Well, this is the last chapter. I had a bunch of other experiences that I was going to talk about before this book ended, but I realized that if I talked about them, I wouldn’t be saying anything new. I would just be repeating myself, over and over again. I would just be repeating myself, over and over again. And that doesn’t seem like the best use of my time, or yours, so I will stop here. Besides, this way I leave room for a sequel when this becomes a smash hit!
I don’t really know of a good way to end this thing, so I think the ending will be as abrupt as the beginning was. I hope that as I have written this document, that you have been able to get a much clearer understanding of who I am and what makes me tick. I would love to talk with you more about any of the things that I’ve mentioned here, and other things as well. Again, I am trying to learn how to be more open about my life, and this is one of the first steps that I’ve taken to that end.
It is also my hope and prayer that maybe something I’ve said in here can help you; I had the privilege of having a long conversation with a good friend a few days ago, and I came away from that conversation feeling as though my experiences, hard as some of them have been, are worthwhile if only because I was able to use them to encourage my friend. And that, I guess, is really the take-away for me — my raison d’étre, as it were.
I want to experience the fullest amount of life possible. I’m always looking for new experiences, new things to try, new places to go, and (sometimes, sorta) new people to meet. I don’t like sitting around and waiting; I want to be out there, doing something, anything, and just see what happens. And then I want to take the experiences that I’ve had, and the lessons that I’ve learned, and use them to encourage and love the people around me.
The problem with this attitude many times is that I say or do things without thinking through the consequences first, and so sometimes I end up having difficult experiences, or hurting people even when I’m trying to love them. But that’s part of life, too, and I believe I can use even the bad experiences to encourage people. Or maybe I can’t do that at all, but the God I believe in — the God of love, and of strength, and peace and encouragement that nobody can understand — he can do that.
The rapper and hip-hop artist Macklemore has a couple of songs in which he describes his battle with alcoholism; his first song, Otherside, talks about how he became sober. This song became a clarion call for other people struggling with alcoholism. However, three years later, he relapsed, and he penned another song, Starting Over, in which he sings “If I can be an example of getting sober/I can be an example of starting over.” It gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it.
And while I’ve never struggled with alcoholism or those sorts of addictions, I hear the lyrics to that song and see myself staring back. I see a man, broken and beat down, but also a man who, with God’s help, will stand back up and dive back into life headlong. I see a man who can take his experiences, and with God’s help, give other people a boost back into living. And I pray that these words maybe can do that for some of you.
So that’s all I have. I want to live life and love people, and I trust God that that’s enough.