The world is getting colder, angrier and deadlier; more violent and desperate, I think. Spirits—that is, hearts, attitudes, emotions—seem to be heavy these days. Like we’re struggling to even breathe, or at least that’s my impression. Bon Jovi said, “Keep the Faith.” Eric Clapton said he was “Running on Faith,” and Kid Rock described his “Lonely Road of Faith.” Real faith, however, comes at a cost of tears and blood. Sometimes it may even cost us our life, but it is the only path to genuine peace of mind.
It’s the first day of the work week, but I'm not experiencing your typical "Monday Blues" today. I have no clue what's wrong; it's as though a dark cloud of sadness, almost an anxiousness, has moved into the duplex next door. Sometimes—for me anyway—stress, depression, anger and even anxiety unwillingly invade, like watching black storm clouds roll into my spirit. As I am helpless to chase away a thunderstorm by sheer will, so this feels in my heart.
But my family and I are born fighters. We surrender to God alone; never to darkness, never to defeat.
The tattoo on my right upper bicep (and on my daughter’s calf) says, “No fear of the future, no regrets of the past.” Granted, this is a mindset which is hard to attain, and even harder to maintain. It's a goal both she and I strive for every day. I'm closer to it than I was a year ago, but not as adept as I will be in a year. It’s totally doable, though. I know this because I've witnessed the joyful faces of those who have gone through terrible agony. There is a terrible sadness, hidden away, which has forever altered their lives. But not destroyed them. So follow the advice of that great theologian, Han Solo, who said, “Laugh it up, fuzzball.”
I’m tired. So very tired. Although I have yet to discover the secret to boundless energy, I've decided to surround myself with those who do. You may not remember it, but long ago, before life beat you into submission, you used to run and play. You laughed and drank water from the garden hose and tied a towel around your neck as a cape to help you fly.
Yes, you did, you just don't remember it.
Man, life is a fantastic journey, to be certain, but sometimes the darkness seems too heavy a burden to bear. You feel you can't make it through another day, and yet you do. How many times have you prayed the same prayer, but to no avail? You are stronger than you think, and God has placed within you the strength and resolve to make it through anything this life can throw at you.
You may be in a valley right now; you're debilitated, destitute, disheartened and depressed. Yeah, I get it. I've been there. But slow down, close your eyes, relax your heart rate, calm your breathing, whisper a prayer and force yourself to press on...step by step. You'll make it, and when you get to the mountaintop, fill your lungs with the crisp, clean air. Take in the view, for it will be wholly worth it, my friend.