Motivation

hiding in plain sight

 

When it comes to having dreams, we always raise our hands in excitement.  When it comes time to buying the shovel and spade, and doing the work, the numbers noticeably dwindle.  When it’s time to finish what we started, and be finally done with our labour, the numbers become even more anemic.  Finally, when it’s time to gift the world with what you’ve made, you will find yourself very much alone.

You will begin to doubt, get anxious, and become overwhelmed with fear. 

I am still trying to figure out what it is about our human nature that prevents us from sharing who we are.  What it is that distracts us and convinces us that we are not good enough.

We don’t think of ourselves as unworthy impostors, until we have something we can share. 

We begin to imagine we will die a slow and painful death of shame and indignation and so we pull back in fear, because everyone will once again know and see our very frail limitations. 

The good life, the happy life, is meant for someone else.  The lives of Saints, are a painful reminder that success is not found on a road less travelled.  It is nothing more than an abandoned dead end. 

This is a lie we tell ourselves.

It is a truly strange because when toss the first shovel full of dirt over our shoulder, the glory and sense of accomplishment, is all we envision and sense. 

We spend time imagining what it will feel like when we were finished.  We impress our minds with how meaningful and beautiful it will all be when we finish.  How glorious, to share who we are, and what we have made, with perfect strangers.  Strangers no more.  Brothers and sisters connected in a beautiful spirit of human experience.

But we don’t ship.  We hide.  We hide from ourselves and we hide from each other.

We hide in plain sight.

When we are close, we nit-pick. 

We find fault. 

We notice errors in the smallest of things, the insignificant, magnifying the mistakes no one sees or even cares about.  We seek the council of people who we know deep down, will find something wrong with what we have made.  We thrash about looking and embracing every sensible opinion that convinces us that what we really need, is just one more day, another week, another month, and perhaps another whole year. 

You need to get it right, to polish it up; just a little bit more.  Just a tiny bit.  Almost there.  Have faint, it’s almost time.  A crank here. A little adjustment.  A little tug.  The slightest pull.

And so, you hide.

We have hidden who we are for years.  Decades. 

We run away from what we want, who we are, and what we dream about.

It’s safer not to make a ruckus. To not raise your voice.  To sit down.  To timidly, take it.  To politely wait your turn.

But your turn never comes. 

You are almost there, but never there.

You hate yourself for not speaking up and become tired and weary for spending your entire life, sitting back and taking it.

When is it going to be your turn?

When will you stand up and have people take notice?

It won’t be easy.  The criticism will certainly fly.  The gossip will wage a war against your human dignity.  Eyebrows will be raised in indignation.  Your work will be scrutinized.  It will be misunderstood.  Dissected.  Laughed at.  Jeered.  Embraced?

Could there be a chance someone will find value with what you have made?

Think of the possibilities.

You might make someone laugh.  Bring a smile to their tired face.  Give them an opportunity to cry.  Afford them permission to be who they are.  The courage to no longer pretend who they don’t want to be.  You might give them a voice, or dispel their loneliness. 

You might give them a moment of peace.  A chance to reflect.  An opportunity to embrace their broken humanity.

You might inspire them. 

Anger them. 

You might make them think and feel.

You might make a ruckus!

But not, if you remain timid, and hide in plain sight.

Nothing matters.  Nothing grows.  Nothing changes with silence and fear.

Find your voice. 

Find the courage.

Find a way to share.

 


the beginning of the end

 

I have been searching my soul this week, wondering where all this is going. 

By the end of this December, which is quickly approaching, I intend to organize and edit everything I have written so far, and turn it into a book.

I believe Diggin’ Ditches is definitely a working title.

I am not sure who will read the book.  I have many doubts, questions and reluctant thoughts on the matter.  I am not crippled by fear, but definitely a little unhinged, wondering if anyone will care or buy the book.

I chase those thoughts far from my consciousness.  I instruct myself to keep digging and not to spend too much time dwelling on the possibility of being a failed author, on my very first try.

It might be a little easier now, instead of a few months from now, when I will need to find the funds and leap forward.

