Stop This Train

Five years is a long time. It’s been a long road to get here. Some days, it feels like a crushing weight is resting on my soul. Other days, it’s just a light sadness hovering over me, casting its shadow upon me. And on some rare occasions, I am happy; sometimes, I am okay. In those five years, I learned how to be functional, how to carry on, and how to live beyond any circumstance, be it tragedy or triumph.

It’s not all bad. There are good days. There are a lot of good things in my life. However, regardless of how far I travel from the loss, I will always carry it with me.

On the flip, five years is not a very long time. By the time I eventually pass away, I will have, theoretically, lived to look back on that day through the lens of thirty or forty years of distance. Telescoping out even further, what is five years compared to one hundred? Or one thousand? Or ten thousand? My life, let alone these mere five years, are but a speck of sand when viewed in the scope of all of history.

It leaves me hollow, and somewhat existential. I don’t necessarily feel sad, or angry, or depressed. I am simply tired. All of these thoughts cascade through my mind, along with hundreds more, each with their own subset of rabbit trails and rambling trails.

It feels as if I have lived five years in a single day, and, in a way, I suppose I have.

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Roll Back The Time

Jim Sullivan loaded up his entire life into that dinky Volkswagen. Everything he loved was packed inside, and without a word, he drove into the desert. As he drove, he contemplated turning on the radio and letting the music ease his mind. Instead, he rolled the window down and listened to the chirping birds and singing crickets. He squinted as he travelled, the glow of the setting sun reflecting directly into his eyes from the rearview mirror.

It was indicative of his entire existence; he was never able to clearly see what was going on around him, the bright lights of L.A. blinding him to his purpose and disorienting his sense of internal balance. It’s not that anything was necessarily wrong, it was simply that nothing was right. He needed a change. He needed to get away from the cacophony of the music scene. The California way of life was all he had ever known, and nothing about it was fulfilling. Beneath all the glam and shine, nothing flourished except addiction and decay.

He had tasted the finer things in life, and he had been given the opportunity to pursue what he believed to be his dreams. In the end, he realized that he had been deceived, both by the world and by his own mind, into thinking that he could find what he was looking for in “the Scene.” Instead, all he found was a miasma of emptiness.

For a short time, he found himself burdened by depression, knowing that there was more to life than what he was seeing. His perception changed rather quickly, as he came to the conclusion that being tied down by his own mind was no way to live. He needed to free himself of all chains, of everything that kept him enslaved and encumbered.

So it was that he loaded up his clothes, his money, his records, and, the thing most dear to him, his guitar. He packed into the car and simply started driving, with no destination in mind. After the sun set, he pulled over and checked into a hotel in Santa Rosa. He could not bring himself to sleep though, and he paced the room for several hours before the wanderlust and the thirst for the horizon overcame him once more. He tossed his room key on the bed and hit the road once more.

Sullivan drove all night, lost so deeply in thought that he nearly slipped off the road a few times. He contemplated life, the universe, and what it meant to be human. He mulled over how, underneath all the hate and destruction that the human race carries with them, they have the capacity to be good, creative, and inventive. They, of all creatures in the world, have the propensity to take their surroundings and improve them, to make them truly wonderful.

This thought brought him hope and, to a certain extent, happiness. He knew that somewhere deep inside him was the innate ability to create something glorious. With just a drop of initiative, he could build himself a life worth living.

The sun eventually rose slowly from its slumber, lazily casting its gaze over the quiet landscape. In that instant, Sullivan knew that the time had come. He pulled over on the side of the road and shut off the vehicle. He sighed and ran his hands over the steering wheel. This hunk of shaped steel had carried him as far as it needed to, and now it was time for him to proceed without his trusty steed.

He slowly stepped out onto the gravel and shut the door. He looked up into the sky, basking in the reds and oranges of the dawn. The final few stars twinkled their last and snuffed out like candles, overpowered by the strength of the day star. The sight brought him a strange warmth and comfort.

He began to walk away from the car, leaving everything behind, taking nothing with him, into the open sands. Bathed in the growing sunlight, he entered this new world as a new man. No one ever saw Jim Sullivan again.

My Ex, The Machina

Someday, these imaginary chains will dissolve, and our potential will expand. The people will gasp in wonder, whispering “These are they who rule the galaxy.” Not by fear, or war, or threat, but by word, and thought, and deed.

The broken shall lead, those shattered, scattered, and torn shall stand tall and show the way.

We won’t be down forever. We’ll never be dead and gone. We wont bend our knees and kiss rings. Our lives will be our own.

Their wicked ways behind us, no longer owned by their greed, someday we will rise up as kings. Then we will truly be free.

Something To Be

Everything is arbitrary. Everything is naturally devoid of meaning. Everything is pointless. All these things going on around us, all the tragedy, all the travesty, all the horror, destruction, and decay…it’s all meaningless. And that fact is glorious.

The human potential to breathe purpose into their time on this planet is a near-godlike ability. Think about it: in its natural state, existence is nothingness and darkness, perfectly neutral, neither good or bad. Things simply…are. We assign good and evil to these events. When someone dies, we are the ones that decide it is sad. When crimes are committed, we are the ones who decide that those acts are evil. When someone saves the life of another, it is we who commend that individual for the “good” they have done.

We take this innate understanding of the ill-defined subjects of good and evil and we apply those labels to the things around us. We convene as a community to decide if acts committed were evil or not. We see the acts of nature, and we deem them to be good or ill on a whim.

This power makes us kings. It makes us creators. We take the circumstances by which we are surrounded and we create our own reality. We have the authority to revel and wallow in darkness or to rise above and change our position. We have the right to ignore the voices that say something is impossible, irreparable, or beyond saving and decide for ourselves if something is worthwhile.

It is marvelous, really. We have the power to give value to that which would otherwise be worthless.

It’s beautiful.

There is natural beauty. Sunsets, mothers with children, the singing of birds. And then there is beauty that supersedes all that is natural, being something completely original and unique: the act of taking a broken situation and imbuing purpose into a purposeless circumstance. Be it good or bad, right or wrong, tragic or triumphant, they take the meaningless and make it a moment worth living through.

The true testament of the tenacity and strength of mankind is their ability to stand tall among the scattered ashes of what was once considered a life, survey the destruction and the chaos, and rebuild. The propensity of man to reinvent himself after his near-complete annihilation is remarkable. The ability to not just find and live out a purpose, but to change direction and find a new purpose to pursue when everything they had previously built is stripped away, is what has inspired the human race to believe that they truly are in the image of god.

They are wonderful creatures. Not only can they influence the world around them, bringing life and purpose wherever they go, but they can even tame the most powerful being: themselves. Out of nothing, they create.