Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Forget Regret Or Life Is Yours To Miss........

Usually by 2am, the last thing is the world that I want to do is think. Unless that is, my brain proceeds to "think" and tell me - It's bedtime, son!

Although after tonight's movie, I couldn't help but want to sit down and "digest" some of what I saw and get it down on paper...........well, computer.

If you've seen the movie or the Broadway show, you'll know that the phrase of the song is from the musical "Rent."

The irony of the entire issue is that my friend who took me to see the movie; along with another friend (both who had seen the Broadway show) wasn't sure if I'd like it or not because of the "alternative" lifestyles that the characters lived. However this is the reality of our society today. AIDS, HIV, drugs, lesbians, transvestites; they are all part of our society. So it is something that I feel we need to at least accept that it exists.

I will say that I am not necessarily a fan of the alternative lifestyles, but I can't cast a blind eye to them. I think it's important to at least recognize that they do exist. In fact, it is important - whether you believe in the lifestyles portrayed in the movie or not - to understand and appreciate the differences that the people from our world share. This includes differences in beliefs, religions, backgrounds, skin complexion, cultures, etc. etc. It is only when we come to a more full respect of our differences that we can enjoy and appreciate our similitarities to a much greater degree.

What I found most interesting about the movie is the facet - the fact - whatever, of the importance of "community" within the movie. All the characters, most of whose names escape me at the present time - were "rooting" for each other. Did they have their differences? Yes. Did they have their fights? Yes. Did in some cases people piss other people off to the point where they couldn't stand to be with a "significant other"? Yes.

However, at the end it was great to see all of them together. To see and show how probably the most unique one of them in all - Angel - a transvestite - probably showed the group the most. He/She showed them how to more fully love; how to more fully care for one another; to more fully appreciate everything about life. Even the name itself "Angel" is somewhat symbolic in that she was an "angel" who opened the eyes of those closest to her.

And that's how we arrive at our "lives." 2005, soon to be 2006. I personally must say that I'm culpable of regretting A LOT of things that I should have said or should have done. Maybe would I have been "hurt"? Sure; but if you put yourself out there and tell someone else how you feel about them - sometimes that happens. BUT, at the same time, unless you do - the person who you care about will never know. And who knows, he/she may have the same feelings for you.

The regret goes as far as some of the different career opportunities that have presented themselves that I chose not to take. In hindsight everything is in 20/20 vision; but in the present, these opportunities are just that - a gift.

But you know what? That's the beauty of life. Sometimes you make a choice that hurts you. Sometimes you make a choice that burns you. Sometimes you make a choice that comes close to potentially killing you.

However, it is through these times that I think you learn the most about yourself. It is through these adversities that you find out who you really are - what you are made of - and if you are strong enough to overcome.

I am happy to say that once I actually told people that I had suffered from depression, a HUGE weight came off my shoulders. I KNEW that I was holding back something that God wanted me to say for fear of what other people would say or think about me. But the irony - at least in my case is this - I've been incredibly blessed to have people who when they read the article that was in the Pocono Record, or saw the newspiece on WYOU/WBRE-TV say that it inspired them.

To hear that word, "inspire" - it's something that four years ago, I never thought I'd be able to do. I was lucky to set both feet out of my bed on any given day - THAT's how depressed I was. And to come to a point where I can proudly say, "Yes, I had depression - maybe I still do (and just know how to "control" it so much better than before) - but I am willing to admit that so that people who currently feel the way that I felt during those 100 days of hell when I had no freaking clue why or how I felt the way that I did - can have someone to relate to."

It's weird for me; it really is to now not regret. That's the beauty of letting people into a world that was very dark and incredibly painful for me. They do care. They do know; and in many cases they think that I'm one of the last people they'd ever expect to be "battling depression." However, the choices that I make today - the people that I am able to influence and (dare I say it) "inspire" from today on - it's only a testament to those family and friends who were there for me when my life was dark. Their care was the "candle" that illuminated my darkness until I could see the sun for myself - and now thanks be to God, people say that I am even their "sunshine on a cloudy day."

Yet that's the wonderful thing about "community." Even people who I didn't tell about my depression until it was public in the newspaper - (and if you are reading this wondering how many people I didn't tell - let's just say about 90-95% of my family and friends did not know. A couple still don't.) they have come out to support me. I have had some say "thank you" for letting them know how I felt, because they have felt the same - or they thought they were the only ones who felt that way.

But you see - I am only one person - but one person who has a lifetime of experiences (that usually happens when you walk - well in my case "slowly crawl" through hell) - with a LOT of people on his side.

So remember this if nothing else guys; support those you care about the most. You may not fully understand - heck you may have no idea - what your loved one is going through - but the fact that the person who is going through their own personal "hell" knows that you love them and want them to get better - often times that is enough to sustain them. I know it did for me.

Life is too short my friends. Too short to be wondering, "What if?" A friend of mine right now - whom I've been priviledged to see grow into a fantastic athlete who is playing soccer at Division 1 school (yes, I am living vicariously through her! She knows who she is! ;)) had the opportunity to play basketball at the same university.

Many people would say no because of time constraints, etc etc. And in some cases you can't tackle too much. However, this was my friend's dream. Basketball has always been her favorite sport, even though she is better at soccer - but the opportunity to try out for her University's basketball team presented itself, she took it - and guess what? SHE MADE THE TEAM!!!
She I know must have an incredibly busy schedule, however she is living her dream - she can now tell everyone today, tomorrow, 10 years, 50 years from now - that she was a two-sport D1 athlete. I can only say that I know one other person who was a 2 sport D1 athlete, and that was from some time ago. She definitely can't regret her decision.

So live my life. Not simply live; but LIVE. We have a unique opportunity here on earth. We were given "Free Will" by the good Lord and I know He wants us to use it to make this world a better place.

I'll tell you what I tell everyone who says, "If God is all so powerful, why does He allow all these children/elderly to die from malnourishment or preventable diseases?"

Well I answer them, "He doesn't; we do. As humans, God put us here to do His will. To help make the earth a better place. The thing is, we look at the almighty dollar and not the sanctity or dignity of humankind. There are enough calories on the face of the earth TODAY to give every living breathing person approximately 3,000 calories of food/day. More than the RDA. At the same time, there are enough meds to wipe out all of the preventable diseases. Do you think God wants people to die from these diseases? OF COURSE NOT. However, He put us in charge of making His world a better place. Remember He is with us and within us - in our hearts. However, the more that we allow material things in our hearts, the less and less important He becomes. And guess what? As a result thousands of children under the age of 5 die of preventable diseases....EVERY DAY!"

Obviously you must realize that we all have a purpose here on earth. EVERY single one of us. Our purpose may be to be an attorney; and maybe with our talents to donate some time to clients who can't afford our services. Maybe your talent is that of a doctor; and you could travel to inner cities or even other countries to work for free - or at costs much less than you would orignally charge. Maybe you are a teacher - and in your summers, you could go to another country to teach literacy." (I'm not a teacher by trade, but I'm leaning toward that one)

The thing is, we all have the opportunity - not just the opportunity - but the responsibility to make the world a better place. If I may quote Sir Winston Churchill, one of my favorite depression overcomers, "What is the use of living if not to make this muddled world better for those who will inhabit it after we are gone?" Leave a legacy my friends.....forget regret, take chances and LIVE YOUR DREAMS!!!!


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