“It’s okay, you don’t have to believe. Just believe that I believe.” Do what? You have got to be kidding me, right? Based on this guys belief I am supposed to take an incredibly difficult step in my life and share with him my most dark and painful feelings? Guess what, he wasn’t kidding and I did.
At that time in my life I was 35 years old and I was financially and spiritually bankrupt but not morally, thank God. The only possessions I had fit in a trunk and I was indebted to everyone I knew and to any institution that had the misfortune of ever extending me credit, including the IRS. The depth of my indebtedness was irrelevant as I had no prospects and no ideas on how I might cultivate any. Indeed I was an apparent sad sack battling for a perspective on humanity and light at the end of any tunnel.
In the months leading up to this encounter I had listened to this man talk about himself and life. Bits and pieces of his stories might have resonated did not stir some kind of awakening of any thing like that. There was something intangible, indefinable that touched me and I do not have the words to manifest it in my mind or to put down here. What was true for me was I did believe in him. This man was passionate about life and had a comfortableness within life’s uncertainty that was extraordinarily attractive to me. He had something and I wanted some of it. I sidled up to him and we bowed our heads to speak to God.
For the next 25 years my discipline included sustaining my relationship with this man and it is so today. I am unable to engage this man in my mind without acknowledging the humble beginnings we share, the similarity of our paths through this life, the blossoming of my self-awareness facilitation he witnessed and took part in, and the deep and abiding awareness and love of God in our lives and for each other.
This man and I have taken many steps together over the years. Never in lock step and ever waiting for the other to catch up when our paths momentarily parted.
By what measure do we assess success and progress in life? For me, success in life is not measured by finances, possessions, relationships, or by any other means commonly used by folks these days. For me success in life is measured by the steps I’ve taken and by my willingness to take the next.
Proudly I call out to this man by name today … “James! Love you like a brother! Peace.”