Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Recently I blogged about a woman and her son seeking help and standing me up on multiple occasions to help tutor via video conference. I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t post that, on the same day, a former student of mine (now social media friend) sent me a text message saying, “Thanks for sharing your story over the years, by the way. It’s taught me a lot about remaining humble and being thankful.”
My regular readers know I’ve hit a patch of bad luck for the past, oh, lifetime or so. Okay, not really, but it’s been a couple of years. I wish I could blame somebody else for it, but I can’t. The streak of bad luck has been kind of feeding on itself. As things began going bad, it triggered a rather severe depressive episode, making it difficult to keep going. But, I did; I sent out, quite literally, thousands of applications, the effort leading to four interviews and no job offers. Not a great return on the work, leading to extend and deepen the depression. The lack of income of course ate into what little savings and resources I had, which, of course, led to a loss of property such as when my car was repossessed. This extended and deepened the depression even more, and so on, and so on, and so on.
Yes, I’ve survived, but largely thanks to the efforts of my friends who have ensured that I have a roof over my head and food in my system. It’s intriguing to me that the people who have opened their hearts and their homes to me are not those people with whom I have felt the strongest connection, and this has truly been a blessing. While I’ve always thought highly of these individuals, living with them has given me the opportunity to get to know each of them better, to understand their worlds more deeply, and I have come to love them completely as a result. Each has their own struggles, their own problems, and a generosity that I can only hope to emulate. I quite literally owe each of them my life, as I would not be sure where I would be without them. More than appreciation of what they have done for me, though, I’ve seen a side of them, and forged a friendship with them that I probably would not have been able to do were I not in the pitiable situation that I find myself.
But it’s a struggle. Throughout it all, though, I have realized that I am not alone. Many people share struggles, some of the same struggles, and some that I cannot begin to imagine. I made the decision, early on, to be open and vulnerable. I’ve shared my story through these blogs, on my social media page and wherever else it might be appropriate, not because I want pity but because I want others struggling to know that they are not alone. My situation might be more severe than some, but I can guarantee that there are those who are worse off than I. While some days are more difficult than others, I try to maintain my faith that things will get better, and happy for what I do have, mostly, my friends.
Faith is an interesting idea in a situation like mine. No, I’m not going to compare myself to Job, but I think it is easy to lose faith, or at least lose sight of it, when things are going wrong, but I can tell you that there have been times that faith was the only thing that I still had. I truly believe that faith is key in finding the path back, because without faith there is no motivation to try to find that path. And I’m not necessarily suggesting faith in God because I know that belief is a highly personal topic, but at least faith in yourself. For me, I personally believe that faith in myself in inseparable from my faith in God, because I believe that the very talents, abilities and skills that have brought me where I have gone that I have faith to help me come back are those same talents, abilities and skills that God has given to me. You don’t have to agree, but at least keep faith in yourself when you are struggling.
I’ve been hoping that my openness has been of benefit to at least some people, but I often feel like I’m whining more than helping. My intention is not, and never has been, to whine. Life is what it is, and I take personal responsibility for my own situation. And when I finally find that bend in the road, I’ll be grateful for having reached it.
These words from my friend mean the world to me. I don’t know if he reads my blog, or if he’s referring to my posts on social media or both, but reading them I’ve come to realize that, for him, sharing my story has had the effect I hoped, at least for him. This doesn’t necessarily mean that many would agree with him, but for this one person, I feel as if I’ve made a difference. That is an incredible feeling and will keep me going for quite some time.