The Winter of 2003
I have to get something off my chest. This post is going to be a little bit dark and dramatic but then it will end brighter and more illuminated. So, if you find yourself heftily trudging through it, don’t lose heart.
I was sitting alone in my car in front of Wal-Mart. The snow was coming down in blankets and the dimly lit store let me know that it was closed. Yes, Wal-Mart, the one place I thought was open year round, was closed on Christmas day. Today, I wasn’t just here for shopping. This day was probably the single most melancholy day I’ve had in my entire life.
I was thousands of miles away from my family, in Saratoga Springs, NY. My best friend (or what I thought was my best friend) had told my current girlfriend about a week prior that I had cheated on her while I was stationed in Charleston. I should have been sympathetic, but instead I was filled with a deep rage for everyone in my household. Not only had I been betrayed (seemingly), but they invited her to stay. I had nowhere to go, so every moment at home meant discomfort. I sat in my room thinking only destructive thoughts.
When I first came up to Wal-Mart I had planned to buy a gun to kill the one that turned my life upside down, my roommate. My thoughts of murder quickly subsided. I wasn’t a murderer after all and he was doing what he thought was right, even if he was doing it for the wrong reasons. My thoughts then turned another direction. I was there to purchase a gun that would end my cruel misery. The bullet would sever my ties to this reality and rapture me from this life.
Now Wal-Mart denied me of my end. I couldn’t even kill myself. Sure I could have done it several other ways, but the pain of slitting my wrist or hanging myself wasn’t appealing. In truth, I don’t think I would have gone through with it. I’m not entirely sure, as it was a moment of immense emotional turmoil for me, but looking back I don’t think I had what it takes. I’m very, very glad.
I suffered through about another year or two of feeling sorry for myself before I was finally able to pull out of the muck I had gotten stuck in. Today, I have a wife that is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined, two gorgeous wonderful daughters and a life that isn’t perfect, but I’m sure at least some would envy.
This trial taught me many things. Sometimes our emotions let our perspective distort reality into something it is not. Sure, my living conditions were tough and my heart was distraught (no more than hers I imagine), but compared to the happiness and condition I live in now, it was a small price to pay.
It also taught me that selfishness never goes unrewarded. In the end, karma will find you.
The point of writing this is to say that whatever you are going through now, no matter how bad you think it is, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. The best part about bad times is that they are the low point. If you find yourself in a low point be sure that it can only get better and that you have the strength to drag yourself through it.
I can honestly say that the residual emotion is still there. I still reflect back on those days (as I am doing now), but more with a sense of understanding. I understand what I did was wrong, why my heart was not in the right place, and how far I have come from the person I used to be. Sure I still have problems. I will always be flawed, but trying to overcome my flaws is what counts. It’s true what they say, time does heal all wounds. I wear the scars of those wounds like a badge of courage and perseverance. For my darkest and most cowardly days reciprocate into my most righteous and brave triumphs.