There are lots of things that I have a better appreciation of having gone through the trials in my life. I truly appreciate those who are my support system. Mainly my wonderful and beautiful wife, Ashley. She has been a light in dark times and has always encouraged me to continue to seek a strong relationship with God so I can be a spiritual leader for her and our family. No less important are the rest of my family who have, in many different ways, been supportive and understanding.
The one area of my life I wish I could improve on would be my relationship with friends. I grew up in an age when there were no cell phones, emails, or Facebook. When my friends and I went our different ways after high school and college, we would have to call each other's parents or write a letter in order to stay in touch or get updates regarding how to contact them. It wasn't always easy. For a bashful introvert, like me, it was nearly impossible. Needless to say, I lost contact with a lot of people that I considered to be good friends. Thanks to modern social media, I have been able to reconnect with many of those friends, but the closeness just isn't there anymore because we all have built new friendships with those that we interact with on a more frequent or routine basis. I have accepted that for what it is and understand "that's life." The part I am most disappointed with, though, is that the friendships I have cultivated through church, job, and community have mostly deteriorated due to lies and selfishness. I have lived in the same area for about 18 years. I built friendships that I thought were real and genuine. They saw my struggles and I shared my fears and desires. They seemed to understand and seemed to want to help. However, when I finally reach a point where I have to make a change, they turn their backs to me, believe lies that contradict everything they have heard and witnessed beforehand, and in some fashion shun me from their lives. I attempt to make contact with them and sometimes get a response, most of the time not. If it were not for me reaching out to them, then there would be no contact at all. It saddens me to think these "friends" could be so cruel. I have lost my dream job, friends, and more because of two-faced manipulative actions of others. Some may not even realize this phenomenon. Others...they choose to believe the lies, consider me the enemy and all pretend life is great. In a small town, these lies spread and despite my efforts to move forward and make new friends or find a new job, I run into situations where those spreading lies and rumors continue to stay one step ahead to insure that I will have difficulty moving on.
The antagonist becomes the hero, the victim becomes the outcast.
That's what life has taught me. Despite that, I believe the nice will not finish last. I believe that God has a plan for my life and it is for good. I cherish the true friends I have and thank God for them everyday. As for the others...I guess it's their loss. They probably weren't good friends to begin with.
So, now I am starting new. Today is my birthday. It's the start of a new year of my life. I am embarking on a new career, a new perspective, and a new life. I have a lot to be thankful for. Sure things could be better (easier), but this is my life and it's the only life I want. I will continue to try to be a positive influence, a supportive husband and father, and a faithful servant.
Although I may not know the ultimate question to life, the universe and everything, I do know the answer is 42!
I'm taking my life back! And life is good!