All Along The Way…
By: Jeremy C. Fink
All Along the Way... I have questioned myself on what seems to be a daily basis: “What is truly possible or impossible…What is the truth that I am constantly in search of?” “What is anything other than one individual perception and consciousness?” This leads me to ask of you; “Just how coincidental is it that time after time, year after year, we all find ourselves opening and writing new chapters in life at what always proves to be, without fail, the exact moment we were supposed to do so?” I adamantly refuse to subscribe to the notion that life is nothing more than chance or dumb luck, I sense some power, so great and magical, that we as mortal men cannot even begin to comprehend it. “It” is undoubtedly at work pulling the puppet strings of this journey we know as “Life”
All Along the Way…people have become indifferent to life’s wonderment and magic, indifferent to seeking the answers and the truth that are such a vital part of our own necessity.
Life…as I think about that word, its concept, and the perception we make of our life and others .Oh! How we so genuinely misunderstand it. I can assure you we as a species were not bestowed with the magic of life and the intelligence required to be able to ponder, critically think, use logic, and question such theories and concepts so as to devalue it with comparisons to coincidence, circumstance or just plain luck.
All Along the Way…I have learned and applied life’s harsh lessons, I have been both teacher and student, been broken and made whole again. I have been stretched excruciatingly thin, only to snap…return back, and regain my true form once again.
All Along the Way… my journey of life has led me towards situations and obstacles specific only to my own plight and conscious awareness, or even unconsciousness perhaps. It is always perfect and can never be questioned, for love and life happen exactly how they are meant to.
All Along the Way… I have walked my own path, in my own shoes and now when I turn to the past for direction and guidance I can see every crossroad encountered along the way. Although some were seemingly impassable, they were all reached and overcome in good time. I see each bridge’s span that I have traversed, including the ones that have long since burned and fallen away for one reason or another, and the further I travel and the more time that passes it all reads to me like a precisely drawn and notated map…my past has become the map to my uncertain future. By no doing of my own this map has guided me through a chaotic and maddening maze, allowing the exact destination to be reached at only the exact time required…and not one second sooner.
All Along the Way…I have celebrated tremendous victories and suffered the most crushing of defeats. I have captured everlasting and eternal memories, some deeply cherished while others haunt me to my very core. I have loved and lost and nearly destroyed myself within the bondage of that pain, the pain of void, of emptiness, pain created from love lost too soon and now forever carried within as another scar upon my soul.
All Along the Way...this journey of mine has led me blindly from a dying and long since forgotten coal mine town, my place of origin, in the rural mountains of Pennsylvania on to my childhood home of fertile farmlands, rolling hills, and grass of blue. I have crossed over mighty rivers: Ohio, Mississippi, and Allegheny. I have climbed into the mountains of West Virginia, walked the path of pioneers in Appalachia and even seen the greatest of lakes that our nation has to offer. I have seen many things with my weary eyes, yet I feel I have actually seen nothing at all.
All Along the Way…I have doubted and challenged most everything, all the way from authority to reason and finally my sanity at times, but never have I regretted my form or tact in doing so.
All Along the Way… I have been a victim and recipient of labels, labels of many kinds with many intentions behind them. I have been praised and cursed, judged and acquitted, by those who hold no power over me or anyone for that matter. Alcoholic, Addict, Loser, Mental Case, Criminal, Convict, Psycho, to name a few, or perhaps: Genius, Creative, Talented, Artistic, Loving, Caring, and Kind. Again it is all just perception and experience but labels are talk, and talk is most certainly cheap.
All Along the Way…I have been loved and hated by more than just a few and regardless of the final outcome those who chose to take the time and truly know me have gained my respect and that is not an easy thing to accomplish for anyone in this world. They may gain mine, but WILL return it as well, either by their own choosing or by less than subtle methods of persuasion.
All Along the Way…I have held fast my belief in Love, Laughter, Liberty, and Life. I have known both honor and shame, been brutally entangled within each side of honesty and lies, but no matter what my course while on my journey, I have always remembered and cherished Love and Family while keeping them unconditionally in my heart eternal.