A very dear friend proposed the idea for book, and I am extremely grateful.  It has given me a renewed sense of purpose and a goal I didn’t have before.

Writing every single day is not easy. 

I am not interested in easy.  I am in this thing for the challenge and a sense of meaning.

I have decided to end this blog.

Not yet.  I’m not done.  I am not ready to move on to other things, but for the first time since I started I can see the end coming.

I am giving myself four more years.

It is so easy to write down, but the end of 2021 is a lifetime away.

In either case, I now know the end.

When I am done, I will have five volumes of meaningful musings, and one volume of quotables.  Enough to create a daily reader, which will guide you through an entire year.  I might throw in an extra few entries to compensate for a few leap years.  An appendix of sorts.

Why am I thinking out loud and why does this have to end?

I am sharing this today because I don’t want all of this to just vanish one day.  I don’t want those of you who read on a regular basis to wake up and never hear from me again. 

I have visited many wonderful blogs, and it saddens me, when I see their last entry read 2012, 2015, or 2009.  They burn bright and burn out.  They are not heard from again.  I am sad when I find yet another forgotten graveyard of beautiful writing

Today I have a purpose.  It will end my terms.  All I must do now, is just the hard work of sticking to it and never losing grip.  Never losing faith or hope, that despite not knowing where I am going, I am helping in making ripples somewhere, along the way.

Thank you for reading.

I don’t think I would write as often otherwise.

Every clown with a hat on the dirty street, needs an audience what is willing to stop and stare.

Thanks for staring.

I hope your lives have been enriched for having been here.

 


infinite possibilities

 

I have been dreaming in my sleep lately, which is quite unusual. 

It’s unusual because I rarely dream.  It takes my unconscious directors, months, if not years, between each screening of her carefully crafted spindles of film.

I know I dream.  We all dream. 

I just have no memories of anything.  I wake up from the night before without a trace or the smallest hint of anything, everything.

I’m not sure what that says about my state of health, but I guess that a good night might be somehow good for me. Despite the health benefits, a part of me does feel a little left out.  Left out from the common human experience, of sharing some unbelievable tales and terrifying nightmares.

My recent dreams are too personal to share.  My subconscious mind is living out some things I need to focus on.  I don’t know what any of it means, but I’m glad to be involved in the conversation.

I sometimes wish my mom and dad would come and visit me in my dreams.  I sometimes think they do.  It would be lovely to see them again.  To embrace each other.  To remember.

We are lucky because our dreams offer us a world of infinite possibilities.

We have a chance to work out our anger and frustration, or perhaps feel the joy of something that hasn’t happened yet.  The visions are vivid.  They are real.  We should definitely pay more attention to them.

And why can’t our lives be as vivid?

Why can’t our living dreams be as colourful as our slumbering tales?

Aren’t they scripted, directed, and produced by the same mind?

One takes about ten minutes to play out and feels like a lifetime.  The other sometimes takes ten or twenty years, and feels like a brief breath of time.

Anything can happen when we are sleep.

We should probably awaken to the reality that anything can happen in our wakefulness too.

But it can only happen through action and engagement.  Our lives can only take shape by meaningful work and by sharing our work with the world. 

I think it is time to stop hiding.

Time to stop telling ourselves the false story that we can’t, that we need more education, more time, or more or less of everything.

So, stop hiding.

Start dreaming.

Dream out loud, because the nightmares of others, or perhaps your own, may not become as loud and terrifying if you struggle against remaining silent and numb.

So, share something.

Dream out loud.

Dream often.

 


armed with a coffee

 

Life seems like a long journey until it isn’t.

It is infinite, until it just suddenly ends. 

There are no reminders.  No sticky notes.

There is no final phone call.  Perhaps no last goodbye.

Just the end.

It doesn’t really matter how long you’ve been on your journey.  Nor does it really matter how much you’ve laughed or cried along the way.  It seems insignificant how often you’ve been scared, anxious, or worried.  In the final calculation it doesn’t matter, because we will all face the same curtain call. 

