I was rushed home last night because we thought I might have to go to the hospital for my heart. I ended up being told by my cardiologist to just lay in bed, do nothing, and take it easy. The power has also been off for the past few days. So I have just been laying in bed, sleeping, looking at the ceiling, or reading. I’ve been reading “The Last Lecture” the book about the cancer patient who was a computer science teacher who decided to write a book about his life. Its pretty inspiring. One of the things I have learned from this book is “Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” He then says, “The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” So I am laying in bed waiting till my heart medicine kicks in and fixes it. Without my heart fixed, everything that I want to do and achieve, I can’t. Those are tough pills to swallow. But what a great chance to read. This book is all about acceptance. And today my journey has been towards acceptance.

Mending wall by Robert Frost has one set of lines that have stuck with me for years. “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know, What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offense.” I feel pretty walled out right now. Not just today sitting in bed all day, but in general. I feel like I am a outlier, marginalized by circumstance. I went from heavily involved to involved by chance. I am walled out from the laughter, from the feelings, from everything. Slowly, I feel like the edges of me are being erased. This wall, you cannot run through to get at, you have to sit outside back up against it, until one day nature has eroded it away. With that, comes a whole lot of time for you to ask questions. However, with that also comes with your acceptance of the fact that you can’t hammer away at the wall or dig underneath it. You just have to trust that that wall will eventually crumble. I am accepting the fact that the walls will crumble eventually.

I have been thinking about people telling the truth. The one thing that literally kills me is when people dont tell you the truth for whatever reason. Worse yet, is not getting the whole truth. Even if the truth is going to hurt me, I would rather know. I live by telling the truth to people. I think thats why this blog is such a good thing for me, because I lay it out on the line every single day. I also speak the truth about what I am feeling. Right now, I am worried about my heart, and a little bit worried about the uncertain future. I am away from all of my friends at school, and sitting in this room absolutely tired as can be thinking about my chest. There is lots of time to think. The truth matters. Even if it delivers a short term blow, it really does matter in the end. If you tell the truth to people, they will appreciate your honesty and really thank you for it in the end. Always give people the truth, even though it might sting both you and them.

I have been thinking about what I should do. I have been given all sorts of information, examples, experiences…the list goes on. Some of them have been “prepare for the worst,” “go ahead and move on,” “tell it like it is and see what happens then.” Yikes, thats a lot of info flying at me. I like to pick peoples brains and ask them what they think of certain things. You will be surprised the amount of learning you can soak in by listening rather than talking. I think I know what I want. Think of it like a poker game. Were at the final table and everyone has a ton of chips. I feel like I have a pretty good hand, but maybe not the best hand considering circumstances. I am not going to fold because I have good cards, and I am not going to raise because I don’t want to play bigger than I am, but I am going to call. Basically, I am going to ride it out and see if I get some good cards to play with. If you dont give yourself the chance to play, then you will never know what could have happened with your hand. My dad gave me some really good advice today though, and I will keep this with me for a long time. He said as he was laying down next to me on the bed, “Evan, if you are going to stand in the kitchen, you better be willing to take the heat.” He’se right, I have to be willing to accept what comes with this and take the heat. And if I am going to subject myself to this, I cannot be looking for anything besides what this is going to bring to me. Remember, we all have a choice. Just as the choice was made to make this happen, the choice can be made to end it at any time. I know in my heart I want to wait forever, but that would be the end of me as we know it. It would tear me up inside. So for right now, I am going to stand in the kitchen and cook like crazy, without worry about whats going on in the other room…if you catch my drift. I am accepting my choices.

I think about time. This heart thing has put a lot of things into perspective for me. Rest assured, I am going to be fine, but you cant help but thinking about what if there is no tomorrow. What if one day it just quits on you. Once again, I am going to be fine, but these are things that I have been thinking about while laying down in my room. I know that I would want the people close to me knowing that I loved them dearly and that they helped me live my life. I think I really have to start taking things one day at a time. Today, is focusing on resting, getting better, and doing everything I can to become healthy again. That may be on the agenda again for tomorrow, but I have to focus on the hours I have left today. I know for a fact that I get caught up in doing and thinking about a million things at once. Thats okay, but I am really trying to focus on just a few things that really matter to me and that are in my hands. The things that are out of my hands, I cannot focus on that much anymore. I have to keep telling myself this, because I want to speculate, to question, and to talk about them. But like I said before, I have made my decision to stand in the kitchen and cook, which I believe is the right decision, so I have to deal with the grease burns that might come from this. We all have the decision in our hands to try to tough out those burns, and we once again have that same decision, that if it gets too much and its really burning bad, to stop cooking. I have a high pain tolerance. 
The brick walls are there for a reason. They are there because it gives you the opportunity to show how bad you want something. Right now, I see a few walls. I am on the brink of doing really really well in school, probably the best I have ever done in a quarter, and my health quickly deteriorated. Theres a wall right there. There are always walls to love. They are all over the place. The distance, the age, the time, the year, they go on and on and on. Your going to laugh, but I actually watched The Notebook after it was suggested to me. I know that story is made up, but I did get one thing out of it. I realized that love isn’t always fair. Rarely is it a storybook romance. But if you stay dedicated to what you know is true, it will work out. And if it doesn’t, then you at least stayed honorable to your cause. I feel a little bit like Noah right now. Having had something stripped of me, going a little bit mad, but creating a beautiful house from scratch. My house is my foundation in life, and its about constructing myself. I am constructing myself over again, and its really hard work. I do have a lot of time on my hands though now since I sit in bed all day resting. My notebook soaks up the ink. Part of me wishes though I had a house to build from the ground up. Thats right up my alley. Things dont always work out the way we think they will, but sometimes, we have to let things take their own course. I know the feeling. The inner gut feeling of wanting something so bad and wanting to hear from someone but never getting that letter back. I felt for Noah.

“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I’d hoped to give to you forever. I love you. I’ll be seeing you. Noah.”

Today was a rough day, but I came to a similar realization. My opportunity is not over yet, I know this, but I know that the best thing I can do, and actually the only way I can show my love, is to let it be known that…”its going to be okay.” Whatever happens, its okay, and I’m going to be okay, and we’re going to be okay. Imagining yourself without someone who has seen you at your worst, who has brought you back into realizing the goodness of this life, and who you loved with every cell in your body is scary. The truth is, I am scared. This might be one of the only times you will hear me say that; I am scared. But thats alright. I am breathing again. I am dusting myself off.

After things like this, you do keep on falling down. If you’ve ever been socked real hard or hit your head on something, you tend to stumble. I’ve been stumbling over the past month. But eventually you get up and wipe the dust out of your eyes and see again for the first time. You can see that the things that once scared you don’t anymore, and you can show the world that you are a different man than you once were. And me, for the first time in my life, I can see that I am okay without someone standing by my side. That I don’t have to lean on someone. I can walk straight, without any weight on my shoulders, and smile. That has never fully been the case for me. Trust me, I still love a lot. That won’t go away, but sometimes having the rug pulled out from underneath you once or twice is a good thing. Only a couple times though…and I’m going to make sure my house is all wood floors. 

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project