It has been a rough month for our household, the hits have kept coming so we deal with them the best we can. In the span of two days, we lost a grandfather to a heart attack, a friend to cancer and at the time of this writing, we have a grandmother hospitalized on a respirator. That makes five people we have lost in less than a year, driving the lessons I started to learn after the first one home.
After writing The Path Chosen I started looking deeper into being a better person, so I brought a couple of books with me to Oklahoma for the funeral. When the family had left for the day or I needed time to myself I sat back in thought and fought through concepts, principles, and doubts. I have my moral exemplars chosen, so what makes them tick so I can find what works for me. Even some unexpected ones I saw on the news after the tornado tore through Mayflower and Vilonia in Arkansas.
In the quiet after the funeral, I stood outside the house in Oklahoma listening to the sounds of life. The peace, lack of stress and not being in a toxic environment cleared my head so I could think back to the mistakes and misjudgments. When you have people who pick at every flaw, reminding you of the past constantly it seems, it gets hard to focus on pressing on when all you hear is how you screwed up. Times like that you have to leave them in the past, they are an impediment to your personal growth.
Growing up I did not want to be seen as weak, even if it was the truth. I learned and grew from it, which is a good thing about getting away to get a change in perspective. I thought I had to be an antisocial badass loner to be strong. Really, a good man is not weak nor a pushover, nor does a blatant ‘fuck you’ attitude make you strong. It is standing your ground when it is easier to do the wrong thing, running to help when you have nothing to gain, that is true strength in action.