And it is a curtain call.  The end of an act.  But it is not a punishment or a curse.

But what do I know?

I am very incapable and insecure about the subject of death.  I haven’t figured it out.  Far from it.  It scares the living shit out of me sometimes. The pun is intentional.

Over the years, I continue to humbly listen and watch for wise words and examples, in the hopes of learning something.  Something that will help me figure out what I am doing here, why I matter, and why it is preordained that I must leave one day. 

One day. 

It’s a long journey. 

We live it one step at a time.  One year at a time.  

Until the end.

In an effort to repeat myself, I don’t have many answers.  I don’t even have a dozen.  But I do have a myriad of very complex questions.  Questions which generally fall on deaf ears as very few every want to hear or discuss them. 

I am therefore subjected to gathering insights on my own, and you probably share a similar fate.

I am just trying to get at the truth.  It is not easy.  It is very elusive.  It is a story that speaks in silence and through the mystery of earthly events.  It sings in art.  It whispers through music. 

And I long to find some clues to this somewhat unidentifiable, but a very complex universal mystery, that troubles all of us. 

We are on a very long journey, with very limited time.

So, I remind myself, as the people I love leave me, that I don’t have too much time.

So why do I sometimes get wrapped up in so many things that drive us from each other?  Why are you and I not conscious of the suffering humanity we find everywhere?  Why are we unhappy?  Fearful?  Anxious?  Cancerous?  Materialistic and fat?

Why do we shit on freedom, disrespect the value of suffering, and ignore human dignity? 

Why do we sometimes hate ourselves?  Why do we hate each other?

Why don’t we see the connections in all things?  The infinite possibilities in everything that we do.  And destroy or make fun of those who try.

Every decision we make.  Every breath we take.  Every struggle.  Every emotional discharge.  Indeed, every single movement and every little thought, leads all of us to a blessed moment of infinite possibilities.

A moment we get to frame.  A moment we get to embrace or abandon.

Please forgive my rambling thoughts about our temporal mortality, on this very temporal Friday morning.

Sometimes, they are all I have.  But in a matter of mere minutes, the sun will rise again.  The responsibilities of the day will burden me yet again with many new thoughts and challenges.

In the meantime, though.  I will sit here, alone, armed with a cup of coffee, thinking of all the wonderful people I have been blessed to know.  I will think of all the magnificent people I can reach out to at this very moment. 

I will end my morning imagining the person I am going to become.

 


the success muscle

 

Bodybuilding is a fascinating sport.

It is absolutely spellbinding, the way your body responds to sweaty physical training.  It is simply incredible the way your muscles absorb and handle hard work.  The way your body decides how and when to recover.

Truth be told, there is nothing new in bodybuilding and the principals building muscle are not complicated.  They are very simple. 

You pick up a heavy object.  You put it down. 

You pick it up.  You put it down. 

You hang on long enough to repeat that motion several times, until your muscles grow wobbly and tired. 

When you are finished, you need to feed your body good protein and fulfill all the other nutritional needs.  Give the muscle a lot of rest.  Wait and repeat the exercise twice a week.  With enough time, over a period of months and years, your muscles will grow. 

Your body will noticeably change.

Simple.  Yet, without one insight, it becomes complicated. 

Bodybuilding takes a lot of time and long term commitment.  A lot of it.  But even with a strong sense of will, tenacity, and pure determination, very little happens, unless you learn to push through the pain. 

Nothing ever happens until you learn to drive through the signals of pain, and overcome your inclination to quit.

Nothing short of everything will be enough.

You see, you are renting a very smart machine.  Your human body would rather not go through the experience of tearing itself down, so it has to build itself back up. 

Who does?

Which is why we search out comfort, stability, and are obedient to conform.

Weight training or happiness for that matter, takes a lot work.  They take some time.

Your brain will try to dissuade you and convince you to quit.  It shows you grand vision of immediate joy and rest if you do.  Why?  Because if things remain the same, if you don’t push boundaries, there is nothing to do.  Nothing to repair.  Nothing to build.

