Friday, December 30, 2005 we see Chad...a lifetime away from the homeless beggar he is today...
...a couple of months ago, he approached me at Chevron. I was pumping gas, and he just appeared out of nowhere.

He didn't remember me from the prior encounter we had had at Safeway. And, as before, he hit me with the, "any spare change," grumble. He was monotone...his eyes looked tired...his face was dirty...his demeanor: broken.

I definately remembered I had the intense realization of myself being a total dumbshit cemented with his face.

I looked at him for a nanosecond and exclaimed, "I can't believe you! I already gave you my favorite rock!" And he actually physically reacted to my if I was hurling a flaming dart in his direction. He then squinted at me, thought about it, and slowly smiled, "Hey, I love that rock!" And we laughed.

I again mentioned different programs near by...and he again walked away waving one hand, and shaking his head.

When I got into the car, a friend of mine said, "Hey, I know that guy."

And I was all, "What? Did he hit you up, too?"

And he's all, "No. He was on the 2002 U.S. Postal Team."

And I'm all, "What?! No, come on."

And he's all, "No. I'm full on serious. That guy was #2 in the nation."

And I'm thinkin that since my friend is some huge bicycle enthusiast, he's projecting cycling onto everyone and everything he encounters.

So we go back to my place and look up the team. Hard to tell who's who. So...the matter dies.

Until last week.

I'm walking, head down against the pelting raindrops, into Safeway. And there's Chad.

Lonnnnnnnng time no see. And he does the schpiel. And I looked at him.

I had forgotten all about him...and the rock incident...and all that...and I said, "Dude. Were you a cyclist?"

And he appears ashamed, head down, swiping the pavement with one foot. He barely raises his head, with one eye open as the rain hits his face, "yeah."

Then he bursts into a volley of coughs. "I've been real sick."

And I said, in my motherly tone, as I neared the store,"When are you gonna stop doing this? You need to get back to cycling. My friend recognized you...he said you're famous. What's your last name? I'm gonna look you up."

I was walking into Safeway when our conversation was put on hold. I thought he'd be long gone by the time I exited that place, some 45 minutes later.

From behind a building pillar, he emerges, singing... "I love myself better than you, know it's wrong...what can I do?"

I was suspended in this moment.

Cobain. The truth in his lyrics...these lyrics...and Chad is not a lost cause. This guy.

Being enslaved to drugs. Hating yourself for being your own worst enemy...yet fighting so hard to have a life. The depression, the desperation...the fucking questions and judgement from people.

My exact conclusion to the judgement I receive from people is this:

Until someone walks in my shoes, with my exact past, present and future...the pressures, the struggles, the emotions...then, fucking judge me not.

And, your evaluation, opinion, and declaration of me holds no weight, as I am not subjecting myself to your evaluation, opinion, and declaration. If I want input, I'll raise my hand.

No one knows another person's exact struggles and conflicts better than that person. External behavior and decisions aren't necessarily an indication of a person's nature, character, or lack thereof. Sometimes, a person's outward behavior, and external appearance, are more of a symptom. A symptom of an underlying condition...drug and alcohol induced, or otherwise...a tenable symptom, nonetheless.

In which, judgement is never a solution. As it is almost always uninformed, unfair, and unjust.

There is One Judge. And none of us are Him.

So. In this season of giving, and thankfulness, and all that...I am reminded of my fellow humans.
Those who's "light," at the end of their tunnel, is merely an oncoming train...

I am grateful for the experiences in my life, which have enabled me to fully understand their struggle. And it's fucking hell. Selfish, arrogant, irresponsible...yes...but also a trap, a snare, and a continual ripping on the heart and such an extent, death seems the only peace available.

Not suprising so many find their escape there...

I stood looking at Chad. I began to gently nod, "Cobain." I whispered. He nodded and softly spoke, "I miss him."

For me, life took such a hard, deep dive. I was in a pit I thought I could never escape. And, hardship after hardship...trial after trial...I began to slowly climb out of that abyss. (No, I wasn't all into crack.) (sheesh.) point...(yes, I have a point.) some point, the tide had turned.

Life and relationships began to just flow. Accomplishment were continuous, and peace prevailed.

I was telling a freind of mine that I really missed the way life used to be. That, somehow, even in the hardest struggles, I enjoyed believing "it would all be okay, someday." And, it's like, today has become "someday,"...and it's hard to look forward to things being "better," when things are actually quite great.
It's hard to have hope in something, when it's right here in front of you.
I explained that, it seems like when everything in your life is going perfect, it's unnerving. It seems like the bottom is going to fall out any moment.
Sad...I understand. Sad...doesn't cause me worry...'cause it's about as bad as it's going to get...and there is always reason to hope. But when everything is going's hella unnerving...I'm so much more comfortable with sad...

His response to me was, "It's like that Cobain lyric. 'I miss the comfort in being sad.'"

And, it's true.
Even in the most extreme moments of grief, sorrow, and sadness---somehow I knew, without wavering---that I had a reason to hope. I knew, to the depths of my marrow, that if I continued to do the right things, to endure in doing my best, and to persevere in excellence---despite my obstacles---that it would pay off. I knew that someday I would no longer be bound by the downfall of my foolish decisions---but I would bask in the glow of my dedication to the "higher road." The "harder" road.
The slippery slope up out of the pit.
When you're in the pit...only 2 choices. Give up, or, simply: up.

Giving up is merely inviting death. And, death is the fucking easiest choice. By far, the simplist. But, it involves DYING. And, if DYING isn't really what you are into (as it's permanent...) then, I would strongly suggest, sleep it off...or seek therapy.

To live through the fucking mess of a fucked up life...ah, man, not for the faint of heart. Having to own up to your shit, admit to your wrongs, consciously separate yourself from the self destructive mindset and the "fuck it all," mentality.

All I can say is: focus, motherfucker. It's do-able.

Stop being the fucking victim and toe up to the challenges life throws at you. And one more thing: IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU. Grow the fuck up. Forgive others. Forgive yourself.

I guess it's all about emotional maturity, mental stability, coping mechanisms...and all that shit.

But, when you've lived for an extensive period of time steeped in intense sadness and sorrow, even tinged with hope,the silence of it's departure can be quite loud.

For me, there is no sadness without hope.

I leaned toward Chad and said, "I miss the comfort of being sad." He looked out toward the falling rain, and barely spoke, "I'm sad all the time." And, just like that...he walked away...into the rain...

This kid. He's on my heart and in my prayers. His life, his choices. But that doesn't mean I can't care. I can't help but care. And I hate that I can't impart to him what I've learned. Save him from the torture, from the desperation...the loneliness and hopelessness...

But truths this deep only come to those who live through them.

And I forget
Just what it takes
And yet I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard
Its hard to find
Oh well, whatever, nevermind...