Flying across the keys. This, this post would go far & wide. This would reach people, change lives, and finally get people moving.
And at last, the title Word Hero would be assigned. To me. The string of miscellaneous letters would push together and produce a tasteful, important post. This would gain the desired response from others.
The smile widens. The typing becomes harder, faster. Steam puffs out of every sentence. Stir. Words. Opinions. Be Important. The tug on people would be just right and the noise would be just loud enough to be heard.
The claiming of whitespace, and the austere position of being the Word Hero sucked out any opportunity for real life and created a vast and deep disillusionment.
The exchange of life for disillusionment. That’s what I decided to do. And I did it slowly, hardly recognizing that it was even happening at all.
I would be the Cause. And some people would hold on like leeches to my words, the ones that made them feel good, the ones that invoked fury into their hearts, and breathed fire into their hope. But what does it do? What does it do? What is the Word Hero anyway? This machine that works for itself.
I taste blood as I fall hard on the ground.
I hear the thudding of feet pounding in my ears. Are they running on top of me? I cannot tell, the tingling, the pressing weight felt on my body says they are, but my mind says they aren’t.
I run my face through the dirt. Back. Forth. Back. Forth. And strangely, it is the only thing that feels good.
And I realize—
It isn’t the dirt that feels good against my weary face, it is the fact that I have stopped moving. I have given up racing. I have stopped trying to be the Hero.
In my effort to simply write to help, I began to write in order to BE. I trace my fingers through the dirt around me, slowly gaining courage to look around me, to accept how far behind I have chosen to be.
I feel something brush against my shoulder. I feel a hand run down my arm, not intimately, but with concern. I feel someone turn over my weary body and feel for my pulse. I feel someone cradle my neck and wipe the dirt smudged everywhere on my face.
I feel my breathing steady, and regain its intended rhythm. I am helped to a sitting position and I dare to open my eyes. They are tired from being unused all these months. I focus and see them. A small crowd, the very same I have loved, the very ones who have loved me, helped me, nurtured me.
They rush to hold my hands and offer words of encouragement. They assure me that though I’ve been gone for awhile, they are so glad I’m back. They are so glad I’ve chosen to stay with them, to be aware of them.
And after I notice the love on every face, I notice where I am sitting. But no, it can’t be. My heart argues as my mind confirms.
I am in the same place as I was before. No amount of running or racing could extricate me from this place in life, from these people, from this crowd, from my one Purpose. I thought I was going somewhere. I thought I was becoming someone great. Before I was weary, I was energized to be, to become, to grow into the Hero.
I fell for all the lies.
And then I look around me on the racetrack. I see bodies littered everywhere, and crowds of people waiting, loving.
Those people on the ground…they think they are running. They think they are becoming. They aren’t even moving. They are exhausting themselves for nothing. Just like I had been.
I glance to those surrounding me. Here they were all the time. I see the ground around me. Here was my life all these months. Neglected. In pursuit of myself, I forsook my Purpose, I forgot these people, I pushed back my very life.
As the world shifts back into focus, and the people around me quiet their cheers, and my life settles around me, I see the detail that I missed for so many years.
And the scattered words come together in coherency, and the thought alarms me.
This wasn’t a racetrack at all. There was no racetrack. Not once in all my running. But I’d made it into that, my disillusionment became my reality, and my new reality gave up everything, everyone that mattered.
The tears are falling. I’m on my knees, asking forgiveness of God, my long-forgotten Purpose. I’m walking to each person around me, holding the hands, welcomed by their open arms. Had I truly given up all of this? Vanity!
But they clasp my hands more tightly, and smile more sincerely, as they say, “We are staying.” And God washes white over my self-inflicted wounds, and this healing becomes my story—
over and over again.