(Excerpt taken from my book – The Age of Wonderful Nonsense)
“I stumbled through the entryway of my San Diego condo at O’ Dark Thirty on a Sunday. As my footsteps echoed through the vaulted ceilings, I prayed my new roommate didn’t wake and see me just getting home from the night before.
I’m not sure who I was praying to – Not even God himself could have helped me in that current state. And why the hell would he? I was clearly no saint.
I opened the door of my room, quietly, and immediately bolted it behind me. I looked around my empty, lifeless room and began to get the shakes. Sunlight was beaming through the window in the far corner of the room which made me feel more uneasy.
I ran over to the window and closed the shades, hoping to block the light and calm the shaking. That didn’t work. I turned around to reexamine my room. The only thing resembling any sort of life was a full-size bed my cousin had given me because I was too broke to buy my own (thanks, Allan). It was pushed all the way to the opposite corner of the room sad, and deserted, in its own miserable way.
Laying on the floor next to the bed was a half-empty bottle of Jack resting on a Journal my sister had given me for my 26th birthday just a few weeks before. The overwhelming sadness I felt in that moment is something I will never forget. I laid in the corner of my dark room, drowning in my sorrows and cried. It was the first time in my life suicide became an option.”
Then, the miracle came.
I opened the journal and found a letter my sister had written me without having a clue in the world that I was lost in the darkest place I had ever been. She was only seventeen at the time and little did she know, she would be my inspiration for changing my path and rededicating my life to Christ.
She prayed every day for 8 years that I would find peace and happiness again. She is remarkable, in every way a person can be, and she saved me from the lowest point I have ever been.
That was two years ago and on that day I began my P.E.A.C.E. Quest.
You don’t fully understand what rock bottom is until you’re sitting on the floor of your empty, lifeless room, deciding if it’s worth it to even be alive anymore. There’s a certain emptiness we all must feel in which inspires us to do better in this world. I’m sad to say I found that emptiness… but am lucky enough now to understand that I’m better than that depressed, lost version of myself.
I believe we do not fully understand who we are until we become someone we are not. I had become the person who I never wanted to be, but, on that day, decided it was time to become the person I was born to be.”
So, what did the fish say when he ran into a wall?
“Dam.” And Damn is right…I ran straight into that wall (sorry, couldn’t do a post without a Dad joke).
If you’re here reading this, however, I have some good news for you… I climbed over that ‘damn’ metaphorical wall and peace was waiting on the other side. Though I do not wish it upon anyone, we all must feel some sort of pain in our lives before we experience a breakthrough into finding peace and purpose for being here.
I’ll never forget that day when my rock bottom came. It was on that day when I had nothing in my life to hope for and only myself to blame for it. But, on that day, ‘rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.’
I write to you today, humbled and joyful that God found a way to restore my pain and transform it into something truly special. I have been saved by grace and God showed me that ‘he is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.’
Alright Guy, What If I Don’t Believe In This Whole God Thing?
Let me begin by saying you can believe whatever you want to believe and still find your peace in this life. Though Mr. Big Chief upstairs helped me, there are countless other ways of finding your inner self – And I’m certainly not going to sit here and tell you my way is the only way.
I think we all need to believe there is something out there bigger than ourselves that drives us to become the person we always wanted to be. It’s a certain kind of hope that forces us to do better.
Some people find their hope in religion – others in meditation, yoga, underwater basket weaving, fishing, badminton, success – you name it. Still, others believe there is no higher being and are perfectly able to build their own moral code to live by.
I don’t disagree or have an opinion as to where people should find their hope or what they should believe because that isn’t for me to decide. We’re all walking our own path and should believe whatever we need to in which inspires us to be hopeful for a better tomorrow.
As my buddy, Rick Warren, put it, “We all need hope to cope…” For me, I found my hope in God. It was that hope that would guide me along through the process of finding myself – and I needed to understand that it all started with the big chief upstairs.
We can’t shun people for turning to religion in times when all else has failed. In any walk you’re on, we all need something to strive for that’s bigger than ourselves. For some people, that something is believing in a certain God to get them through. It forces us to be better people, giving us something to hope for. This provides us with a sense of purpose and reason to keep on living. And that’s a beautiful thing.
If I woke up every morning and didn’t have to make my bed, go to work, or live my life, what would I do? What would my purpose be? What defines woke up and live my life? It’s defined by what my culture has taught me. What we understand and ‘know to be true’ is based entirely on what we’ve been taught and heard from other people.
We need to make our own decisions. We need to rely on our own outlook and understanding of the way the world works. We need to gain our own perspective, draw our own conclusions, and then give back what we’ve learned in a peaceful way.
I think we all take in the same information and feel a different way about it. What we need to learn to do is take in that information and express it in a way that isn’t forcing our opinion onto others.
I believe what I believe because it gave me hope when I had nothing left to hope for. That doesn’t mean I now feel the urge to force my opinion on others. I think people should believe in whatever they need to help get them through the daily struggles of life. If that means believing in a certain religion, or God, then who am I to tell them they’re wrong for doing so?
I was lost for a long time and spent years doing a lot of terrible things. The truth is, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today unless I went through everything that I did. I think if I didn’t experience all the pain I did along the way, I wouldn’t have the unique understanding and perspective I do now. I lived to talk about those problems, so that’s a miracle all in itself. I cannot hide from my past, the only thing I can do is learn to use it for good.
So, if you’ve recently found yourself lost and sleeping on a full-sized bed cuddling a giant bottle of Jack (or something along those lines), then I may know a guy who can help you.
That’s all I got for now – stay tuned, friends