It's late. It's hot. Clouds came and went and dribbled little rain. Here I sit and write. I contemplate the truth I have found in pain.
And ... I came out with more and more hope for the human condition.
How many of us turn our pain to anger and our anger to hate! I have suffered, and people have acted deviously against me. And for some time, I began to feed into this same pattern. I began to only want to get out of the poverty, say that maybe humanity was doomed, and wonder ... oh how I did wonder ... if I should ever feel such hope again! And how weak I felt! And how I shuddered at the thought of what the world might bestow. I felt the ravages of the recession come in. I watched as some friends took whatever job they could get, and watch their dreams pass them by while others - criticized as lazy or reckless - held out. I held out and slipped into poverty, watched as things came and went. I tried to help as people died caught up in bad systems as some bureaucrats malingered. I watched and lost faith in my actions. I felt lost.
My days here are not glorious in most regards. I sit wearing my ranger's hat. I collect money and welcome people into the park. I guide over-sized traffic through a narrow tunnel. I deal with people who make poor choices, get angry for poor reasons, drive into oncoming traffic, ask questions that make me question whether they will make it out of the park alive. The heat soars into the 100's. I have trouble finding the ambition to climb. And yet this is the moment of truth.
Will I be able to see the beauty of the moment when all does not seem to be splendid?
YES! I will catch the clouds outline against the crimson rocks. I will watch the California Condors spread their wings out, their fingered feathers creating a masterful pattern against the blue and gray sky. I will remember what this day is worth. For these creatures were nearly gone, and they are back. It is a story of hope. And when I wake up tomorrow, preparing for the next work day, I will take a deep breath and come to the conclusion that it is a miracle that I have been given another day.
A night ago, I held my hand out to another. I asked her if she would come with me and know the world for what it could be, bear the pain, let it take hold and cleanse our souls letting us feel the empathy while still believing that all could be good and right in the world. And I asked her knowing all may not last. I know enough of the world so far that sometimes patterns do not last. Yet I cannot help letting myself get lost in this love. I told myself a long time ago to hold everyone back at a distance, creating a void in my heart none could cross. No matter how much of myself I would give, I'd carry a reserve. Until now, I could not find the courage to tap into this reserve. But I have come to think differently since this journey out West.
It is this reserve that keeps us different. It separates those with courage and those without. I give myself to the world, to this person, unrelenting and knowing very well it could destroy me. This is the courage of being a man. Letting things flow and take course. Letting the fear go and allowing the fall to take place. I have forgiven myself for so much. And in doing this, I have allowed myself to truly love. This post tells all of this! I pour out my heart as if there are no bounds.
I have weeks left here. Then I am off to pursue a graduate degree in water resources. I have been given a chance to be my same hopeful self of the past. I have allowed myself to be more and more at peace. Let this world do its worst! Let the ravages come, and I will find those little things to love. And I will continue to help people! I will not get selfish with time! I will stand up for the good fight. I will continue to discover this world to the very last. And if my last does not come tonight or tomorrow or the next day, I shall treat those days as miracles. I only ask for the strength to pursue life as it should be pursued.
Faithfully. Hopefully. Treading out onto dangerous waters to know the glory that comes from looking for the best. Jumping off the cliff to know the joy of letting go. Loving without regard for safety. And diving into the muck to save those who have fallen too far to come out.
Let life come. I will not allow myself to back down this time.