Man – after which, The Son of Man explained, “Since it is you who can see, then it is you who have sinned.”
I get this.
I get the fact that if I know, then I know.
I get the fact that we can’t claim ignorance all the time.
At some point, we have to own up to who we are and what we’ve done.
At some point, we have to take responsibility and hold ourselves accountable for us and our lives, our actions, and the impact we have on our future (and each other).
I’m not much for prayer.
Then again, I never have been either.
I don’t know if my belief system supports a traditional prayer.
Then again, I’m not even sure what my real belief system is.
I know that I decided to part ways with organized religions and man-made gods a long time ago.
Besides, as I look around, I think politics has become the new religion. As I see it, no one cares who you pray to anymore. No, it’s more important which side of the government you vote for.
This is the new god, which I refuse to respect or capitalize the “g.”
Either way, this is the new golden calf which goes against the commandment that says; thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
So do I pray?
That’s what I do.
Even if I’m not sure that what I say is worthy or even if I’m only speaking to the abandoned air on the roof of a building, right here in the middle of Manhattan – then fine.
So be it.
Let me tell my thoughts to the abandoned air, to the sky, to the winds and let them take this from me.
Let me surrender my doubts and my fears.
Let me surrender my anguish and my frustrations.
Let me get rid of this.
Let me get better.
So in an effort to purge my personal system – I stood on the roof, some 300′ above Lexington Avenue.
I tilted my chin to the sky and whispered:
Watch me as I walk because I cannot see the steps in front of me.
Show me the goodness around me.
Help me see it.
There’s enough fighting to go around.
And me, I need to see something different.
I need a miracle.
Show me the light so that my doubt can lose its darkness.
Help me. Please.
Help me leash my tongue so that I don’t speak against myself.
Help me to keep going, just one more day.
Help me to be better and just like Father Mike said, keep me out of your way.
I once wrote to you and said, if I’m going to believe in something then it will have to mean that I believe because I want to and not because I have to.
I still feel that way.
I still have my faith.
But this doesn’t mean it’s easy.
No, I suppose this only means it’s necessary to believe –
Otherwise, why bother?
I offer this old journal entry because at times like now, I can see where my faithlessness comes in.
I can see the challenge that comes when things seem pointless.
I can see what happens when we lose our drive and forget the reasons why we’re here.
I see no reason to lie or act as if all is well – especially when life is happening and we have grown-folks business going on all around us.
I shared a Mark Twain quote yesterday –
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
I know I’ve been born and I know that sometimes I lose sight of the reason why.
But, I know that I’m here (with you).
I have something in store for this world. And yes, maybe the world has something in store for me too.
Either way, I have to believe in the process because otherwise –
What’s the fucking point?
Here I am with these look-back journals and these so-called memories from the balcony.
I’m a witness of many things but for now – I think it’s time for me to get back to “my trick.”
This way, I can pull it off and say, “Ta-da!” before the curtain falls and the lights go out.
To you Jim Carroll,
Thank you for the line, “I just want to be pure.”
I can relate to this to the point where I found myself saying the following –
So, me too, Jim.
Me too . . .