High fives all around.

We know without any doubt that our biceps or glutes grow when the individual muscle fibers in our muscles are torn, and they are tough.  They don’t tare easy. 

You need a whole lotta weight.  A whole lotta reps.  A whole lotta love, and then, in that very last movement, when you’ve fought through the pain and mental static to stop, you finally rip them, and you leave your body no other choice but to recreate itself.  To build something better.

A journalist once asked Muhammad Ali how many sit ups he did to stay in such great shape.  He replied that he didn’t know.  He doesn’t start counting, until it starts hurting.

So, learn your lesson and don’t start counting, until it starts hurting.

Our success, our happiness, our dreams, and our muscle work on the same principals.

Too many times, we quit too soon.  We quit too often. 

We stop several meters before we should.  We run a good race.  We work hard, but we never finish.  We take the wrong advice at the wrong moment from ourselves.  We must hold fast and remember to only start counting, when it starts hurting.

We must tear our success fibers.  We must tire out our dreams.

These little vignettes of thought that I write every morning, here at tenminas.ca are new to me.

I have no idea where this is going.  I have no idea what it all means.  I do trust somehow, that what I am trying to do here will last, that deep down, I am building something.  I have committed myself to the task of being a professional writer.  My job is to write.  I write every day, and hope that in time my mind will rebuild itself into something I cannot see.  Into something I could have never imagined.

So, get back to working hard.

Or, don’t ever stop, when you get tired.

Don’t tear yourself down.  Stop saying mean things about yourself.

Focus instead on your success muscle. 

Work it.  Grind it out. 

Keep digging.

Until you’ve arrived on the other side.

 


what can I do?

 

You have asked yourself what you can do many times.

Hundreds.  Thousands.  Millions of times.

And you’ve been quick to respond to what you can do?

You’re too old.  Unattractive.  Broken.  You have a large appetite and are genetically cursed with big bones.  You have made far too many unforgivable mistakes.  They will never forgive you.  They will never forget. 

This is too silly.  Too expensive.  Takes too long.  Too complicated.  Too Hard.  Too much.  Too late.  Not enough.

You have most certainly told yourself throughout your life where to go and what you can’t do.

What you can’t.

Can’t.

But what can you?

Nothing. 

I can’t.

Saying you can’t is only going to spread the dirt of dejection and misery .

There is a reason why you find yourself here and have asked yourself what you can do.  Something in your life has brought you to this moment.  You are either unhappy or unsatisfied.  You are definitely in the wrong place, or haven’t travelled through enough, to get to where you want to be.

But it doesn’t matter how you got here.  We all get here.  What matters is what you going to go next?

So let’s rephrase the question.

What can you do?

Can.

Meaning, what power do you have to act.  What tenacity will you employ to be and do.  The ability is right here, always here, waiting to be unharnessed and mastered.

You can do many things if genuinely care.

For starters, you can quit a lot of things that have you stuck, knee deep, in the mud.  Habits and people.  Routines and expectations, that lead you back to the same place, with the same existential frustrations.

You should definitely quit complaining, gossiping, making fun of yourself, not being able to handle a genuine compliment, and being overdramatic.  You should most certainly quit lying to yourself, that you are not good enough.  That the deck is stacked against you.

Because you can.

You can do lots of things.

You can take charge of your life and accept that everything you do has purpose.  No, you don’t control the universe.  You don’t control people or events, but you do control the way you frame your thoughts around everything.  You an undeniable freedom in the way you accept or reject the things you cannot change. 

When you contemplate your life, do you relive all you pain and suffering?  Do you get crippled by your many failures and wasted opportunities?  Or do you embrace the present moment, forgive yourself, and see the future possibilities?

It’s not what you have, but what you give, that matters.

It’s not what you’ve been through, but how you apply it.

Not what you’re born with, but who you gather by your side.

What can you do?

Everything.

Everything, provided you focus on the possibilities.

Believing you are ugly, unredeemable, unteachable, unlovable, and unimportant, is a seductive lie.  Stop digging yourself an early grave.  Accept that it’s not over.

