Back over 10 years ago I was told, on several occasions, quote,” that I was like a man lost in the desert, with a compass in my pocket. That I had everything I needed to get out of the desert, if I would just use the compass.” My father told me that, over and over. I hated it. It was usually when I was in some kind of predicament, of my own causing, through my own actions or lack there of.

I would get angry when I heard those words. I was looking for him to provide the quick, easy answer, not give me stupid advice. My fathers wisdom took years for me to understand, much longer then it should have. As the years past I took a different view on that phrase. I made it my own, and in typical John fashion, warped it to my own meaning. I relished in the fact that I was in the desert. It was where I belonged. Here I would meet people who were lost, or on their own journey through the desert. I would help them on their journey. Maybe they just needed someone to talk with,  a different perspective, or a nudge in the right direction. In any case, I enjoyed the thought of how I helped them on their journey. Then, mentally at least, I would go back to the desert where I would hang out. This has been the cycle of my life.

Four years ago, a special soul came into my life. She was on a journey of her own. Already a butterfly, she was in the process of transforming into an even more beautiful person. We journeyed a long way, and to many destinations.  Like any good book, it had all the parts. An attempted murder, surprising plot twists, tears of joy as well as sorrow, and we both survived.  During this journey, I often contemplated on how far she had gone, while ignoring that I continued behavior that would lead me back and deeper into my desert. Finally, she stepped out of the desert and breathed in the fresh air of life. Although the desire to travel together was still there, she was unable to continue with me on my reoccurring path of destruction,  that I have been bound to for so long.

The next 48 hrs was not typical for me. Usually a life event like that would have sent me for a ride in Jolene. An out of control, high speed ride, putting myself and others possibly in jeopardy. There would have been loud verbal outbursts, against the very universe itself, and how it was conspiring against me. All followed with a late night session of drinking beer, playing and posting songs from my youth, as well as a good pity party. Instead,  I spent 2 days finishing an important project, that was needed due to poor choices from 5 years ago. I studied for an upcoming test, including making a 1 page study guide, for use during the test, (although I have had that option in many a class, I had never used it) and believe I did well. Then the clouds cleared from my mental vision and I saw it.

All these years I had been in a desert, and yes it was my own making. But I was the only one staying there. I often rejoiced when I succeeded at overcoming a bad situation. (One I had put myself in). Instead I should have been learning to not put myself there. I wasn’t there to help others, they were sent to help me. I should have learned through my own advise. Over and over the universe sent people to help me get to through the desert. Each time I would follow them to the edge, and then, turn back, sometimes deeper into my own.

My Dad had tried to tell me so long and so often. The universe had tried to tell me over and over. It wasn’t until someone who I had such a connection with, told me they couldn’t watch me continue this cycle, and choose to walk away, that it became so clear. She put it in words that resonated with my soul. That I lived for the moment, not the life. That there cant be “a life’, if I never stopped to look at the ripple effects of my actions and in-actions.  I can never tell her thank you enough for giving me the most important gift. The chance to live.

This week, instead of going back to my area of plotting in the desert, I pulled out the compass and walked into the light………