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  • Andre Lamartin

Reflections For the Road

While probably true that we learn more from defeat than victory, it still is a painful education we should try to avoid if possible. Failing to accomplish a goal so diligently set can be the cause of great personal consternation, significant soul searching, and searing spiritual pain. Even at the personal expense of many other pressing obligations, updating this journal was a habit I tried to cultivate despite the many contretemps of life. When there is so much to be said, but so little desire to do so, one can only wonder why silence becomes such a welcoming refuge for the weary.

Avoiding unnecessary exposure is what silences words that would otherwise sprout to life on every page. When lying becomes the number one choice of professional occupation for so many across the world, being sincerely committed to the truth sometimes invites only the worst kind of abuse. Many take an avid interest in other people's lives only to relish the opportunity of attacking them out of personal spite and caustic envy. Being quick to judge solely based on a cursory understanding of another human being is much more prevalent than most would admit. Those who earn a living by lying are simply offended by the truth because sincerity brings into question their very reason for being. Much more than a natural proclivity, deception has become a way of life for many. To avoid being deceived by false appearances, Christians are taught to refrain from passing judgement. What a shame this should be a minority view.

Much to the chagrin of the cynical, these pages are only valued as an avenue of inspired self-expression, not baseless self-promotion. Writing is only meant to preserve valued memories, thoughts, and feelings for posterity, leading perhaps to greater maturity and personal growth, not as a conduit for false advertising, the manipulative sale of products, or self-serving merchandizing. Only a fragile ego would use his available spare time to convince others of his self-professed success. True accomplishment speaks for itself, requiring no translation for those who respect the many humbling lessons of time. If the path of mystery truly leads inwards, as some philosophers have said, there is much to be learned from respecting time while deciphering one´s personal history.

The wise learn from their personal history by not repeating the mistakes of the past, while fools ignore its many lessons at their own personal expense and regret. Having a healthy respect for the passage of time can certainly change our perspective of life, as historians are hardly the only ones to study the past in hopes of understanding the present. The roads travelled in life define whom we are and being mindful of our past choices can certainly help us maintain a proper perspective. This is a reminder of how we reached our current destination, as well as a signpost of future ones. If deception for the purpose of self-promotion is the only original intent in professing to explore the depths of the human condition, there is little that the stories of our lives can ever teach us.

All of this explains my protracted silence during the most recent periods of my life. Although the desire to write was always present, the ability to process reality came into question. Sometimes openly speaking our minds only provides our enemies with the necessary ammunition to one day silence us using our own words. But aside from the caustic envy of those who take an avid interest in our lives only to debase what they cannot understand, a major existential transition was also in progress. Updating this journal then became a burden too ponderous to bear, calling into question the importance of conveying to paper my latest thoughts. While traversing one of life´s most important transitional moments, it seemed premature to make any considerations before having the requisite time and breadth of perspective to do so.

Perhaps as the story of our lives is written, not every page is of equal value. Some pages are considerably more memorable, signaling the end of a difficult chapter or the start of a new hopeful one. These are transitional moments, sometimes arriving with no warning, sometimes expected with due care. They are disconcerting interludes between a close, tangible past and a distant, protean future, one still taking discernible shape before our eyes. These transitional moments may involve traveling to a distant land or traveling to a new destination within ourselves. Whichever the case may be, a respect for time and breadth of perspective are always required before the true significance of these transitional moments can be properly understood.

While currently in the process of relocating and changing professions, it should come as no surprise that one such transitional moment has dawned on me. But while trying to move forward, the need to first recede a few steps back first presented itself. Having decided to prioritize my physical and spiritual well-being above all professional considerations, the requisite time will now be taken to regain my physical form while preserving the spiritual peace so characteristic of the Christian way of life. The concomitant goal is to resume writing regularly as a matter of personal habit, but whether this proves tenable remains to be seen.

There is a ravenous world out that there that now seems to openly conspire against my every dream and continued chance of success. The bitter envy so many nurtured for all I once deemed to be a trivial part of daily, mundane, human existence made me consider taking refuge in silence, as so many others have before. The envious try to destroy the object of their unspoken desire only to preserve their feeble sense of self-esteem. But when envy fails to destroy the envious, it may very well destroy the object of its unconfessed admiration. Tragically, those of us who least understand envy are the ones most likely to be attacked by it. Going forward, writing openly about life as it unfolds may only seem to invite further wanton abuse. Perhaps the only upside of taking significant punishment in life is gaining the requisite spiritual fortitude to absorb blows that would otherwise fell weaker beings.

When there is so much to be said, and such a great desire to do so, one should never accept numbing silence as a craven refuge for the weary. Having a sincere commitment to understanding the truth of one´s life will certainly strengthen our spirit. Although becoming stronger than before is certainly not an easy task, being preemptively scared of the opposition is to concede defeat even before the war has commenced. Learning that a short-lived defeat has only been a temporary imposition dictated by circumstances well beyond my control, the education once afforded by past victories is what guarantees the resumption of my journey towards a peaceful, more welcoming future. If only one certainty can be had, the starting point of every challenging journey is the belief that the final destination is a drastic improvement on the current one. Only this hope justifies traveling down the sometimes torturous and seemingly endless road leading towards redemption. As we travel headlong into the future, only this hope justifies saving these reflections for the road.


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