Don’t look at where you are or where you have been, and gaze instead at what you can do.  No matter how small.  How insignificant.  No matter how improbable.

Do it.

And ask yourself one more question.

What can I do next?

 


fake news

 

I am absolutely in love with the very recently coined phrase ‘fake news’.

It’s just stunningly perfect and incomprehensibly, brings so much joy to my life.

If you ever mind yourself stuck in a conversation you can’t get out of, just take a deep dramatic pause and gently exclaim that in the final analysis, all of this is nothing more than fake news.

Fake.

News.

News is identified as information that is newly received or somehow noteworthy, especially if it concerns recent or important events. 

Fake simply means that the news is counterfeit.  It is not genuine.  It is false.

But if that is the case, what are we left with?

Aren’t all stories selected by a biased editor? 

Don’t we read some newspapers, precisely because they lean to the left, and some because they lean to the right?  Don’t we read them because we want to remain the same?

I don’t read newspapers or watch CNN anymore.  Not because I stopped caring for our planet, and my neighbour, but because it has made me feel like I am a child in an abusive relationship.  There is so much yelling from both sides, that it is too much for a sensitive child to handle.  Too much before they shut down, and tune out.

I have shut down.

I am still connected. 

I visit the odd newspaper occasionally, to follow up on an interest story here and there, but for the most part, I have grown up.  I have moved out of the house.  I am on my own, away from the chaos and the screaming.

It’s all bitching and complaining, on most occasions.

Sometimes it’s more than bitching and complaining, and it becomes bitching and complaining about bitching and complaining.  A seductive and infinite circle.

Where is the good in humanity to be found?  Where are the stories that inspire human kindness?  Where is the human dignity?  The human spirit?  Where is the essence that makes us love one another and embrace peace and prosperity?

Most importantly, why do we adopt fake news as the guiding principle in our own life?

We gather to gossip and shove rusty knives into each other’s backs.  We look down at our feet when we walk.  We waste time.  We groan and moan.  We make eye contact with one another on occasion, but with a suspicious mind.  We are polite to a fault, and corrupt to the core.

You have become exactly who you told yourself you would be.

You repeat over and over, the life imagined is good enough for you to live.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

If you see misery and pain, you’ll behold more of it.  If you embrace failure and disappointment, you will never let go.  You will live your life, experiencing more of the same.  Unless you change.

Why shouldn’t you?  If you don’t take stock of the good news stories of your life, how are you ever going to become them and live them out.

Being positive is important.  Not because the young lady at the drive through window would really appreciate an attitude adjustment as she serves you a coffee this morning, but because there is nothing worse than wasted talent. 

There is nothing sadder than living an unfulfilled and unhappy life.

So, ignore the fake news.  Ignore the real news too.

Ignore the terrible things people say about you.

Ignore the terrible things you say about yourself.

Stop gossiping about other people.

Look for the good.  Be kind.

Look for the appearance of the human spirit that connects all of us.  See it.  Hear it.  Point it out when you do, and celebrate it as often as you can. 

Try to look for human dignity in the forgotten ones, the abandoned, and the loathsome.

It’s not easy.

But bring people the news.

Bring them good news.

 


the C word

 

No. 

Not that one.

No.

Not that one either.

Compliment.

That’s the one.

But don’t worry.  I am a gutter dweller myself.  I would not have fared any better myself. but I do come to wonder why we treat compliments, like they are unwelcome curses.

Just try complimenting someone’s fashionably cut jacket.  Try complimenting them on how great they look.  Try telling them that they are funny, kind, thoughtful or loving, and you are sure to make them uncomfortable.

How come?

Why have we become so conditioned to reject anything nice, a stranger, or anyone close to us, might have to tell us?

Why do we run? 

Politely decline the compliment? 

Protest too much?

Not us. 

Not this old piece of stitched clothing.  That’s just good lighting.  Oh no.  There are far funnier people in the world.  I couldn’t.  Not me.  No way.  I’m not as kind as you think I am.  Oh, it was nothing.  Don’t mention it.

