I’ve been kicking around a tough topic to put into writing for quite some time but I figured I’d just quit stalling and muscle through it and just hope for the best. I was pushed into this yesterday when I bumped into one of the lead architects on the project we’re working on. We exchanged pleasantries, and he asked how I was doing in the process. I gave my usual answer, “It’s another day in paradise”. His response surprised me. He replied, “I think you need to raise your bar for paradise”.
Never mind the obvious, that it’s odd for someone so high in the construction food chain to come back with “raise the bar”, but my response truly confounds people – especially when they find out I’m a true believer; this really is paradise – it’s supposed to be. As we parted ways, I added, “Well, once you’ve been through hell and found out you don’t have to go back, you’d be surprised at what passes for “paradise”.
That’s the key to my happiness. Well, that and a spectacular wife, but let’s not get lost in the weeds here.
The hardest part of my life – as long as I don’t pick up a drink or a drug – was lived 26 years ago. I survived addiction, a hopeless state of mind and body. I chose to accept the obvious and beat addiction through hard work and a desire to stop digging my own grave. By “hard work”, I mean exactly that. I didn’t sit back and hope for the best, I followed a plan to fix what was wrong with my character that kept me drinking. Once that was done, all that was left was to change everything else – and then, once that was done, all I had to do was change how I perceived and reacted to the life that happened around me. Folks, all of that takes a little practice – real recovery is dirty, messy, hard mental work and it takes decades to get really good at it.
So, looked at from that perspective, every day I wake up to yet another daily reprieve from my madness and my own personal hell. I don’t have to live that way ever again – and what I’ve got now, when contrasted against what I had, it becomes easy to understand why I see my life as a paradise on earth; I am truly free, and that’s a beautiful way to live.
I got home from work yesterday at a few minutes to 5 and readied my Trek for a ride. I pumped up the tires, filled a water bottle, and got dressed. A few minutes later I was cruising down the road in the sunshine, thinking about how good it is to be me… it was a wonderful ride, working on my tan and getting some much needed Vitamin D into my system. After pulling into the driveway with a smile on my face, I showered, ate some dinner, and fell asleep, thankful for another day on the right side of the grass.
I’ll likely do it all over again today, and it’s going to start remembering my daily reprieve from that hopeless state of mind and body. I can have my misery back anytime, all I have to do is pick up a drink or a drug. Choosing paradise has become easy.
In the end, the my answer is obvious; I’m happy because I’m a true believer. God has done for me what I could never do for myself. He relieved my of my compulsion to drink and I did the work necessary to make sure I don’t have to go back. I truly believe, down to my baby toes, that today really is another day in paradise. That is my choice.
Just a thought.