The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed. ~ Eminem
Life is like standing in the surf. One minute your there, your feet solidly on the ground, the next thing you know, you’re sky high and floating, a minute later you can be tumbling out of control about to drown. It’s a roller coaster ride, you’re up, you’re down and rarely, at least in my experience, to consistent periods of calm last. Mark Knopfler probably said it most poetically, “some times you’re the windshield, some time you’re the bug.” Within the last week I went from cruising along in my job, to being prepared to quit and go hike the Appalachian Trail, to back to cruising along.
Sometimes the hills and valleys of life cycle over a week, a month or longer, sometimes it swings between the two in a single day. Today was one such day and in fact the swings came fast and furious all day. But I want to talk about a specific swing.
I have worked the last couple of years with a really great young man. He’s dedicated, hard working, responsible and all around just a really solid human being. He’s the kind of person who does what he says, stays out of the workplace gossip and works hard on behalf of our students. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He popped over to my office today to ask if I had a few minutes to talk and of course I did. He seemed a little distressed and we talked about a small issue we had been working on and then he paused.
He first off gave me a very nice compliment, he said that he felt we’d always connected on deeper than a colleague level and I agreed. He referenced that we both share complicated realities in the way we grew up. He then said, “life is lonely for men like us.” This young man it turns out is struggling and his struggle is one I understand. He’s always been a responsible man, he grew up early in life because he had to, he’s the person who people turn to when they need advice or help, he’s the person who’s responsible for taking care of everyone else. The fact is, he’s just tired of being where the buck stops, and of not having anyone to go to and that’s why he’s so lonely.
I understand this position very much, it’s exactly the position I’m in, that I’ve been in most of my life. In that position you’re not allowed to be weak, you’re not allowed to be down, there isn’t anyone to turn to when you don’t have an answer, so you always carry all of the weight of everything and it’s exhausting. At this point in my life, I’ve learned to cope with this weight, it doesn’t mean it’s easy or comfortable or that it isn’t incredibly lonely at times. So I understood what he was saying and I did my best to comfort him, to let him know I understand and that I in fact am there for him. My most sincere hope is that I can at least in some way take some of the pressure off of his shoulders, erase some of the feelings of loneliness. I remember being his age, I remember how unrelenting and massive that pressure can feel.
These types of moments are when I’m truly in my role as a minister. I don’t have a physical church, I don’t preach a gospel but I take the mission of the Ministry of Happiness and the Church of Abnormal Acceptance seriously. I’ve had a couple of people in my life who have been there for me when I needed it and this is my way to pay it forward and it makes me happy to do so. But that first statement he made about the world being lonely for men like us, also hit really close to home. And while I was happy to help him out today, it was that moment where you go from floating high to tumbling around in the surf feeling like you’re drowning. But I’ve regained vertical status, my head is back above water, the mechanisms I’ve developed to right myself are getting me through tonight. Hell, I even resisted, pounding a huge plate full of carbs and a drinking a lot of Coke tonight.
So why am I telling you this tonight? I’m hoping that you’ll do the same thing I’m trying to do and pay it forward. There was a time when the world went south on you, when you need an anchor, a helping hand. And I know you’re busy and your life is hard too, but if you see someone struggling, reach out, lend a hand if you can, it will make you feel better and might really be something significant for them.
Have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane
Beautifully written, and appreciated. Hopefully I can be there when I’m needed.
Thank you Gloria, I’m sure you will be.