To Be Awakened
It has been said that it takes a major shift in one’s life to find the true person who lies within. I’m here to tell you that this is definitely true. A tragedy has the ability to open your mind, to touch your soul, and to force you to look for love and the true meaning of life in zones you never thought existed. Tragedy will push your mind and spirit to evolve into the creation that you were designed to be, and force your mind to expand and reach for comfort at all costs.
Most people will look for solace within other individuals. They will wander through this life eluded by pleasures due to looking in the wrong places. Solace can not be found in another person, but only in one’s own heart. The window of one’s soul is the only place to look for true happiness. The possessions of this world are no comfort to a mind that is lost.
This is my journey through a tragedy that would awaken my spirit. It would open my eyes to view the world through a different window. The things that I once believed to be true would no longer seem to be of importance. The college degree that I worked so hard to obtain would mean nothing. The dreams of an executive career would slowly fade away as my life would take a turn.
I would find the happiness that I desired for many years, and it wasn’t in the place where I thought it would be. I want to share my journey to the promised land with hopes that it will help you to find your way. As you follow my journey, take note of my failures and triumphs, for these will be the signs to lead you to the intersections of your life.
I can remember the happiness on July 31, 1998 when I married my high-school sweetheart. It was a special time, with her in a long white dress and me in a dashing tuxedo. She had a beautiful smile as we gazed into each other’s eyes and repeated our vows to each other during the service. I still remember saying “until death do us part.” At that moment, I didn’t realize that this would become my reality.
We danced all night long, wishing that the night would never come to an end. It was a beautiful time. I can still remember the melody playing at the reception, and holding my bride as tight as I could, telling her how much I loved her. This night was almost perfect—the only thing missing was my mother. She was unable to be there physically because she had died of cancer a couple of years before. I was her youngest child and her only son. But, this did not change the atmosphere of the room because I knew that she was there in spirit.
July 18, 1996 was the day that my daughter was born. This was the best day of my life, but I was just a scared young kid at the age of twenty-one. How would I be able to take care of a child when I was still a child in my own heart? She was so tiny and seemed so frail. This little girl would change my life, in many ways becoming my foundation to the man I needed to be.
In the years following my daughter’s birth, my wife started to experience health problems. It seemed to be getting worse over time and the doctors couldn’t figure it out. After a long hospital stay, a specialist finally diagnosed her with lupus. Neither one of us knew what lupus was or how serious it could be. Lupus would become our teacher over the next thirteen years, causing us to have much sadness, but also allowing us to experience true love.
I’m sitting here in the intensive care unit as I watch my wife struggle with pneumonia. Does the Lord know that I can’t do this alone? Does he hear my cries every night when I tell him that this is too much for me to handle? I am angry and maybe so bitter that I don’t understand how he could do this if I’m truly his son. I feel so alone …
Karla is finally sleeping and I can get some rest for just a moment. I’ve missed a lot of days of work, and my mind is so restless. Will my job still be there for me when I get back? I’ve lost track of how many days it has been and how many times I’ve walked through the hospital doors this month. It’s sad when you’ve been in a hospital so many times that you know each nurse’s name and a little about each one’s family.
She’s awake and in so much pain, and she’s telling me that she can’t do it anymore. I’m crying, but I’m trying to be tough. As I’m holding her hand she wants me to make sure that I take care of our daughter when she is gone. Why is she talking to me like this? This is a bad dream. This can’t be my life. Surely this was meant for someone else and not me. In my head I’m yelling at God because I am so pissed. I’m praying as hard as I can, asking God to make this go away. I call out, “I’ll do anything, God! I’ll be obedient and do what you want me to as long as you spare her life.”
At that moment, God spoke to me and said something I’ll never forget. He told me that this was bigger than me and I had a job to do. He’s given me all the tools, and now he’s preparing me for what is to come.
During that time, I was reading A Leader in the Making by Joyce Meyer. I had been toting this book around for weeks like a little kid checking out his first library book. I was fascinated by it and I wasn’t sure quite why. The book would be a start to a journey that was laid out just for me. My path would become long and scary but it was needed to uncover my talents. A dull sword is useless and it has to be sharpened before it can be effective. I had been swinging my sword for many years but I wasn’t hitting anything. I could no longer control what was happening I had to kneel before God and let His will take over. That day, God changed me forever: He allowed my wife to walk out of the hospital a week later.
A Man in Training
Reading became a passion. It was something that I had to do every day. I would read at lunch, right after work, and before bed. I would collect books that would allow me to experience another person’s road to triumph. I needed to know how a person could break out of a mental prison. I was trapped, but I knew that I was knocking on the door of hope. I didn’t know if hope would answer, but I was willing to risk it all to find out. I was so hungry for knowledge that nothing would be able to keep me from obtaining it. Earl Nightingale, Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale, Les Brown, and Louis L. Hay were some of the people who were keeping me company at night. For quite some time, these individuals were my mentors and coaches that would show me the way.
It would be some time before I would come across the book that would put the finishing touches on my life. This book would give me the luster that every jeweler looks for in a diamond. During this time, Karla would experience many trips in and out of the hospital. I was still fighting with God as well. I had many hours of sitting in the hospital underlining sentences in different books. My friends were starting to look at me as a philosopher, but in my heart I was just plain old Jhasmal. My mind was like a tank, stronger than ever before, but still aching from life’s circumstances. I knew that I couldn’t save my wife and I wasn’t sure if I could even save myself.
Today is the day that I met Og Mandino—such a weird name. He has introduced me to The Greatest Secret in the World. This is a small book with the explosive power to topple any impeding structure. Where did this guy come from? My curiosity is rather intrigued by the lessons within this book. Each page I read seems to lift my spirit.
The lessons of all of the authors are pretty clear: You must make positive habits and be willing to take the necessary steps to keep moving. Regardless of the circumstances or your feelings, you must remain consistent. Even though I understood the lessons, it was very difficult for me to act on them. There were many things going on in my life that seemed to cloud my judgment. Stress was one of the demons that seemed to be tormenting me daily. Physically, I could feel the stress slowly eating away at me. But, there was no time for me to feel sorry for myself. I had to make sure my wife and daughter were okay.
The World’s Illusion
I’ve been chasing success for thirty-four years now. In the last two years, success looks nothing like how I imagined it prior—it’s not about the nice cars and big house. All the things that I worked so hard to obtain don’t seem to have any value now. The world has a lot of people blinded by things that won’t make them happy. These are temporary fixes to a bigger issue. You can have the most beautiful home in the world, but if there is no love, the home will seem hollow. You won’t be able to experience laughter or memories that only love can bring. There will be no conversations of joy relived. You will only have a foundation with no meaning or reflection.
A person who is lost will never find true happiness.
A person who is alone needs to have someone.
You can try to convince your mind that it is okay to be alone but your heart will always tell you differently.
Flirting with my new self.