When I was a child, I found the world to be a confusing and frustrating place. Other children were difficult and extremely unimaginative for my taste. Teachers were posturing authority figures with very little empathy. My family was wonderful, but I could sense their frustration with my lost-in-my-thoughts, hyper active ways. I began to think that there was something wrong with me, that I was somehow just born defective and that nothing could ever change that.
One of two places where I ever felt a truly deep sense of reverence and connection was in the darkened room of a movie theater. The other was listening to my father read to me stories of adventures, of Robin Hood, of King Arthur, of the legends. Both of these things were a deep education for me into what right or wrong was, what honor meant, and what it took to be a person of substance.
In the years following, I found myself tested again and again, like all of us have. Sometimes I succeeded. But many times, I failed. Horribly. Epically. Other times, I got distracted and got wedged into a situation where I didn't live up to those old values learned in my childhood. Each time, it was like a small piece of my spirit broke away and fell to the ground. It was almost unrecognizable in the moment, but over time, I felt the crumbling of "myself", the fracturing of the child in me. I felt broken. I felt lost. I felt the creeping nothingness that follows the decimation of who you were. I felt a confirmation of that recurring feeling: there was something wrong with me. I was born defective...
It was only after I returned to the stories of my youth, that I reread the books I had been read by my father, that I started to remember who I was. While I am definitely not perfect, I know find myself thinking about how I can live within the values I learned all of those years ago. I am committed to very intentionally living them for the rest of my days. I would rather die than lose that part of myself again.
But what about you? What do you stand for?