September 17, 2014

“Quitters never win.  Winners never quit.  Quitters never win.  Winners never quit.  Winners never quit.  Winners never quit.  Winners never quit…”

Never?  Winners never quit?  Bullshit!  We quit all the time.  Because some days the unknown future is just too scary and the present is just too pain-filled with loss and disappointment and I have no desire to smile at the world.  I’m too angry to be soft and gentle and kind. Some days I’m just too tired to keep hoping for the change I want so desperately to see.  It’s a pitch black day of storms and I’m fresh out of faith.

I am told not to despair, not to give up hope.  Everything always works out, he says.  I am told to smile and be happy, to not allow my joy to evaporate (it leaves a salty stain), because life is good, and getting better, he says.  When I can’t write I am told to keep writing because it is a sacred trust.  I am told if I must rage to turn it on the Fear that is hell-bent to destroy every hint of hope and happiness.    But I feel despair in spades.  I could use those spades to dig my grave.

I sit to write and haven’t a clue what to write and nothing comes that isn’t saturated with self pity.  There is no laughter in me–only tears that leave those salty stains; I have tankers full of tears.  My feet are leaden, my heart is stone.  Rage is eating me from the inside out.  I ask for bread and I get a lesson in gratitude.  Not gratitude for the bread because the bread isn’t here yet.  No, a lesson in being grateful for all the things I DO have.  I ask for a fish.  I get more lessons that look suspiciously like stones and snakes.  I am sick to death of lessons.

Losing hope that my dreams will ever be anything more than fantasies, I feel them withering slowly, one by one.  The landscape of my heart is piled with empty husks in which my dreams once were ripening to harvest.  I have instead an abundant crop of lessons; lessons in gratitude,  lessons in being happy with ‘what is’.  One problem; ‘what is’ isn’t at all what I want and never will be.  I try, but I fail to ground myself with gratitude.  Tethered to the dead dreams, something inside of me is dying with them.  Weeping endures for a night, and a day, and another night and another…joy comes sometimes in the morning but leaves by noon.

I can’t help but wonder what the next lesson will be if I don’t get my shit together pretty soon.  Yoda said, “There is no try.  Only do.” The disillusioned, angry Tiger inside me snarls and I retreat with a book.  A really good book; it has 3 sequels.

After days, weeks, months, there comes an hour in the deep darkness as I wait for the f-ing rose colored dawn to paint the f-ing sky (I’ve been awake since 3 a.m.) when for no particular reason I find a few scraps of courage and timidly stretch out my hand and whisper, “Help. Please help.”

And help comes.

But it brings nothing new or astounding.  There are no miracles or flashing lights or angelic beings or even waves of energy or blankets of warm and fuzzy Love.  Simply reminders of the truths I already carry within me.

… Winners never quit.  I am loved.  I am blessed.  Joy is in me, all around me.  Let it flow.  Life is abundant and thriving.  Let it flow.  Love is in my every breath.  Let it flow.  Hold on…this will pass….

I know that there will be no new answers.  No new magic.  No way to dodge these lessons.  It is as though I am birthing a child.  Within me is the promise of life, of great joy, of great love; but first comes the hard and difficult work to bring this child into the light of day.  There is great pain in separating this child from my mother-body.  But if I am ever going to see the change I desire in myself and in the circumstances of my life, this labor must be embraced. The darkness must be lived through before the light can come.  The more I resist this work of birthing, the greater the pain and the longer it takes.

I weep, hoping somehow to dissolve the disappointments and the discouragement.  I run out of tears but the ugly knot is just as hard and I am still tangled up inside.

Quitters never win.  Winners never quit.

I rise.  I rise because winners…never…quit.  I gently kiss my unborn dreams and release them back to God.  Maybe the lessons for me are not so much about gratitude or embracing happiness no matter what is happening (or not happening) in my life.  Maybe the lesson isn’t even so much about choosing to love when I want to rage.  Maybe it is first and mostly about release.  Releasing.  Allowing.  Flowing.  Those are all action words.  No try, do.  To “try” conjures up an image of holding one’s breath while fearfully, timidly, attempting something.  To “do” speaks of strength and energy and movement and sweat.

For a few minutes in the glow of early morning I can see that this experience is part of my Journey, a loop, a detour I didn’t plan or understand was coming.  All my careful planning and visioning doesn’t seem to make any difference–this Journey takes me where it wants whether I will or won’t.

Quitters never win.  Winners never quit.

The light breaks up the darkness.  Maybe for an hour.  Maybe for a day.  But in this moment I have some bad news for the monsters.

I may have sat out a few rounds…but the game’s not over yet because I am not a Quitter.

Which only leaves one other possibility.

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