On Belief and Surviving the Tough Times

All my long, sometimes INSANELY long 43 year life on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence I’ve believed in something. The something in question has changed at points throughout depending on where I was mentally and, to be honest? What I was smoking, and if you DON’T KNOW what I mean by that then… well heck, you don’t know me. And that’s okay because I don’t expect everyone reading this to know me or my history, despite my inclination to constantly write about it in the electronic pages of this blog that I’ve been maintaining for 100+ entries now (no sarcasm whatsoever intended).

The bottom line? I’ve ALWAYS believed in something. And my current state of belief is a synthesis of… basically everything I’ve ever believed in since I was a child, starting with my earliest days, attending the now defunct Immaculate Conception, BVM Catholic School in good ol’ J-Town, PA (booyakasha, fellow Jenkintownians. RESPECT). Were I to classify my belief system now I would say that it’s a healthy share of Roman Catholicism, mixed with a little Agnoticism and Buddahism, “What Dreams May Come,” The Force and my own, personal hot take on spirituality which, if you read the Endworld books, you know and have seen; I call it “The All” and it’s… well, just that! Everything, every reality, everywhere. Basically? My spiritual belief system is a Mutt. Kind of like my ancestry. Primarily Irish, English and Scottish allowing me to–piss poor punchline alert–always be at war with myself. Roll snare drum.

I can hear you groaning over here in my corner of this, our shared subjective reality and that’s… OKAY. Winky emoticon. Smiley face.

When times got tough–and I’ve my share of tough times over the years–I rarely lost hope. On occasion yes: I’ll admit that I did. There were moments, one in particular that involved a third floor balcony, an almost finished bottle of tequila and yet another, lost relationship that I got very, very down on myself. My own, personal version of rock bottom. But even then–as I drunkenly stared what I thought was a quick departure from this world in the eye and would have likely ended up being nothing more than a couple of broken legs–I was buoyed by… SOMETHING. The feeling of something… someONE watching over me, and assuring me like a “coldly rational” voice in my head (sound familiar, Endworld readers?) that I should not quit. That this life… this world and universe had a deeper purpose for me… a destiny. So I finished my bottle of tequila, went back inside and crashed on the floor of the little, two bedroom apartment I was sharing at the time with four other people. And FUN FACT friends, family and oft times casual readers: There is a scene in CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD that is highly reflective of this moment. You’ll know it when you see it.

Quick parenthetical aside: If you’re reading CHILDREN, I hope you’re enjoying it. And if you’re starting late/just now reading ENDWORLD – A Novel to get caught up, I hope the same. You know who you are. Yes, you. I’m looking at YOU. And smiling. Thank you.

The point, guys and gals is this: Belief helps. Believing in something can sustain you through the tough times. Whether your chosen belief is one in God, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddah or yourself/science… Whatever, don’t lose sight of it. Don’t think that what you believe in has abandoned you because he, she or it hasn’t. And if you believe in nothing? That’s cool too. I honestly have a lot of respect for people that trust in no providence but their own, their only belief in that of science and the law of it dictating everything from the tiniest, sub-cellular interaction to me, typing these words out on my phone, in my mobile WordPress app. I’ve even dabbled in it a bit myself–my oft mentioned in these blog entries, many moons ago “recovering Roman Catholic” phase–but for me? As much as I dig science there’s simply too much order in the universe on this, or any side of the proverbial wormhole of existence for me to chalk it up to a synthesis of numbers and equations. It’s the artist in me. Art recognizes art and when I look around me, I see things that must have been painted, sketched or molded by someone, ones or someTHING. Even the most universally derided areas maintain a sliver of beauty. A bean sprout, struggling up through the cracks in the sidewalk in the inner city. Or a tree, long deprived of life standing sentinel over a deserted beach in Cape May, NJ with the words “Voodoo” and “Tree” carved into either side of it’s split trunk. Yes, that was another Endworld reference. My apologies to the uninitiated.

Why am I writing this tonight? I honestly don’t know. It just felt like something I had to write. This last year plus has been a bit difficult (sarcasm, directed at the “bit” part fully intended this time) and there have been times when I have felt a tinge of abandonment. Not by my friends and family. Never them. They have been and remain blessed constants in my life that I am forever grateful for. Old friends, new friends, old friends renewed and new friends I never saw coming. But despite the inclination to lose faith and stop believing I never did. Because I know, deep down inside that everything that we go through in life, good or bad is moving us forward in a direction. Toward our purpose. Why we’re here. Call it destiny if you want. I prefer to call it “The Why.”

This week? I got to be a part of something monumental at the job I get paid consistently for, not the one I do in my free time. 10,000 hours invoiced. 10,025 to be exact, a whopping 166 of which was mine. “10K Hours” has been a constant mantra at my new place of business since I got there. It had never happened previous to this week and for the first time since I entered the world of staffing almost six years ago, I felt like a part of something… Transcendent. Monumental. When I started there I believed in what we could accomplish and we did. Belief. Not just belief in becoming a famous author which, at times, borders on imagination but belief in achieving a practical goal.

Belief drives us, folks. Whether in self or a higher power it is necessary and if I have any message to convey tonight it is this: Don’t give up. Don’t stop believing. Don’t lose faith no matter how difficult things get because there is always a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. You may not get there right away. Sh*t, I’m not there yet. But stay focused because eventually, the tough times will end and the good times will roll like you always wanted them too. I hope. I believe. And I promise.

And that? That’s it. A couple of quick shoutouts. To the Jenkintownians. Always. To God, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddah, Richard Matheson, George Lucas and everyone or thing that has contributed over time to my personal, Mutt-like system of belief, a spirituality that is always at war with itself but maintains some kind of whacked out sense to me and the characters that inhabit Endworld. To the good times AND the bad because both contribute to make us who we are. To the people who have read or are reading The Endworld Series right now (you know who you are). To the rest of my team at work for fulfilling the “10K Hours” mantra and to everyone, everywhere that has had their respective moment, standing upon a third floor balcony 10 sheets to the wind that remembered that it’s okay to despair, but you… None of us are ever alone. That believed in a better tomorrow and stumbled inside, intent to pass the f*ck out on the floor and wake up the next day, hung over as Hell and continue. Continue what? Just continue. I can neither confirm nor deny if that statement, or a version of it appears in CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD but when you get there? You’ll know it.

Goodnight, all. Have a terrific weekend. Winky emoticon? Smiley face.



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