All Along the Way…my growth can be measured exponentially in love, family, wisdom, and passion. I no longer place boundaries upon my heart, mind, spirit, or soul because I know the walls that blocked my past paths so completely were merely figments of my imagination, the bricks laid of hurt and misunderstanding, constructed by bitterness and anger. These walls I had fought to topple for so long so that I could trust and grow again were never really even there, they only existed within the confines of my frightened mind.
All Along the Way…I have embraced the gifts and curses that accompany and are intertwined with “the voices in my head.” The voices are ferocious roars… unrelenting… and my will has never been a match for their chokehold upon me. It has always bent, weakened, and eventually broken under the weight of their strength. It has never and will never be capable enough to overcome them. I cannot recall a time where my mind or thoughts were anything less than a maelstrom of random explosions, assaulting me at every opportunity, taking the physical form of electrical charges, neurons and electrons, blasting about within my brain. The result: questioning the things that no one taught or told, the answers and facts that were given to be learned always unsatisfactory. Insatiable and stubborn to the end, this gift for seeking knowledge, for asking questions, was born of a hyper-enthused and unquenchable thirst for learning what was not to be learned. I have never hesitated to ask the questions no one else ever did. I searched for, and sometimes found, the unexplored angles that no one expected me to find…questioning everything and anything, yet nothing at all.
All Along the Way…I have been a disappointment to someone in my life. At times manifesting into a destroyer of all things good, a monster, blackened to its very core… its birthright: genetic. Its brood: my temper. Unbeknownst to me, it fed on decades of pain, embarrassment, and humiliation which I had cast down deep within myself, never expecting the eruption that would someday result. Fortunately, few have known it and for that I am thankful. It breaks its chains far too easily at times, furious and flailing about like the raging bull that has been taunted far too long. Seeing now only the red flag through its focused tunnel vision…it overtakes him. The Rage…so beautiful in its own way… so full of hate, vengeance, and devastation when unleashed, it allowed me to justify the solace and glory that washed over me. Finally, I WAS PERFECT in some aspect of my life and the solace and comfort that I found justice within hungered to be solely responsible for another’s fear and intimidation… I was perfect in my evil and evil perfect within me. So perfect in fact that my mind has now locked away the recollections of that perfect, cold, and callous evil, so as to spare my heart and soul the grief and unbearable burden of guilt and pain that was always my afterthought. I have been responsible for “aftermaths” but never proud or unremorseful when finally coming back unto myself and realizing the utter destruction that I was responsible for. I am capable of being a modern day “Jekyll & Hyde.” I am truly my own worst enemy beyond a shadow of a doubt, incapable of ever fully allowing this chaotic beast within me to sleep eternal. I am cursed to harbor inside me my perfect evil along with the knowledge and vivid recollections of exactly its capability… and that scares the hell out of me more than anyone can ever realize.
All Along the Way…I have always been exactly where intended, through jubilation and heartache or in judgment and justice. I have walked hand in hand with prayers gone unanswered and punishment undoubtedly deserved. I have never been anywhere on my journey that hasn’t taught me or tormented me with such unexplainable perfection than what I’ve come to expect from life…This is my journey alone to embrace...eternal and unending…It teaches me all I need to know, yet only when I am capable of its lesson…
In closing, I just wish to pay forward the few things I have been allowed to learn thus far… All Along the Way:
1) Look forward to hindsight, because it is always 20/20... You can never see anything ahead of you more clearly than when you allow your past, even if troubled and tarnished, to guide you in the here and now.
2) Think freely…without boundaries or bondage from judgment.
3) Live…in absence of fear, failure is an opportunity that finds us all.
4) Love unconditionally… and let its magic be the food which feeds your soul.
5) Question everything… no matter what the answer might be.
6) laugh out loud… even if it is only at you.
And last but not least…
7) Always seek out the Truth...and be accepting when it finds you.
If you can apply these few formalities to everyday life, I assure you that when your journey has finally concluded you will have undoubtedly filled your heart, mind, body, and soul with the greatest gift of all…Love…
All Along the Way