Selflessness: The Gift of Purpose In Life
Mistakes can never be undone. Decisions can never be unmade. The past is behind you and can never change.
Mistakes can be forgiven. New decisions can be made. The future is not set and is yours to mold.
August has been an interesting month for me the past few years. There have been moments in life when I have been tested, some more poignant than others, but all with meaning. I have failed and/or disappointed multiple people on a monumental scale during some of these moments. As I think back to the decisions that I am most ashamed of, the majority of them have been since August 1, 2008. This is the moment that I began to give up. I allowed all of the negativity around me to affect my choices. I lost all faith in right and wrong, good and bad,...and honor. I allowed weakness and depression to break me. I could cite reasons and make excuses but the fact of the matter is, no matter what was going on, I chose to give up. No matter how difficult of a decision it was, I still CHOSE to do so. I chose not to take into full account the lives of those around me and the impact my death would have on them. Rationalizing that, "Eventually they would get over it. I am obviously not important enough to be missed". I chose to focus on the past, who I had been told I was, and how I was treated and allowed those things to become me. I chose to sit down and die. By doing this I was unable to see the possibilities of the future. I forgot..., no, I refused to continue believing that I and all of us are filled with the power to overcome. I just didn't want to go on and no one, no matter how hard they tried could convince me the future could be or would be any different.
Next to Love and fueled by it, will is the most powerful force in our lives. However, this is a double edged sword. Once I relinquished my will everything else followed suit, falling off one by one until I could no longer see past my selfish sorrow. Will, once surrendered, can feel impossible to regain. It isn't impossible, but it is the second hardest thing I've ever done. I used to believe that I could change everything including someone else's choices by willing it to happen and showing them Love. I soon found out that this is not the case. Someone that is broken is not capable at that time of truly Loving. They can not see past themselves. This is the place I soon came to know and reside for quite some time. While in this dark place I wished with everything I had left that I could change what happened. The things that were done. The things that were said. The things I could not unsee. I wanted nothing more than for everything to just go away and be what I had envisioned. I tried to forget and change something that I could not, the past.
It took My Journey and many years for me to realize that everything that happened was worth it and purposeful. My purpose in Life was revealed to me through interactions with people I should not have been around to meet. ..."I have two rolls of tape. Now we both have one. I am sitting here with you right now so you can be around for someone else Eric. If I had to go through all of that so you don't have to, it was worth it." Simply put, I was unknowingly being shown my purpose. I was given the opportunity to believe in it once more and gain a deeper Love of Life. What I had seen as my failure in the destruction of what I thought my original purpose to be, was just God smacking me in the face with a shovel because I was ignoring the signs in front of me. All of the pain was meant to set me on the path of selflessness.
Am I selfless? Nope, not at all. I am human and fallible. But I can and have made the choice to follow this path as best I can. I am not speaking to you as someone that has yours and all of life figured out, only my path. I am not a great man. I am also not a perfect man no matter how hard I used to try to be so. I am speaking to you as a man that experienced first hand and understands that there is never ever a good enough reason to give up. Not because of my successes but rather my failures. I wasted many years of experiences with those around me because I was so terrified of failure and loss. "If I didn't try to love and kept them at arms length, it couldn't fail and I couldn't get hurt." The problem with this mindset is: by being closed off and full of fear I hurt those trying to Love me and I had already failed because I chose not to try.
Please learn from me, not as a leader but as an example. Always put forth your best self. Experience your pain and accept it for what it is but do not wallow in it. Love freely those around you, not with a tight grasp rather with open hands. Utilize your past to mold a future that envelopes those around you with Love. Never, ever, ever give up!
YOU are the person that will change someone's life.