I Understand


I understand.


I want you to know this in a powerful way.

In a deeper way.

In a way that takes you out of the foxhole you are fighting from.


I understand.


What it feels like to give it your all

To do everything in your power

To be told that it is enough

And to stumble at the finish line

You believed you were meant to reach

And in the lonely hours that follow

asking what the point is

knowing the right answer that sounds good in your head

and feeling punched in the gut regardless


I understand


Watching a loved one lose their grip on life

And seeing them hold on so tight

You hold on tight too

And then they learned how to let go

But forgot to give you that instruction manual

And like locked fingers after releasing a heavy load

You don’t know how to open up again.


I understand


Sitting and feeling paralyzed

As if the smallest task was hoisting a 300 pound weight

And the shame of feeling lazy

And unproductive

And knowing you are none of those things

And wanting the words to explain it

Feeling the need to explain it

Waiting until the feeling passes

Hiding in movie theaters

And in plain sight

until you can engage life again


I understand


When out of nowhere tears form behind your eyes

And no one else knows behind your calm stare

Is a raging river ready to burst over

And you control it

For now

Suffering through emotional incontinence

Knowing you have no control when

And a healthy fear of looking at why


I understand


The courage it takes to get of bed

And show up when every bone in your body says otherwise

when people say you are an extrovert

it means something

and when you walk slower in a hallway or sidewalk to avoid talking to someone

It means you are a bad person

Every time you say “what is wrong with me”


I understand


I am also learning

Present tense

Still figuring it out


I want you to know this in a powerful way

In a deeper way.

In a way that takes you out of the foxhole you are fighting from.


I am also learning


That the sun doesn’t really rise and fall

It’s not dramatic like that

The world just keeps on spinning

And if I stay grounded with my eyes open

I get to see and participate in life as it happens

Instead of feeling like it’s happening to me


I am also learning


To accept that I too will die

And allowing that knowledge to add value to today

Not as moments to be hoarded

But moments to be LIVED

And the more I hold on to the heavy things in life

The harder it will be to receive unanticipated blessings when they arrive

Its like that

With the moments that truly change our lives

They are not planned events

more like the wind whipping up out of nowhere

and instead of bracing yourself against it

you take a deep breathe in and feel alive again


I am also learning


Change does not arise from hiding

Or the belief no one will understand

And that tools make life easier

No one ever called the invention of the wheel a weakness

And so when I encounter a new way to ease my practice of living

That doesn’t dull and keeps me engaged in life

It’s worth a look

And that discovery will happen

In transparent conversation

With another


I am also learning


I need to cry more

And stop editing at the false bottom of release

To spend more time talking and sharing bout what lurks beneath

Not as a deepening of sadness

But an uncovering of layers

bringing it into the light

And saying out loud to every darkness that lurks,

In the immortal words from Labyrinth


“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours and my kingdom as great. You have no power over me!”


I also understand

I will fall down again

I will forget all I have learned

And maybe

When I sit clutched in fear and fury in my foxhole

You will understand

And tell me what you have learned

And this is how

We love each other

building our community

of human beings

Making each other great

And whole

2 thoughts on “I Understand

  1. Dear John,
    I have missed reading your monthly posts and insights. I find them strikingly honest and authentic in a dishonest and false world. Thank you as always for sharing and being vulnerable. This post reminds me of some reading I have done by a spiritual director Anthony de Mello who I personally draw off of titles “Awareness”. I am also in awe of your ability to make your words, rhythm and rhetoric flow. Thank you for being inspiring and a vulnerable fellow human.
    With gratitude,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for this Jillian. It means a lot that you not j my take the time to rad but also to share your feedback and words with me. I’ll have to check out Anthony as well. Have a great rest of your week 👊


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