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Contributed by invierno on Friday, 2nd February 2018 @ 09:00:29 AM AEST
Topic: inspirational

I believe that we all have choices to make every day of our lives, and those choices define us as human beings. Iíve come to understand that I have, we all have, a responsibility handed to us at birth, before we know anything at all.

That responsibility is a charge, an imperative that takes shape inside our minds as we develop. It is simply to be kind. Thatís it, because it covers every conceivable base from which one might or should act.

The problem in this dynamic is life itself. Life does not let us live in a world of kindness, because not everyone is kind. The sad truth is that meanness permeates all our lives in varying degrees, and for some unfortunate damaged souls, this is all they know.

Some people grow from infancy within an environment as devoid of kindness as a cave is of light. I was one of those people. I would like to say, ďGod pulled me out of that darknessĒ, but lies waste both our time.

I have to say it is not God, but my awareness of God, that has helped me. I struggle all the time with God, and I have yet to say I love Him, Her, It. If I delve deep, deep to the core, I have to confess an anger against this Superior Entity that smolders with undying embers. But, this resentment is a positive step for me. I have to believe to resent. Size thirteen baby baby steps.

For so many years, I didnít even acknowledge there was pain, so deeply was it buried. I would pass off my childhood with pithy observations such as, ďWell, I could have been born in the dirt with flies in my eyes, and died of starvation. What I went through wasnít as bad as millions had it and have itĒ.

I spent most of my life, from thirteen to fifty-two, drowning my pain in an ocean of alcohol. At long last, looking at life through sober eyes, I have to face facts; my childhood was terrible. It was a nightmare, and I know Sally Strutherís kids live in hell, but I can now admit I lived in hell just like them.

I still donít know if I can ever come to grips with having to sleep in a barn at one of my twelve foster homes. I donít know if memories of beatings will ever fade; I suspect not, and I now think they arenít supposed to, because they help define who I am today. There are things that happened to me that are so heinous, this column, no column anywhere, is an appropriate forum. I have to carry them with me every day, and thereís no one to tell; I can barely tell myself.

Weíre back to choices. What do we do with the cards weíre dealt? It took me a long time to realize that a big fancy house, a snazzy car, the finest clothes, are no more guarantee of happiness and a kind environment than a desert mirage is to water.

Iíve known millionaires that are the saddest people Iíve ever met, and Iíve met people that exist on an income I couldnít imagine getting by on, and they exude a peace and joy I am in awe of.

The component missing in some and swimming in others is kindness; both as receiver and giver. Ideally, one would give kindness if received. Itís a sticky wicket and a long climb to find kindness when you wouldnít know it if it kissed you.

As decades began piling up behind me, I came to understand that there is no finger to point to. Several years ago, I was determined to lay the blame for my childhood at a specific personís feet. After summoning my biological mother and grilling her as a hostile witness, I thought I had the answer. It wasnít my mom; she was a victim of her mom. And her mom was a victim of her mom. Turns out it is everyoneís fault and no ones fault.

There is no reconciliation to be found for how things turned out. All we have control of is how we deal with what has happened to us. A mansion or a hovel; meanness happens, because people happen, and people are a mix of meanness and kindness. The inevitable universality of Yin and Yang exist at every level of human consciousness.

I honestly donít know if I would have stopped drinking had I not moved to a small town. In a large city, one can drink unto death and no one would notice. I like to think this small town, Olney, is unique. Maybe it is, maybe it isnít. What I do know is that I couldnít continue to leave decency and kindness unacknowledged when faced with it every time I go about my life here.

A choice was demanded of me, by me. I could use my childhood as an excuse to not honor the responsibility I spoke of above; to be kind. Or, I could say to myself, ďYes, Michael, you got a raw deal. Yes, you cannot recall one single, solitary instance of happiness throughout your entire childhood. But Michael, are you going to let that be your story?Ē

Thanks to my accepting there must certainly be a Superior Entity that gifted me a soul, and also thanks to the kindness of the people here in Olney, I choose to honor my spiritual gift, and do my creator the kindness of becoming the person I was designed to be before life got in the way.

Copyright © invierno ... [2018-02-0209:00:29]
(Date/Time posted on site)

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Re: Choices (User Rating: 1)
by emystar on Friday, 30th March 2018 @ 07:08:46 AM AEST
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This is very sad but you tell your story very well. I/'/m so sorry you had such a painful child hood.

Re: Choices (User Rating: 1)
by JamesStockdale on Wednesday, 6th March 2019 @ 11:45:10 AM AEST
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We can/'/t let the bad define us.
You/'/re right..Basking ourselves in material things won/'/t cure our ills. Actually they can bring you down by adding debt to your situation as you buy more and more to numb your pain.

A very sad story. You/'/d be surprised how many out here who share your sadness . And even more surprised how many people love you here as well. In my darkest days strangers as if God sent put me on the right track.

You never know when you are in the presence of angels.
You/'/re a great soul and God bless you!!!

Re: Choices (User Rating: 1)
by softerware on Thursday, 7th March 2019 @ 12:43:13 AM AEST
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I am glad that you have found a way to appreciate the wonderful, kind, and talented person you have always been. You are far kinder to others than to yourself, but no less deserving of your own forgiveness.
I think we all have scars we cannot heal and telling your story of kindness here is going to resound with many many others. Maybe your gift is to share the story you cannot change. But I hear in your words a coming of age. It/'/s ok to redefine who you choose to be. You have found those people you trust with your affection, and they are your family now. There is nothing to fear. Most certainly, you are no longer a helpless victim, but a strong and wise man starting over. You will succeed, scars and all. And yes you are respected and treasured. I hope you can find it in your heart to put your arms around it. Jaye

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