I’m fascinated by the Universe. It boggles the mind in challenging our ability to comprehend things like size and speed.
The sun makes up 99% of the mass of the entire solar system. 99! It weighs two billion billion billion tons. Don’t ask me how they figured that one out. The diameter, not circumference, is eight million, six hundred and forty nine thousand, nine hundred and thirty eight miles, plus or minus a couple of inches.
If the sun were hollow it could hold one million, three hundred thousand Earths.
Now in comparison a typical cloud averages about one and a half miles in size yet it can entirely blot out the sun turning a warm sunny day into something drab and dreary. And that, boys and girls, is a perfect analogy of my life these days.
From day one of this year I have been stuck under a cloud and can not get away from it. I know there are good things in my life. There are wonderful, happy, amazing things, but try as I might to focus on them this burden hangs over me, and like a Dementor, it sucks the joy out of everything making all the good things in my life look like the washed out monochromatic grays of a Tim Burton movie.
I’ve been through some tough times in my life. Haven’t we all? But, never have I had to endure for so long, been so stressed, and felt so defeated.
I feel like I’m in a hole so deep I can’t even see the light at the top.
It would be easy to say this just happened to me while I was minding my own business, but it didn’t. It happened to me because I’m reaching for something more in life. I’m not content to live vicariously through my past achievements like so many trophies gathering dust on a shelf.
A hundred years ago Theodore Roosevelt gave a lengthy but powerful speech. In it were these words which have influenced my life for years.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”When I read his words I was deeply moved. I felt like that man in the arena. Time and again I’ve reached outside the safety of my comfort zone and more times than not I’ve fallen flat on my face, but I didn’t do it because I felt I was strong enough, or noble, or anything so grand.
It was because I couldn’t stand the idea of being like those Roosevelt describes in the last words of his speech. “…so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I wear the scars of past defeats without pride. I’m earning this new scar and it comes from more unhappiness, stress, and worry than I’ve known in years. It feels like it’s going to destroy me, but what’s left of my hope, that small ragged tatter, tells me I’ll survive. This will pass and I’ll come out of it alive.
If it sounds like Hell, you’re right. And you’d think I would have learned my lesson and live my life well within the safety of my comfort zone, but I can’t. I may take a nice vacation there, though.
Sooner or later I’ll get back up and venture outside of it’s boundaries into the place on the map that’s labeled, ‘Thar be monsters’.
But I can’t live my life in a comfort zone. I can’t sit by just waiting for life to throw me a crumb. Wanting good things to come to me, but never knowing.
I liked how it was said in Dances With Wolves; ”
I realize now that I have been wrong.
All this time, I’ve been waiting.
Waiting for what? For someone to find me? For Indians to take my horse? To see a buffalo?
Since I have arrived at this post, I have been walking on eggs. I am sick of it.
Tomorrow, I will ride out to the Indians.
I do not know the wisdom of this thinking, but I’ve become a target, and a target makes a poor impression.
I am through waiting.”
There is a price to pay sticking my neck out and striving for something more in my life, but I can honestly say that I’m living this life, yet I’m taking a beating in the process. But it’s got to be better than giving up. It’s not pride, but satisfaction, I feel when I know I’ll never be one of those cold and timid souls.