Wake-up Call


I had a wake-up call recently. A pretty big one in regards to my life and the direction I was headed.

It’s been kind of a crazy few weeks, and crazy in the sense that while it feels like nothing has happened, everything has managed to fall apart. Honestly? It felt pretty hopeless for a little while, and if I’m being completely honest, and I mean all the way honest. Not just the honest with my friends, or the honest with my family, but the bare to the bones honest that I can only admit to myself when I’m safe hiding away in my room alone. But if I’m being honest- it still feels pretty hopeless at times.

I went to a concert the other night. And those who know me know that I love my concerts and most summers I would’ve been to at least three or four by now, but I haven’t had the chance yet. Until this weekend. And I went and saw a favorite of mine – Rise Against. And it was amazing. Beyond amazing, it was quite simply therapeutic. I’ve decided that I don’t pay for therapists, I just pay for concerts. Being able to stand there, singing/screaming out the lyrics to the songs I know probably too well was probably the most free I’ve felt in quite a while. And I needed that.

I’ve just come out of my second relapse, and if possible, I think it scared me more than the first one did. While the first one was all new and figuring out what I was going through and what my body was going through, I think that for me, this second relapse, is what made it real. It made it click that this is what I will be facing the rest of my life. That at any point – in the middle of a shift at work, at school, or just at home – things can go from good to bad. I feel like all I did was blink and the next thing I know my world was spinning (quite literally) and I was phoning home for a ride because I knew that if I tried to drive, I’d be lying somewhere in a ditch.

And over the course of the next few days as I saw doctors and tried to not fall down the stairs again (only mildly successful) it really hit me that this is the future. Perhaps not everyday, but perhaps often enough. And that scared me. And worse, I let it scare me. I let it get me down. I let myself believe myself to be defeated.

And slowly I got on some medication and things started to return to “normal.” As if I know what that even means anymore. But hey, maybe normal is just not falling down the stairs every other time. And so, I found myself at this concert. I was tired. It was hot. But I knew being around friends and family would be good for me, and I knew the music would be good for me. And I was right. About midway through the show, the lead singer for Rise Against slowed things down and talked. And one thing he said has really stuck with me.

He pleaded with the audience that none of us should wake up the next day and “bury our heads in the sand.” And I’ve been thinking and thinking about that phrase. And about what that phrase meant to me. Was I burying my head in the sand? Yeah, I think I was. I wanted to hide. Avoid a painful reality. In thinking about it, I realized that that wasn’t going to do me any good to hide away. And allowing myself to be defeated wasn’t doing myself any favors. Life is going to be hard enough without me having a crappy attitude about it.

And that was my wake up call. Standing there in a crowd with a few thousand people, the dark night over our heads, the lights and smoke of the stage all there is to see by, and a single musician playing a guitar and talking. I owe him one. And if he ever reads this -thank you.

Life is always gonna be hard. There are always going to be new challenges, more problems, harder trials. And yet I don’t think there’s ever enough to truly keep us down. Hit us to the floor? Maybe kick us while we are down? Yes. Of course. But we are all fighters. We all have the capabilities and the strength to push ourselves back up and to keep going. To fight on. To take another step. To move a little farther. To pull our heads from the sand and shake the dirt and dust free and hold them up high. It will never be easy, but as we go on we learn to bear it a little better. And most important, we learn to pick ourselves up again and again.

I don’t think the destination of our journey matters near as much as the journey itself. And I know that I’d hate to miss mine.


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