I have done things no one else would contemplate. I have risked and lost, I have loved the most broken and vulnerable creatures and people. I have chosen in one instance to forgive, in another to smite my enemies with a vengeance and delight that would cause even my brothers in battle to avert their eyes. I have known an awesome and humbling power which compels others to conscript themselves to my cause, come ignominy or glory, death or brilliant life, riches or regrets. I have lain awake and known the gravity of the universe.
Yet today I hold the keys to greater means, influence, and creative power than I have ever imagined. From humble, damaged roots I have adopted tools of the masters, Robbins, Hill, Rand, Peale, the words of my Lord and Savior, and thereby hewn a rough path for myself, a circuitous but victorious journey to this plateau and that vista, ever searching in vain for the narrow way of peace, self-knowledge, real power. I have glimpsed it, ever out of reach, but here and there have come close enough to detect the scent of the fertile peat that lays along the edge of the way of greatness.
I am now, with my work, my children, my wife, at a place where my path must end, where there is no safety or solace in trudging along on the wits and talents with which I came screaming and naked into this world. I must do, see, and become more than even I can imagine, yet as I submit. Those powers and that intellect others made note of, envied, flattered, I now know were as parlor tricks for their amusement and my own. Squandered. Yet the blush of youth has left my cheek, and there is no wizened sage who will appear to point to the error of my ways; I myself must define the moment. I must, in fact, let my light illuminate for my own earthly father the first step on the path of his enlightenment, as with my own children: by my example – while bearing only my burdens and not what is theirs to carry.
I know when I reach the path of my destiny, obscured as it is by that wispy layer in the rarefied peaks and planes above, I will come to a serene pool and be able to look down into it and see revealed my sanctified countenance, that which God sees when he gazes upon my soul. But as I have experienced in my marriage, in the eyes of my children, those who catch the vision of my business, I must allow the faith placed in me by others to help light my way to those awaiting realities and vistas.
For I can see greatness of potential in others, in ideas, in the world around me – yet I often stand as an artillery-shocked trooper, unable to find my way out of the front from which I fight. Unable to rebuke my own demons and cast them into the putrid craters of the battlefield where they belong. Unable to claim my destiny, even as I take yet another enemy stronghold, rescue another villager on my way to that very place I’ve only vaguely imagined.
I now know there is no hill I cannot take, no gift my Father would withhold from me. Yet, the thirst to taste another bottle of pillaged wine, or even to hoist my flag from another ridge has waned. The battle of without has run its course; to be, to do, to have anything of meaning and permanence, I must lay down my sword and face the battle within.
It is said, “Know thyself”. I am ready to leave it all on the field in exchange for even one moment, face to face with the future and the fullness of who I AM.