Please.

Don’t ever mention it.

Compliments scare us. 

We have someone become preconditioned and have accepted that it is normal to be yelled at.  We don’t like it, but we expect it.  We are not surprised when it happens.  We wait for it.  We anticipate it.  We try to avoid it. 

We expect negative feedback.  We always brace ourselves for all sorts of tragedies and misfortunes that circle around us like mosquitoes on a hot muggy evening.

Yet, we are never ready, nor are we willing, to embrace how magnificent we are.

We are a very special snowflake.

We have a deep and false sense of pride ingrained into our souls.

We mistake humility for shyness. 

We think we are being good, by continuously rejecting compliments.  The truths people see about ourselves.  Truths that become noticeable as you stand further and further away.

It’s not hard to do. 

Inside our minds, we constantly chide ourselves for our many mistakes and embarrassing failures.  We call ourselves terrible names.  Ugly names. 

We wouldn’t accept it from a friend, yet, we have become accustomed to throwing heaps of garbage on ourselves.

It seems we have always done it.  It just feels right.  It doesn’t feel strange.  It feels like home.

Home.

Compliments shake us from our ignorance.

They dare us to be and become who we fear.

As much as we would like to be beautiful. sexy, intelligent, handsome, wealthy, wise, we are reluctant to embrace change.

It is easier to reject the compliments than to become someone we dream of being.

Change is hard.  It requires persistent daily digging.  It is never done.  It is forever uncertain.

It is the only thing that matters.

The key to a happy life is to accept both the complaints and the compliments.  They must be vetted, of course.  Lots of people say lots of things, and for very different reasons.

But if the compliments are genuine.  If the complaints are real.  Why shouldn’t we learn, grown, cherish and embrace them?

Look in the mirror and start complementing yourself.

If you dare, you might discover how far you are from yourself.

Embrace the C word.

Pay it forward.

Encircle it. 

Stay calm.

And don’t tremble when it makes an appearance.

 


rediscover your short cut

 

We are always looking for a better way to get where we want to go.

When things get difficult and our days become particularly burdensome, we begin to grow tired and look for short cuts.  We look for a quick way out.

We look for a path that will get us where we want to go faster.  We want to be right there, right now.  We second guess ourselves, and begin to imagine that we how overlooked or missed something.  We grow ever so tired of waiting, of digging, of planning, of collaborating, of making mistakes, making grave mistakes, of connecting, of changing, of doing things over  and over again.

The good news is, that there is short cut.

There is a fast way of getting there.  But it is not faster and shorter because there of some hidden widget or insight, but simply because starting over, or not continuing with what you are doing, will take you far longer to get you there. 

There is simply no substitute for the great work you are already doing. There is no easier way to dig your ditches.

Occasionally, you need to adjust your plan.  You need to improve your technique and skill set.  But you need to come to terms with living with that uncomfortable feeling of rolling with inevitable change and struggle. 

You need to keep a positive attitude.  You must hold on to your faith and embrace hope.  You need tenacity, fortitude, and patience.  You need all of it if you are to become who you dream of.  If you are to become the person the world has never known before.

The shortest way out is always through.

You may, on occasion, be distracted by a new report of a person who has experience a sudden rise to fame.  Has discovered an amazing invention.  Has recorded a revolutionary new track that suddenly skyrockets up the charts, and steals countless awards.  A new book, a new medicine, or a new way of doing the same thing, upside down.

You are in real danger of getting distracted by the success of your peers, who seem to have discovered something you are missing.  Something that you long for, and are unable to find on your own.  They are lucky somehow.  They seem to have learnt something.  Something that has made their life a little fuller, and their business richer.

When you begin to look for the quick way out, remember that the road you’re on, leads to great things.  It is a meaningful and noble road.  It is a road you chose for a reason.

To leave it now, would only mean more time, and an even longer journey.

It is definitely not a short cut.

