“To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two is think -- spend some time time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think and cry, that's a heck of a day.”
I thought about those words today. So there is one, I sat and thought. I sat and thought because I had many emotions running through me. My problems however pale in comparison to many of you out there and I do not have nothing to complain about. However, if you are someone that knows me, I mean really knows me and not just my silly posts on the web and Facebook know that 2014 has been a year of hard lessons. Many lessons.
Some good, like getting to know some people that I really never knew before. I mean really getting to know them and placing myself in their shoes before making snap decisions about their character or judging them based on their flaws. Instead getting to a point where I feel comfortable walking a mile in their shoes. Where in the past I may try to keep them and others at arms length I have learned that it is important to let in those that care. And in return give back to them. Some bad like when you let a relationship slip through your fingers without being able to give it your all for many reasons but the worst being that you just weren't ready at the time. Also realizing that those opportunities may never return is quite sobering as well knowing that I hurt someone not out of malice but out of not quite understanding my own feelings. Then some very ugly lessons like no good deed goes unpunished. Allowing some people into your inner circle just to figure out their intentions while yours selfless theirs being quite the opposite. Most important when thinking about these lessons is to own them. They are now part of you and after ownership comes understanding, again through thought.
I also think if you know me or even if you know me a little bit you know that laughter comes easily to me. Sometimes just like my Grandmother use to laugh in place of crying. She could be scared out of her mind and she would just giggle. She taught me to never loose my sense of humor and this at times I am sure has been my downfall however many times also my saving grace. I tend to laugh at myself more than anyone and will continue to keep my sense of humor. Although sometimes twisted and dark. Laughter has always been some of my best medicine. This morning I had a good laugh with all my kids as we drove into school this morning. So I laughed today.
Then today I cried. I realize that I tend to have a cavalier "man-up" sort of attitude especially when it comes to this blog. So this next paragraph may seem a bit off center coming from me. However today I cried. I took a few moments to get in-touch with some of those thoughts and I just needed to cry. Even better is that I didn't have to do it alone. There are people in my life that allow me to use their ear and just listen. I want to be clear here. It's OK to cry. The toughest among us do at some point or another.
I am sometimes jealous of people who know how to wear their emotions on their sleeve. It doesn't make a man any less of a man if anything quite the contrary. I can tell you I regularly get choked up and can't help but let go of a few tears every time I watch my children do something I never have seen them do before. My daughter Zolyia's role in the school play, Madelyne doing her thing on the field hockey pitch and when my son Kalvyn shows me something he has been working on and tells me he learned it by watching me. However I don't find that those tears are really a great leap of emotion just because it is moments like those that are why I had children to begin with.
Being able to reach down and find the inner confidence to allow those emotions to come to the surface on a regular basis takes more intestinal fortitude than I ever have known. The need to cry isn't something I have always understood either until very recent. I can't imagine myself going full Dick Vermeil here however the simple fact that I could cry and had people in my life that allowed me to do it is powerful and something I am forever thankful for.
The final message in the late Jim Valvano's famous speech was a simple one. You see he was faced with terminal cancer and even in his time after being helped to climb 8 small stairs to a stage because he was so weak he spoke the most important words that ring true for us all no matter what our trials and tribulations may be and that is "Don't give up. Don't ever give up!"
My father once wrote this quote I still carry with me in my wallet everyday. The quote is from Theodore Roosevelt.
"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."
The overwhelming message I am trying to convey here is that it's OK to take that moment and give yourself pause and a chance to think it around corners. It takes a person with great courage to do just that. However when all is said and done it also takes a real courage to face all those demons and carry on in a positive way. To be the person you know you can be. To cast aside all excuses, fears and doubts. Without shame or a desire for pity. All the while owning all your faults and shortcomings. Just don't give up!
Today I thought, I laughed and now I have cried. I have had a full day and it is only noon. Now it's time to make the rest of the day mine. I wish you all the same.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.