As we climbed the warm gray stone steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the hot summer, we overlooked the very same place where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King viewed the massive crowds and spoke about his dreams of freedom. Do you remember how close we were as we walked along the reflecting pool talking about our dreams and what we were going to do if we ever made it through Physical Therapy school? I couldn't help but to think how close we got. Times change. We have changed! That's when I was 24, in the military and a late bloomer already feeling myself. I had previously gone through a tragic ordeal and by happenstance we were introduced to each other. Day in and day out as I was in the hospital, without fail, you would come and visit me. You were there to encourage me and help me get on my feet. I knew we were meant to be when you left me a message at Walter Reed Hospital saying we will get through this together.
Now fast forward to two years ago. Vision blurred, cockiness sets in, little to no eye contact, with little interest in studying or understanding you. Constantly, we were silently fighting each other. The neighbors would pretend they didn't see it, but they could tell something was wrong. That's because you were ready for me to lead and find my purpose. But I persistently told you NO! No way was I going into that deep dark abyss of uncertainty. A false sense of security and safety was what I thrived in. Plus, I had to keep up appearances of success.
You altered my path when you finally got me to change my frame of thinking the only way you knew how; you forced me into that point of no return. To this day, I have yet to forgive you for that moment. You knew everyone was watching me, waiting for me to crawl back with my tail between my legs.
Sore from emotional heartbreak and lacking experience, I rebounded to another love that was open, free, opinionated, and outgoing. We both moved on and you returned to running with your old crowd just for insurance. All I ever wanted to do is free you from needing an insurance policy with anyone else. As I began to nurture this new love, we developed a bond and I started to grow with her. But soon, I began to realize it wasn’t love I was seeking. I was only trying to replace the void in my life and avoid rendering the final blow to my pride; acknowledging that you were right. It was only a matter of time that we began to drift apart. Her opinions became fact and her facts became lies. She continued to get more likes, gain greater popularity, and followed the wrong crowd. In a world of followers I was seeking to be a leader. She was so social and in her media everyone was talking, but she never found a way to listen.
It's you and me now. So where do we go from here? Believe it or not, your message can resonate with someone and invite change. Let's review the lesson learned thus far. Faith obtained, purpose gained, compassion demonstrated, leadership acquired, and prosperity leveraged to help others fulfill their journey to success. I can't rewind time or rewrite history, but I can surely learn from his story. Life isn’t a rehearsal. The lights are always bright and the camera is constantly rolling. If there is one thing I'm going to do that resonates with me from this process, that's to hug my fears, pursue my dreams, and change the world.