I let my posts slip away for a week. An intense week. July fourth was awesome in so many ways. I had the first, literally the first experience where I went to a party at someone's home and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I don't want to offend anyone who might read this and who might have had me over..what I mean by this is...it was the first time in years I was truly comfortable in my own skin....It was an indoor outdoor party...there was food by middle of the island catering (good old fashioned country food), a mixture of people, a steel drum band..and just people I love. But unlike other events where I worried that my clothe did not fit right, or i did not look good sitting down, or I was so conscious of my weight...I literally sat in this party and just enjoyed everyone's company...never got over heated..ate just a little, but enough to be satisfied, and just enjoyed the evening. No one would suspect, I would imagine, that I was that uncomfortable in social scenes for so long. I am always, or at least I told, seen as the someone who is so "out there" and social. But I spent years loathing going places..because I was so self conscious. Don't get me wrong, I ain't over all that! LOL! but, sitting in Livian's, it was just nice...and that was...a relief..I could breathe..enjoy..not feel so pressured..and really enjoy connecting and being with people. What a pleasure.
But after that evening, I am afraid there were some things that happened that made for some intense time. No need to detail it as it was more involved in those I care about than anyting to do with me....but what is so important for me, what is so amazing and so needed for me to write about is how, when I reach out in what appears to be the darkest moments, when what appears to be the worst of circumstances, someone, something is always there. It may not be in the form or in the way I want it. It may not come in the desired manner in which I prefer, but I am reminded in every episode of concern and need in my life, that no matter what, no matter the dire feel of a moment, I am not alone, we are not alone, if we allow that love, support and help to come in through and from others... I have said to a couple of people this week how much they mean to me. How much having people I can trust and how much their love means. It is more precious than anything else in this world and I NEVER take it for granted.
If nothing else, it goes back to the name that donnie gave this who journey "greater through love and support". By connecting with and to one another, we can and do overcome and get through anything and everything...and this week, it felt like, it was going to be a non-stop need. We sometimes have to watch as others feel pain, and the most courageous and helpful thing we can do is just be there for there...because I cannot fix it. At work two people I love dearly lost their positions after literally serving the university for decades..another 147 positions were cut. It was hard, harder than I can remember to say "but for the grace of God..". A dear friend's son was hit on his bicycle and sustained spinal injuries and just today, I learned that a woman I love dearly, who is the sister of two of my dearest friends has stage four, colon, lung, and kidney cancer. If she is 50, I would be surprised.
My friend Nick walked up to me and said "but tell me something good. I need to hear somehing good today." I love Nick for that. I turned to him and I was able to tell him what I heard from Tracey wilkes about a student that she had in Dreams who was able to attend a modern dance workshop because community donors saw the value in making that happen for this 13 year old to seek out and fulfill his talents, She talked about how 100% of the students in her program, 90% of whom are on free lunch (thus below poverty line) have graduated high school when 56% of those below the poverty line drop out. I told Nick about how a recent graduate of the Youthbuild program got a job with Kids Making it full time and two of them are in college and we have another YouthBuild grant. I told him about meeting with Bob Calboun from Cape Fear Habitat and Jim Morgan from his board and connecting up on a new initiative they are coming out with for revitalization, and how the chamber was so involved in helping with the Youth Enrichment ZOne for at risk youth and they wanted to recruit volunteers...and how I had vacation..and how we were having time...and by the end of all that...all the things that have been happening and had happened...well, they did not go away...they are still there...but somehow..there was a balance...somehow that sucking noise of negativity that came at me last week...that emotional intensity...well, like I said, it did not go away..but I was filling up with the good...Nick reminded me to "tell something good".
Ironically, or by no coincidence, I was asked to follow up behind Adam, who was speaking and INSPIRING at the downtown rotary...and by doing this, before we got up there, I was filled with "the good news". I have no idea what I said when I got up there...but I know that what I shared followed being grateful. I needed to do that. I needed to extend the life I have been given. I am glad that was the bargain that we struck..and that is what I am asked to do.
I went for a run when I got home and the heat was intense, but not to bad. I am at such peace this afternoon. I know that part of taking care of me..as I talk about the "physical, spiritual, and mental" self is to "fill me" spiritually so that when I experience a friend in a dark place, or I am around suffering, or something "surprising" happens, I am able to deal with it. We used to call it the "spritual bank account". Part of this week is to relax..do things that add to that account...give myself a break and be about the business of healing in some ways. I am a fortunate and blessed man to have that opporunity!