Short cuts always end unexpectedly and quickly.  They may not be dead ends, but they don’t provide any sustainable framework for what to do next.  They only help you become famous.  Rich.  Short cuts may garner you, millions and millions of followers.  But now what?

Do you have a plan for your new-found fame?  Do you have a meaningful plan for your new false friends and your money?  Do you have what it takes to actually feed the millions of followers you decided to invite over for dinner?

Take a deep breath and take the shortcut you’re on.

Brace your back, wipe your brow, and keep digging.

The shortest way out is through.

The shortcut you seek, is the long walk you’ve already begun months, if not year ago.

Good things are coming. 

Dreams do come true.

Just put one foot, in front of the other.

 


cursing the deaf

 

I picked up the phone late one evening, and the voice on the other end was that of a colleague of mine.  We had never spoken like this before, and I had no idea that he even had my number.  We worked together for years, but I really didn’t know him that well.  We would speak on occasion, but always casually, and most often, only in passing.

I heard from him the evening, after I attended a work Christmas party.  A festivity where inevitably, as some point, as the night gets rolling, people begin to unload their stories of human woe and misery.

I don’t need to tell you the kind of stories that are told.  You have heard them, and have probably helped to cultivate some of your own.  Stories of half-truths and quarter-half innuendos.  Stories that harness laughter from someone else’s misfortune.  Tales that fill in unknown details with certain and false dramatic license.  Stories of gossip.  Ugly gossip, that rips people to the core.

Sadly, and unequivocally, I was one of the better story tellers that evening.

I enjoyed my role, as the poisonous jester.  I made people laugh, but I made the mistake that everyone else was laughing along with me.

Until I received the phone call.

I made some ugly, unfounded claims about this young man.  Claims that I had no business making.  Claims which I didn’t know were true or not, but somehow felt empowering to let loose on a drunken crowd, in an effort to somehow feel important.

He was not at the party, but the young woman he was interested in dating was. 

She wasn’t a particularly close friend of mine either, but I knew her better and greatly respected her.  Or so I told myself.

I thought I was being funny. 

I wasn’t.

His name came up, and I searched my brain for some gossip to tell.  I assumed incorrectly that she was not interested in him, but she was.  She was falling in love with him, and I can only imagine how my words weighed on her heart.  I can only imagine what was going through her mind, as she was pretending to laugh.  I have often imagines what it felt, deep inside, to have to smile, but be terribly disturbed on the inside.

The young man who called me on the phone was very polite and calm.  He just wanted to know why I said the things I did.  He wanted to know what I had to say for myself.

I was numb and speechless.

I kept blubbering on how sorry I was.  I kept apologizing.  Spinning my wheels and to this day, the same feelings of anxiousness and painful regret have once again bubbled to the surface.

He had mercy on me. 

He didn’t yell.  He didn’t tell me where to go.  What unnatural acts I could do with myself.  He just called me as a curtesy and a warning.

He gave me a greatest gift that night.

In a sense, he saved me from myself.

The scar of that evening has never fully healed.  I still fall prey to gossip on occasion.  I sometimes engage in hateful musings and dreadful innuendoes, but I am much better at catching myself and ending it as soon as I can.

I also stay away from people who gossip.  This leaves my calendar quite open and fills my nights with social loneliness, but I prefer that, to the alternative.

His words continue to haunt me even today. 

They haunt me a lot, and I am a better man for it.  A much better man, because of his honesty and courage to call me out.

He inflicted a wound on my consciousness that never heals.  A wound that offers me a chance to lead the life I dream for myself.  A life without hatred, bitterness, and gossip.  A life desiring love, hopefulness, and encouragement.

I heard a wise verse this morning.

 

“Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind.”

(Leviticus 19:14)

 

Piercing words. 

Wise words.

You see when we gossip, we don’t really harm the person who can’t hear us. 

All we end up doing, is drinking the poison ourselves. 

When we lay stumbling blocks for the blind. 

All we do is end up tripping over ourselves.

There is no need for any of this.

There is no room for gossip.

Life is full of glorious possibilities, if we would just connect and listen to the better angels of our human nature.