I feel like sharing this. Maybe it will help someone struggling. Maybe it won’t. I just feel the need, and I listen.
Finally, I’m listening. I’ve written this many, many times before, but could never seem to hit the “submit” button. An odd thing, that button. Submission has never been my strong suit.
Yet, there is a story I want to share, a tale that goes beyond anything else I have ever experienced. And it’s time. Finally.
There was a time, in the not-so-distant past, when I wanted to end it all. I wanted this life to be over.
I had grown so numb and felt so powerless that living didn’t seem to matter. I felt no fear, and I felt no remorse as I made my plans. I felt nothing as I kissed my little ones goodbye and went for a walk, certain that I was not going to return.
But somewhere in that cold winter’s night something happened. I’m not really sure I know what it was, but it changed me forever.
There I was, sitting in the men’s room at a park near my home, tying the knot to the rope that would end everything. I made sure there was no way the knot could come loose, using my rope rescue training to tie a rather effective instrument of my own demise. I found a spot in the dark night, threw the rope over a railing, and prepared to simply sit until the darkness took over.
I felt a finality. I felt a peace, and I felt a calm.
I looked around at the park where I had taken my kids to play many times before. I remembered their little selves climbing the wrong way up the slide next to me. I saw them laughing on the bridge where I now had strung my rope. I could hear them calling out to me from the darkness, a light suddenly appearing where they were standing…
And I did. And suddenly I felt again.
And I was pissed. I started cursing at nothing and everything at the same time. I kicked the little brown shavings at my feet, screaming at heaven and hell for all I was worth. I couldn’t do it there. My kids’ would never be able to play there again, and they’d always think of parks in the most horrible way possible.
“Fuck this shit,” I screamed. “Fuck you God, fuck you Satan, fuck you park, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.”
I threw a punch at nowhere in particular, and grabbed my rope, determined to find another spot where my kids would not see me. Or remember me. For some reason I believed that I could keep this pebble from creating any ripples.
As I walked aimlessly around, looking for that slice of hell I could call home, I was shouting. Anyone who would have seen me would have called the police for sure. I must have looked like the stark raving lunatic I was. I was “motherfucking” every tree that didn’t fit my needs. They were too small, or too big, or there weren’t branches where there needed to be branches. I cursed every tree I came across that night, and I cursed the ground, the sky, the air, the darkness, the light…I cursed it all.
And I kept hearing, “Daddy, watch me!” They were everywhere, those little bundles of light. I kept walking, searching, cursing, trying to escape the voices. I had no idea where I was. I was lost, running from something I couldn’t see, running to a darkness that just couldn’t exist because of those little, precious, loving little bundles of light.
Then, suddenly, I was home again. I looked through the window and saw my soon-to-be ex folding clothes in my kids’ room. I heard them playing with each other, and I swear I heard another, “Daddy, watch me!”
“I will, baby,” I responded. “I won’t leave you.”
I fell to my knees and sobbed uncontrollably, the pressure of the preceding months pouring out of me like a flood. I let go of the rope, and simply looked through that window. I had to let go of the woman, she needed to be free. I needed to focus on those precious little ones. I needed to be their Dad, and they needed to be my children. Even though my life had been one of constant transformation, this moment changed everything. Completely.
I began to see everything differently, and I began to feel something I had never felt in a long, long time.
Evolution isn’t an instant thing. It takes time. It happens in those little, almost imperceptible moments of awareness. Yet, sometimes it happens in massive explosions, eruptions of hot, destructive springs that pave ways for beautiful gardens. Destruction is not the end of creation, it is just another part of the circle. Let it flow, and then see what comes. You’ll smile in joy.
I walked a circle that night. I began in numb despair, journeyed trough the cycle of grief, found hope through the fog, and then found salvation. I had died and was born again, and the million or so other cliches I can use to describe that indescribable night.
From that moment on, I began to go back to my roots, to be healed, and to love myself again. I began to forgive everything. What a gift that moment was, and I cherish it.
One thing is for certain, when one of my little ones shouts, “Daddy, watch me!” I watch. Intensely. In the moment. With love. Completely present. Sometimes I’ll even laugh, but I always smile, remembering a cold winter’s night when a strong man was on his knees remembering who he was, when these little bundles of light picked him up, dusted him off, and sent him to sail once again.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Wiki Commons