There is no more space for you anymore.
You cannot fit, into your work, into your skin, inside your head. Its all about to fall apart. A voice in your head – your own voice – tells you you can’t hack it.
You’re a mess. You steer clear of your friends. You avoid confronting the power players at work. You avoid the trouble of an even-handed argument with your wife or your best friend or giving your neighbor the benefit of the doubt. You can’t trust the words that come out of your own mouth. You’ve lost your edge and you know it.
Everyone else knows it too, and they know you know. Its foolish to ignore this, wander blindly into this fight like a one-armed fool in an MMA classic.
If you can look in the mirror, you’ve only got couple options left. You’re not the vision of power, maybe you never were. Your eyes droop down in black shades, mirroring your gut, a sign of the stress you’ve put up with far too long. Your arms hang limp at your side, your shoulders slumped. Greatness escaped out of the bag a long time ago. You chalk it up to DNA and the 21st century, perhaps a lack of money or knowing the right people.
Its suicide, or the nuclear option. What’s the nuclear option? You know, the one that risks the whole strategy on a move you’ve never seen before. No one else has either, that’s why its scares you out of your skin.
Why does suicide seem like a safer option? I’m not talking about the disease – this is very real and if this is you then you need help FAST.
But some of us have some very flirtatious thoughts with her. She feels safer in spades than the nuclear option because she’s a prostitute – she doesn’t require anything more from you, she asks for a handful of pocket change and a sideways glance. She doesn’t require you to CHANGE.
Has it always been this way? You remember a time when you felt…strong. Powerful. You were growing, stretching for the stars. You weren’t tired, you were happy. You were angry, but you indulged in playmaking, you trained as a warrior in your own way.
Or maybe you were full of FEAR. You never had enough, were never noticed or given or paid attention to. Life is defined by the amount of struggle and heartache that must be put up with.
You aren’t kidding yourself either. Those were harsh years, harsh like the first few winters for a young fawn. One grows quickly or dies in spades, a shriveled shell, a walking ghost, a scared peasant.
So you stretched, submitted yourself to pain and fire-walked among the mortals. It was your chosen testing, and you gladly suffered the consequences. Or your didn’t, and you shrunk back at every turn, counting on your own wise voice to guide you.
What you did not count on was the testing that Someone else would chose for you. It was always present, in a way fathers surprise their young sons. You did not expect these curveballs and you did not like most of them. They made you angry if you admit it. They give you rage if you think about it too long.
We’re taught to manage risk like a fund manager picks stocks – carefully and strategically.
You were challenged again. This time it was different, because this time you’re beyond flirting with her. You’re planning an adulterous indulgence a one-night stand from which there is no return.
Now’s the time to strike, now when the enemy is strongest and you are weakest. Now you can see that you would never defeat this one on your own, that the battle must come and the man must be made. Always, until the day you are ready to reign as a king among kings.
Let me leave off any shadow of doubt for you. You aren’t meant to grovel in the sand with blood in your mouth, saliva pouring over fresh wounds and gravel ground into your twisted back.
Stand up with that blood in your mouth. You have a champion behind you that cannot lose. Fight because you KNOW you will win, the battle has already been decided by One greater than you. You will not go away quietly, but with the roars of victory and the songs of peace.
Pull the 18-wheeler off the tar and into that 2-track on the right. Take the gamble, leave your grassy watering hole and hustle the ridge on a hunch for those elk. Throw open the topsail and strain another mile, while strong winds caution the hair on your neck.
Decide you’re done with whatever agony that job brings. Gracefully cut off the poisonous friend. Spend your precious Saturday with someone who has problems greater than your own.
Or, if you have the opposite bend, stick it out while your veins bulge and your eyes pop out, wait until your inner storm has passed and clearer thoughts prevail. You aren’t your status quo anymore.
You were called, but did you know it? It didn’t feel like a calling.
You were always told getting your teeth kicked in was the ultimate rejection. YOU HAD IT ALL WRONG.
Sons are accepted with rituals like these. Warriors rise with scars, new wisdom and never say die. Forget what you think you know. Throw yourself into the chaos. If you love chaos, throw yourself into your wife’s order, for that may be chaos enough for you.
Stop kidding yourself, YOU WILL NEVER GROW in the place where you have it your way.
You never have it your way on the battlefield, not until the fight is over. If you’re all in, then victory is yours, live or die. If you’re just showing up, there’s no victory winning can buy you. The taste of triumph is for the bold and faithful. A timid heart will never find it, or find the joy of ultimate sacrifice for a greater cause.
Who can be the judge of whether you lived in greatness, risking at each new turn, fanning the flames of passion and obedience, the crown of kings?
You are not your own answer. You are not your own judge. Someone else is. Someone whose kingship predates your line, your horizon, your world.
Don’t kid yourself. You still know. To ignore this is to climb back into that safe hollow the way a snake slithers back into his slimy den.
This why you are tested through your sweat, through grimy effort like some flailing peasant. This one is firm in his convictions, too stupid to know this isn’t his place. He dares greatly and finds a place among his fellows that rivals the greatest king. This is how he knows.