When I was a little boy, I loved cars. To this very day, I still do. But, all I really wanted to spend what is now my adult life doing was race. I loved the competitive spirit, flying by the seat of your pants, and being within a shake of disaster… both literally and figuratively. It took an appreciation of adrenaline, risk, skill, and trust that what you’ve built and who you’ve built your life with won’t come crashing down on you.
Over the years, I’ve come to know that life, in general, is likened to a race. Even The Bible makes a reference to it. There are a lot of ups and downs, twists and turns, and obstacles that happen to interfere with making it to the finish line. It wouldn’t be much of a race if there wasn’t a finish, would it? But, perhaps the biggest obstacle that we all face is love.
Talking about my teenage years and experiences is pretty tough for me. Mainly because I had such a terrible time coping with all of the antagonizing situations and negative reinforcement that I had gotten from them. I learned not to love myself. I felt that desire… the spirit… and the dedication that I once had as a child was gone. In its place, degradation, contempt, and a complete sense of helplessness and being unwanted set in. The feeling of being abandoned because love, in general, had become so glaringly absent and critical in how I perceived myself. I had become depressed and suicidal because I didn’t love myself. I hated myself. I hated who I had become. I was empty inside. There was nothing left.
As I got older, I learned what love really is. It has a lot of forms but the feeling that it brings is the same. It inspires. It uplifts. However, the pain that we’ve accumulated and a lack of trust and faith that we can be healed can be overwhelming. It’s definitely a struggle to believe that we can arrive at a point where we can be capable to pursue all of the things that we once felt passionate about. I also learned that it is a journey to be enjoyed. Personal growth is a process that should be approached with an open mind and a loving spirit. I didn’t understand that because I didn’t have love in my life. I don’t mean the superficial love that we tell our friends or the type we feel when we’ve become attached. I mean the type of love that can only come from being invigorated with passion and being driven by purpose or by someone whose passion reinforces your own.
But, just because I got older doesn’t mean I found love.
Don’t get me wrong. I love cars. I really do. They have been such a big part of my life as I am so fascinated by them. They are about as unique as we are. They have their own personalities. Some would even say that they are an extension of our own personality. I would agree with them. We can make them loud. We can make them faster. We can make them flashy. We can make them so elegant that everyone can’t help but notice. But, they also can die because just as easily as we can nurture them, we can neglect them. And much like them, our ability to love can die if we don’t take care of it.
I’ve learned a lot of life lessons over the years but none as important as love is the basis of everything. I spent a weekend in Ft. Worth and it was really an eye opening experience. I’ve become acquainted with a lot of people and most of which I would call my friends over the years. I would go as far as to say that I love them in more than a superficial manner. But, loving them as I do didn’t necessarily make me feel like I could love myself. It wasn’t until recently that I had found a glimpse of that love I had as a kid.
It takes a certain kind of personality to make your life less about yourself and more about others. To be so open with people you know and don’t know alike takes so much strength of character and an ability to place them in a level of priority above yourself… it’s a genuine moment of clarity and rejuvenating to the spirit of passion that lives within us all. Furthermore, to surround myself with people who want to thrive on their own as well as see and assist others in finding their own passion gives me the faith that the race I run is for something… and worth it to continue.
Through all of the hurt and lack of faith, being put in a position to realize that I still have the passion to continue… and enough love to persevere even when I believed I didn’t… is a testament that we can recover from those wounds… and there’s more to life than just building walls of doubt, mistrust, and paranoia. I’ve learned that a secret to life is passion… what that may be is as unique as we all are. For success… for love… for finishing the race, even.
Or perhaps to start one…
“Don’t act like it’s a bad thing to fall in love (with me).” -Justin Timberlake
And it really isn’t such a bad thing…