Tonight I went to sleep at 1045, and woke up an hour later. Dead awake. I was kind of confused because I have been so tired lately. Something was a little strange. For some reason, I had a huge smile on my face. And ever since then, I have just been sitting here in bed…happy. 

There hasn’t been a whole lot to be happy about recently. I haven’t been able to do anything, no sports, no work, no school, no nothing. I have been reduced to sitting in bed, reading, writing, and thinking. But after I got over how much it sucked to be stuck in bed, I began planning. Looking at this quarter coming up, and just getting so excited for what is to come. Since my body couldn’t do anything, I decided to set some goals and things I wanted to do for this quarter. And on the 20th, all of the stuff I want is coming into play. The reason I have to wait a day is because I finally get to take this portable EKG machine for my heart off. And I have to get some things ready before I start. 

Tonight, I don’t really want to talk about the things I want to do. I want to talk about the things that make us happy. Our true happiness doesn’t come from grades, from winning, from beating someone at something, to playing a game better, to any of those things. Our happiness comes from staying true to ourselves.

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” – E.E.Cummings.

Cummings has it right, this world tries to change us into something the best it can. It brings temptation, the things we know we don’t want in life, makes us think twice about the things we have, and makes us speculate about what will happen. I tries to mold us into everybody else. But if we really want to be ourselves, we have to fight for that every day. This fight can never end. We are tested every day. We get advice from people, we hear things that make us think, and we try to find answers to situations, that sometimes we don’t need any answers to. 

One of the hardest things for me to do is admit that sometimes, we cant have the answers for certain things. I am a problem solver. If there’s a certain problem, I write it down, I come up with a bunch of different possibilities, I find the most logical answer, I implement it, and then I stick with my solution. But this life is full of events that don’t have logical answers. You cant run through life like a math problem. There are just too many things to take into consideration. Peoples feelings, your feelings, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes, you just have to go off of what you know, and just have faith. Faith is one of the hardest things to have. You are basically telling yourself that despite what your senses can tell you with almost everything else in life, you must shut all of those down and just blindly “hold” onto something that isn’t there. I am going back to Church for many reasons. Not because I feel like I need to sit within its walls to believe in God. No, its because lately, I have noticed so many things in my life that are driven by faith alone. And its time that I go back, to a place that was made because of faith…not because of any other superficial reasoning. I am getting to why I am happy…There are so many opportunities to lose ourselves. To really just stray from our path. To change ourselves for the worse, and to be manipulated by things that aren’t worth the fight. I have done these things in the past. But, I have learned from them, and that’s why I am the person I am today. I know these things will continue to happen, and its just a part of life, but my compass is pretty strong now and I know whats worth it and what isn’t…well, most of the time. I have had many opportunities to just destroy things, tear them to pieces and burn the remnants, but I didn’t. The realization to not do that though didn’t come easily. The easiest thing to do is to protect ourselves. To light a fire around us, but most of the time that is the most dangerous thing we can do. Sometimes, its just good to be vulnerable. And I think besides public speaking, being vulnerable is one of the things that scares people the most. 
I was sitting outside the other day, and I was just playing with a box of strike anywhere matches. I have always just struck the match, watched it burn, and then flicked it onto the blacktop. But I realized something watching those matches burn. When we hold a match sideways, it burns so fast it almost burns our fingers. But when we hold the match upright, it takes forever for that match to burn down the wood, and a lot of the time the flame puts itself out. I sat there for a second, and this is what I came up with. If we lay down to die when things get hard, we almost always turn to ash. Burn if we let ourselves stand, no matter how much we are supported and how much we are on fire…that flame will always burn out. We need more people to stand in their flames.

Here’s why I am smiling tonight. I am sitting here smiling, because I am thinking clearly. Sometimes when things happen to us, we are all muddled up in the confusion and the emotion, and it clouds our heads. We are so concerned with how we are doing, we can’t see the big picture. Here’s the big picture. The greatest opportunity I was ever given in my life to change everything about myself that I hated came at a great cost. It came at the cost of unexplainable suffering. And it took a year, but I came out a better person because of it, and I developed that hard inner core I was talking about early, that iron in my heart. What I have learned from that is, that process was excruciating and it was lengthy, but it was worth it. It made me proud, it allowed me to keep my head up, and most of all, it helped me create these massive buildings from a previous ground zero construction site, and never rebuild the other buildings I didn’t want to see anymore. I learned about myself. I got to know myself, and great things came out of it. My job is never going to be done, but I know, that with a little iron in my heart, that I can withstand the unthinkable. But the most important thing I have learned…and this is why I am smiling here in the wee hours of the morning…is that I can see the reasons now…and the search for their iron. 

“The amount of time it takes you to get where you are to where you want to be is the amount of time it takes to change the vibrations within you.” – unknown.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project