I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
There is a sadness that seems to be constantly looming. Our brief periods of elation and splendor are consistently ruined by looking up and seeing it just hanging there. A curse. A cloud ensuring you never truly achieve the happiness promised by handlers when you were young and impressionable.
Well-intentioned parents and afternoons spent in worship filled our heads with the idea of fulfillment.
Then we turned into adults. Often bitter adults who felt fooled by the unintentional lies of those who only wanted the best for us. People who looked at us as fresh starts. New beginnings. Potential to attain the happiness they never could. We followed their path. We lived by their words. We started paying our own way and yet still felt empty while we walked home alone on cold evening nights. We followed the plan – so where was the pay off?
We read the right books. We shared inspiring articles and filled our lives with motivational memes and quotes and taped goal lists and resolutions to our refrigerator doors. We made plans to run 5ks and marathons. We promised to read more. Be more social. Be productive. Chase dreams. Just like we promised ourselves the year before and the year before that.
But this year would be different. Because see now we are ready. We are ready to accept our faults and flaws and finally do something about them. Maybe we had been doing it wrong all along. Maybe we faltered along the way and hey, we are only human. We can’t be expected to be perfect. And hey, don’t you project your expectations of perfection on me, dad. I just need to live my life. Don’t point out my shortcomings no matter how obvious they are. So what if you are right, I don’t you to tell me what I should be. Actually, I hate that you remind me of just how much time I have wasted. How much potential had been lost. How many chances have been squandered.
Truth is, there are no answers. There is no magic phrase you will read that will ever make the cloud disappear. And like any abuse or neglect that is permanently branded into the back of your skull, you have two choices – you can either dull the pain with some drug or you can choose to hold the sadness, look it in the eye, and learn the wrinkles of its face. Understanding what you are up against is only way you will ever truly understand its power or lack there of. But you will never know just how strong you are until you take that punch to the gut, that stare in the mirror, night after night, sober and alone. So you can learn to laugh and smile and understand if you have earned happiness, you deserve happiness. Because laughing with friends walking down the street on a sunny day is easy, but laughing with the eternal cloud of short-comings and disappointment looming over your head, well that is a glimpse of the happiness you were promised.