If you ever wondered what it’s like sometimes. Here it is. All on the line.

I’ve been happy. And at the same time, I was in an enormous amount of pain. Every time I had to read the book, at the end I felt like I just got out of a fight with Mike Tyson. Problem was, I went into this fight not knowing what to expect. Essentially I was blindfolded. To me, to have turned all of that darkness into light was an almost impossible task. But i did it. However, I am still going through withdrawals of all of this being torn out from the inside and brought into the light. There was a lot of stuff in the basement that I didn’t think was still there. Like Socrates said…my eyes are adjusting to the brightest of lights. I am blinded by a dream coming true, and I know that when my eyes adjust I am going to see something so clear and beautiful. Real and true. And then I am going to dive right back down and hold the lantern for others who are afraid of making their own footsteps. Those who only see the darkness. the looming black. A consuming darkness – that if left unattended, starts splitting the seams of your heart one by one.

If you ever wondered what the dark part feels like that accompanies the light – there it is on the paper. In the end though, this is the part of the game that turns the iron in the heart into something unbreakable. You become unbreakable. But in order to have that strong heart, you must truly face the hardest test – your deepest and darkest fears. They don’t come one by one, they come knocking all at once. That will either break you or make you.

In every speech from a motivational or inspirational speaker, you will hear a segment about overcoming obstacles. In fact, you will hear an almost romanticized version of people overcoming massive failures. What you do not hear though is the full truth. The heart wrenching emotions and feelings that come along with the obstacles. Those times where you sit in the bottom of your shower, all the lights off, your forehead resting on your arms crossed over your knees, feeling the water run over you. There is a strange sensation that comes over you in those moments. Sometimes you cry. Sometimes you sit there in perfect silence just listening to the water patter on the curtain. Learning to breathe again. You wont hear about these moments. They probably think that you wont try to go after what you want if you hear this.

But this is a disservice because you end up going into a battle not knowing the price of your dreams. There will be loss, there will be casualties, there will be severe pain. There will be all of these things, but you are only given as much as you can handle. Only as much as you can take…right up until you get to breaking point. You will crack, but never be fully lost. In the end, when you go after your dreams, you have to come back to the people and let them see and learn for themselves. To let them know that there is something beyond the cloak of darkness – and if they wish, to pick up a lantern of their own.

(End of Part 1)

So the story does not end there. I get off the train, on my way to my best friends house, feeling pretty down…but looking forward to seeing him…and at the bus stop…there was this man.

This man had crutches with arm supports, and looked like he could have used some help with his luggage. I offered to carry his things for him, we got on the bus, I commented on his awesome Trilby hat, and we got to talking about life. We chatted for a while about where we were from…small talk etc. After a long pause, he reached down to his leg. Click, click, click…and he took if off.

I just sat there…staring at my own legs.

He looked at me after a couple minutes and said, “You know, this is a new thing for me. But people seem to be pretty helpful.”

I smile at him, and I just felt…empty. Empty of everything that I had written above on the train…of doubts, worries, and fears. Here I was, siting feeling awful about all these things coming up for me, and when that man took off his prosthetic leg…it just cleaned the slate for me.

I eventually helped him with his bags, we shook hands and said our farewells. I got back into my seat on the bus with a smile on my face and mumbled the following words to myself.

“If you care about the small things…then here’s the smallest of things.”

I believe that people come in and out of your life for a reason. That man was there for a reason. But if I hadn’t been open to that experience, I would have missed it completely. If my heart hadn’t been open for help during a time of struggle, I would still be, in fact, in the dark. I am not discounting the emotions and feelings I was having before, but I did realize that it is completely up to me to flip the cards that I have been dealt and move forward. You have a choice to make each and every day. I made mine.

Stay open. Who knows? Lightning could strike.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project