Can I be honest with you?
The very last thing I want to do right now is write an inspirational post.
I’m tired and I’m a little lost.
I could lie to you.
I could put on a happy face and borrow from the inspiration I’ve felt at another time. I could pull out a book I love and repeat some version of what someone else has said. I could paint you a rainbow and hide the part of me I don’t want to give voice to. I could suppress what I’m feeling and protect what you think of me.
Or I could be real.
I know… there is a cost of being real in a fake society.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I sure wish I could see the cracks in the people around me – especially those who are out in front, claiming to have the answers we need. Sometimes I think the best thing they could do is admit that taking their own advice isn’t always easy.
How refreshing it would be to see a break in their relentless smiles for a moment. I think it would help me more to know that they struggle sometimes than to hear their “3 Steps for Getting Over Your Hurdle”.
So here I am – facing my own hurdle. I find myself unemployed for the first time since I was 16. (No… I wasn’t fired, my company sold out the business and closed the plant) I worked a 40-hour a week job at 16. I was hired into H.J. Heinz as a fulltime employee. That isn’t even legal today. I went to school my Jr and Sr year working a job from 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM. That is a fact about me.
After 42 years of working a full-time job, and the last 23 years working at a career I loved and being very successful has ended. I know I’ll find a job soon and this all will pass. But I am trying to be honest with myself and be transparent to others.
I don’t have all the answers.
So, I am sailing in uncharted waters. Some days there isn’t much wind and I am relaxed just sailing on calm waters. Other days it seems as if the wind will never stop and I get these great big gusts and my boat leans with the wind and the water gets rough. Today is one of those days. There is a part of me that is imagining the world is flat and I’ll sail off the edge.
I hide it well. At least I think I do. Most times no one is any wiser to the storm that is raging just below the surface of my smile.
I know the right things to think and say. I know what I’m supposed to do. I understand what’s good for me. I know that God has His hands on all of this. I keep reminding myself of this truth.
But the truth is, right now, the anxiety will just take over and feelings of failure creep in.
Now, I’m not one to embrace a funk for long. I’ll get past this quickly – probably even by the time I post this. And because I know that, I was really tempted to lie to you and to hide from you. But if I share the best of me with you, if I ask you to rally around my words, if I call you to boldness and authenticity, then it feels right to be bold and authentic in return… even when I don’t want to be.
So, what’s the lesson here? Well… maybe there doesn’t need to be one.
Maybe it’s enough just to drop the facade with one another, to admit that we don’t always want to practice what we preach.
Life is harder sometimes than we let on.
It gets especially tough if you’re not sure where all of this will end up.
Sometimes, anxiety and pressure will shut me down.
When it does, I remember that life could be worse.
And when I need to, I go see my grandsons… and I find my smile again.
It doesn’t get more real than that.