What I Have Learned From Life … So Far …

All human beings are driven by a desire to be secure.  This is a simple truth but one that often eludes us later in life after we have layered ourselves with the protective armor of perception.   The newborn comes into this life completely defenseless and is soon consumed with learning how to survive.   Her first concept of love is shaped by her need to feel secure and if she is deprived of that feeling, she is unlikely to survive.  In adolescence, we are introduced to inexplicable feelings of attraction which scientists now tell us are actually chemical in nature.   And, a good part of our youth and often adulthood is consumed with our attempt to reconcile these feelings.

I have discovered that there are basically three types of people in life.  

First, there are those who seek security by building walls about themselves.   These walls are often quite elaborate and expand to include others.   This is why people take such comfort in having a family, or an extended community such as that enjoyed in belonging to a church or social group.  At times, this wall extends to include entire economic orders of people that we refer to as a “class”.     Creating a wall of security requires that one never question what could be found on the other side of the wall.    Sometimes, people do venture outside, but when they return, (if they do return), they often discover that those inside the wall are disturbed by any tales of a world beyond as anything but evil and to be avoided.   If life exists beyond the walls, those within do not control its order and that is frightening.
Second, there are those who for whatever reason cannot avoid seeing beyond the walls of their youth and eventually venture out.   These people take a feeling of security with them in a belief they can be in control of any situation.   Or, they may just realize that the walls are at best an illusion and that their only hope of realizing comfort is to venture outside.   But, the crush of life’s events can be overwhelming.   The pain is often unbearable.   And, after a while, these people will seek to find a wall.   They may return to the comfort of a wall they have known or one they have found in their travels.   They may create their own wall close about them to support a belief, however ridiculous, in their power.

Third, there is the addict who simply grabs onto whatever drug or device she can to eliminate her pain and fear.   The device can create a wall.   I have heard heroin does that wonderfully.   Or, it can bring feelings of great power.   I have seen how alcohol does that.   In either case, the addict will have to feed himself with the device of his addiction to avoid his pain and fear.   If he stops, he will have to find a wall.   Unfortunately, if he has been an addict for long, he likely will not have the skill or strength to create a wall and those who already have a wall created won’t want him within. 

There is a fourth type of person, one that evolves out of the other three.   One that I do not know and have only traveled with on rare occasion.   It is the person who journeys this world comfortable in the realization that we are not safe and that eventually we will die.  

I am not that person but I know I cannot become that person living behind a wall.  And, I won’t be able to journey through life at all unless I can embrace my fear, instead of denying it, as I move on.

In the words of James Joyce,

"Welcome, O life!  I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race....Old father, old articifer, stand me now and ever in good stead.”

survivedabuse survivedabuse
Feb 13, 2009