KEN KESEY, author
I feel, as though I am finally gaining ground. For too long, I’ve been navigating the way through, rigid, uneven, and loose ground, with no strong footing on which to stand, surrounded mostly by influences obstructing the path, and shortening my stride. For a period of years, I felt I had a stronghold, knowing where I stood, with the ability to maintain the stance. After a course of detours influenced by the direction of others, I became entangled in the illusion, I was on an odyssey, ending in enlightenment, which proved to be less spectacular journey, and more, filled with weighty anchors I was forced to withstand. The drag became greater and greater, as I drug the weight of confusion around corner after corner, hurdle after hurdle, working to decipher, and break link after link in the chain holding me down, which was bringing me grief, drudgery and struggle from yielding to suppression. This is a somewhat general description of the problem, since the “problem”, was formed from layer upon layer of learning hard lessons over a trek through the un-level terrain of a lifetime, enduring, and persevering through wounds of all sorts, restrictions, climbs, and falls, and the frustrations of limitations vs. dreams… basically, it’s been a walk through the valley of death. I cannot say I am free, but I have a sense of freedom, which I have not felt in years. The short answer to what has awakened this feeling is hope.
Feeling free comes from hoping. When we hope for something, we believe, optimistically, there is an opportunity for a thing to come into being. I have been heavy hearted for many years now, which does not come or go over night, but is developed through trials; however, I have been shown a way, a new direction, which has given me hope. I am hoping for restoration, and a renewed spirit of gratitude, with trust. Gratitude is an innate part of having been struggling, and having received a vision of reprieve from the struggle (made confident, tough), and brought to trust, by faith in God, believing it is not an illusion. I am hopeful, it is a true renewal, which is healing, and comforting, to my spirit. I am not expecting to return to a prior state of being. Out of the understanding attained from trudging through difficulties, I am expecting to be a Me II.
I am in the same body, but the body is not the same; it is changed. It’s a second me, The harshness of times, thus far, has taken its toll on this body, while simultaneously there is a merciful, and forgiving, nature at work, presenting opportunities for more experiences to test the resolve, and perseverance of faith in me. This second me, this older, smarter me must adapt. As a thrifty person might spend less frivolously when the budget is tightened, I must use energy better, having learned it’s value, understanding every bit counts, and not take the allotted amount for granted, rather, take care to appreciate, and use it to the best of my abilities, to stretch it out wisely, taking care not to squander it, as though it were a never ending resource not subject to consequence. How I spend the energy is important to my spirit, and dictates whether I will be aimless, feeling pain, and in anguish, or walking on solid ground with sure, strong footing, and happy feet.
I recently learned, the shoes I had supposed were supportive, were the opposite. They had been creating havoc to my skeletal structure causing me to grow weaker, to wander, and waver from the path I desired, and have been striving to follow. This temporary meander caused me to regress, while I thought I was moving forward, in a positive direction. I believed in them for almost two solid years, not knowing they were hugely hindering my progress. I also learned how tenacious, and tolerant of pain I can be, having blindly given them the benefit of the doubt, trusting in a false security; clouded by a desired outcome. In taking for granted the power of small steps, and their impact over the long haul on the quality of life, I missed signs. My senses dulled, I overlooked signals telling me where I was, and where I was headed. I was steering down a road beset with pain, and bruises both to me physically, and spiritually. So many mis-guided influences overwhelmed me, which made me unable to recognize the patterns, and revealing the cause of my aching feet, until I could not stand it, and began, frequently, to have feelings of hopelessness, and debated whether it may be time to give up the strenuous activities, which used to be such strength builders, and stress relievers, now, seemed to be bringing me nothing but stress over the misery accompanying them.
Miserably conflicted, and at rock bottom, when forced to contemplate, and admit, up seemed unreachable, is when true support became visible, with a sigh of relief, I saw mercy, and comfort, as my loving husband, and friend, by the grace of God, was able to see, and understand the state of pain I have been so long wincing through, alone, and to a large degree, unnoticeable to him, given the circumstances until, we began this summers hiking spree. Now, it became clear to him, the mechanics painfully obvious. Through our observations, discussion and recollection, so did the patterns, which developed gradually from the relentless suffering. We were able to piece together, the physical and emotional events leading up to this state of exhaustion I’ve found myself in, thereby determining some causes and effects, leading me to a seemingly perfect shoe for me, given my current circumstances, which has made me hopeful, I am on the mend, on the road to recovery. Wearing the shoes for only four hours the first day brought near instant relief. This has renewed my hope, which was being undermined, and close to extinguished. It brought to me, a tearful smile.
Having lost my laugh, as I lost my footing, pain draining both energy, and joy. Instead of crying in pain, I am now crying out from the shackles of pain, in release; what feels like a freedom, and laughing joyfully because I am hopeful again, trusting in God, this discovery turns into recovery, from a desperate struggle to a happy feat, for which to be thankful.
The struggle to keep hope alive is on going. Losing it is the loss of happiness. Happiness only exists in hoping. Without hope, there is no happy feeling because there is no energy in nothing, nothing to strive for, live for, or believe in. When we look forward to something, we hope for it, it is how we move on, it propels us forward; without its push, we are sluggish, heavy, overly burdened, become exhausted, and full of despair, which is debilitating. It paralyzes us. We need the tool, the resource of hope, to keep us from exhaustion, alive, happy, and well. Hope is an inexhaustible, renewable energy source, which elates us. It’s healing to a troubled spirit because its side effect is believing, i.e., having faith… knowing without having yet known something. Hoping brings joy, happiness, and elation because it is faithful, it believes without understanding, or seeing, yet knows it to be true, or can be true.
We all have troublesome issues causing us to lose the way, putting us off balance, causing us to stumble, and run into roadblocks, altering the route to wellness, and a happy comforted spirit. While others can offer support, no one can alleviate them for us, so we are somewhat alone, even when there is someone relating to our struggles with a, “me too!”; each of us alone, must cross-train through the intervals of obstacles encountered in the course of living, becoming our own, Me II.
Enough cannot be said in regards to how wearing comfortable shoes makes for happy feet, or how being comfortable in your shoes is such a happy feat.