By Richard E. Bleil, Ph.D.
Did you ever read the Bible?
Don’t worry, it’s not THAT kind of post. But, seriously, when I read the Bible, there are things that I just don’t understand. Like the word “forever”. When I think of forever, I think it means, well…forever, but, apparently, in the Bible, forever is a much shorter time.
Take King Solomon’s temple. King Solomon, the wisest of all men, built within his castle a temple, a house for God, of mammoth proportions, that would, according to the Bible, last forever. Then, the Hitites (if I’m recalling correctly) attacked, enslaved the people, and destroyed the temple that would last forever.
The people were enslaved for a very long time. And, it occurred to me that, they must have lost everything, including their holy scriptures. But, eventually, they would return to their lands, and rebuild. So, maybe, just maybe, the “temple” to which the Bible referred was not the physical temple that king Solomon built, but the temple that the people carried with them in their hearts.
I built my temple. I was a tenured full professor of chemistry, had my own business, had my health, had a good income, had a home, had a new wife, I had it all and it would last FOREVER!
Less than a year later, I had left my job, my business failed, my wife left me, my savings had dried up, I was living in a dilapidated house through the winter with no heat and no hot water, could only afford to eat maybe once every two or three days, had a severe heart attack, my mother had died, and even my dog passed on. And there I found myself, standing in the rubble of what was once my mighty temple, unsure if I could ever rebuild, or how to even begin.
But, through the difficult times, and even in moments of severe depression and stress, I never lost faith. I’m not sure that I can tell you how, but I did believe in myself, my abilities, and yes, in God (again, this is not a religious piece, but personally am very spiritual although I do not belong to a church or religion). Even angry, broken, and downtrodden, that faith helped me to carry on. And, frankly, I have had an amazing series of successes, and sadly, failures since. I was the director of a forensic lab, and a dean, and now I’m again drifting. But, I know things will work out, although I don’t know how.
The rebuilding is a slow, painful, difficult process. It is hard to let go of things of the past, especially at night when the demons of my failures come to torture me as I lay awake in bed wishing for sleep, or worse, in my dreams where i get to relive them. Today, I’m again adrift, with more demons from new failures than ever before. But, I’m continuing to keep the faith, as evidenced by this blog.
Maybe you are going through a difficult time. Maybe you’re recently divorced (or some equivalent), lost a Loved one, perhaps you’re unemployed, or homeless. At these times, it can feel as if you’re the only one suffering, which adds to the loneliness. I know. I’ve been there. I’m back there now. But, there is only one “you”. Those who have abandoned me may have found somebody to take my place, but they cannot replace me, because I’m the only me there is, just as you are the only you.
Keep the faith. You’re not alone.