There’s this park behind my house in the hills. Its a short walk through the forest, through the canopied trees that let flickers of sunlight through them. All around you there are beautiful plants, fresh air, and animals. When you get to the park…there’s this old wooden barn. I have been coming here since I was a little boy. Before I could walk, I would be wheeled in on a little red wagon. When I was old enough, I would just come here alone to sit and think. When I found my love for writing, I would come here and write. When I needed help, or just to get away from it all, I would come to this old wooden barn, full of picnic tables and hay on the ground. I would just sit.

There’s this stage in the barn. When I was small, I loved performing on the stage for anyone who was willing to watch. But then again, I would play on it alone if no one was there. The barn doors touching the back of the stage, those ancient pieces of wood that I used to think were so tall, are riddled with holes like Swiss cheese. I remember looking out these holes as if there was a whole new world on the other side. I can’t tell you how many times I have hurt myself on that stage. I have fallen, got splinters in my hands, cut my knees up, and cried streams of tears because of “Owwies.” But there was always something about that stage that called me back. There is a reason why I still come back. No one within miles. Just dead silence.

This is my heaven. It’s a huge part of me…and has always been there for me. It always has opened its doors to me no matter the circumstance. Life is a lot like the stage in this old barn. Some of us are lucky enough to have a roof…but on life’s stage there are always bumps and bruises, cuts and scrapes, and different size splinters in our hands when we fall. We laugh and we cry on this stage…but we are always called back to that same wooden barn, the barn that has been there for us since the beginning.

To its old rotting boards, to the smell and crunch of hay under our feet… and to that stage…the one calling our name and listening quietly to our hearts pounding.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project