This is almost a post with no direction, no goals, and potentially no message at the end. This borders on the most therapeutic writing I’ve ever done, and somewhat strives to show that there is power in vulnerability. I feel like I’ve had a post bouncing around in my head for the last month, along with a million other things, but could never find the clarity to confine it to one point or meaning.
I went to my knees last night over my bedside to pray my nightly requests and gratitude. I don’t typically take to my knees, but I felt the need to last night for some reason. I started my 3-5 minute routine the same way as always, asking for safety, asking for God to continue to bless our family.
I ask God to take care of those who aren’t as fortunate as I, those who are fighting for their lives in a hospital bed, those who are fighting the uncertainties of chronic illness, those who can’t walk or talk or see or hear or communicate effectively, those who aren’t mobile on their own. I also ask for God to enable these people to use the light and blessings that He has given them and their families to shine a light on the world.
I get thankful – I thank God for the day, for the food on my table and the roof over my head. I thank Him for the people He’s given me, the talents and abilities, the people He’s surrounded me with. Then last night, I got to thanking Him for the struggle – and it was in that moment that I dismantled. It felt like weeks, months, maybe even years of emotion absolutely unleashed. I started to repeat that I do not understand, tears puddling on my sheets.
Why was that the buzz word? … struggle.
Struggle was a word we had talked about just one night prior in my in-house Bible study. Our leader Mirv asked us, “Within the last 2-3 years, what is the biggest struggle God has given you and why?” There were a few seconds of silence until I just couldn’t help but spill what was on my mind.
I said, it’s been constant. There is not one event, but rather almost consistent sense of struggle and adversity, and I don’t know why. I’ve been seeking to understand, and I can’t. I told the group that within the last 3.5 years I had been diagnosed with Type 1; went to college two months early and lost the head coach I signed to play for; didn’t get along with the new coach that was hired and didn’t enjoy baseball anymore; fell out of touch with people in my life; decided to transfer schools; got hit with the entire Covid pandemic; got two cortisone shots in my back that summer; came into a new school and didn’t play well to start; lost an almost four year on-and-off relationship; pulled both hamstrings; dealt with mental health changes; broke my arm; and feel now like I’m losing valuable people again.
I continued to say that I know that God gives us adversity to remind us that we are not the ones in control. I’ve been taught that. I understand that God doesn’t owe us any answers as to where He is and when and why. I’ve been taught that, too. I seek to understand these messages that He gives us, and I have enough understanding to share them in my writing, but when does it stop? When does it all just stop?
And then I just sat there, almost out of breath, in front of people who probably never had a clue about what weighs on me. Nobody ever has a clue, and I prefer it that way, that’s how I carry myself and that’s what drives me. I have never been a ‘why me?’ person, I don’t seek sympathy, I’ve showed you that in everything I’ve ever written. But to think that I have everything in my life figured out couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s all on this website, just go look at it. Nothing is a façade, nothing is hidden, nothing is inauthentic. The difference now in this post is that I don’t have any answers, I don’t have any message, I only have what has happened and a thousand questions to go with it.
Just in taking a look at the last ten days, there’s been a whirlwind of emotion. My parents both came down with Covid in the week leading up to my younger brother’s surgery last Friday. Kyle, my brother, came down to live with my roommate Jack and I for the week. That was one of the most touching set of days I have been through recently. Seeing those two interact was not only hilarious, but extremely refreshing. It put the cap on a rather unbelievable two years with Jack as a roommate, which is the hard part.
Jack is a winner in almost everything he did, and still does. I think we learned a lot of that from each other, but hearing him talk about different aspects of life and his realizations was a blessing. I’ll never forget what he said in a Bible study conversation about three weeks ago talking about tough love, saying “If I’m not helping Bryce be better, then that’s me not loving him, and if I was hard on him, that’s just me loving him, trying to see if he can get better as a person.” I’ll also never forget this:
“Man, I’m trying to get like you guys… you both are just winners.”
That’s what my brother said to us after sitting and listening to us reflect on all that we have done, what we believe in, and why. Rather routine conversation for us, but this time with another set of ears. That to me was more impactful and emotional than anything Jack or I could ever do on a baseball field. That was gold, that was validation, that was one of the best moments ever. But, that’s also what’s lost moving forward.
There’s increasing doubt that Jack returns, which is how this college baseball thing can work, but it doesn’t make anything any easier. He left town last Thursday.
I took Kyle into his surgery on Friday morning, which went well, and took care of him into the next morning. I had zero problem with doing any of that, that’s what family is here for – but I witnessed his spirit, energy, and fun love from the week before diminish first hand. I also was reminded of the position that I was in after my own surgery just weeks before. Both difficult. All the while that Friday, there was another feeling of something incredibly stable cracking at the foundations right under my feet.
Friday brought a pause to a powerful, positive, empowering, loyal, fun relationship. Not one bad moment. A bond that I had kept secluded and personal for almost a year now. Halted by external circumstances far from our control, and that’s again the hard part. I’ve been lead to trust what’s going on because she’s another likeminded winner of a person that I believe in. Even still, with nothing but the right intent behind a break at heart, you just never know what discoveries time uncovers, and how long those discoveries take to find. That’s where I find the most anxiety in it all. There’s nobody to be upset with or anything to be angry about, there’s just an anxious longing for trust that I don’t innately have, and a yearning for answers that only a discouraged imagination can negatively provide. It’s hard to remember that love prevails when it’s not right in front of you.
That’s where these struggles come from. I have such a drive and desire, such strong goals and intentions, that I see everything my way on my timeline. I know what I want and who I want around me to accomplish those things with. I know that when I go through adversity, I need people to lean on. I can’t understand a perspective that thinks differently than that… yet. Maybe that’s the point here, I just don’t know how to learn and enact it… yet.
I’ve been so clouded and preoccupied with the anxiety that comes with losing my main two daily confidants for right now that I haven’t been able to see the message. On top of being another month away from restriction-free baseball activity, I just feel bottled up without an outlet. There are silver linings in the clouds somewhere, too. There always are, and I’m appreciative of that. I’ve just asked God to please make them more apparent right now, or whenever He deems is time. Everything that is supposed to happen will happen.
Maybe you’re feeling this way, too. Maybe you’ve felt this way before. Maybe you carry the message that I’m searching for.
I am not defeated, I am not giving up, I am not defined by heartache. There is power in vulnerability that we can all learn from, and I’m okay with sharing my experiences.
It’s a difficult sensation to put so much work and sacrifice into baseball, hobbies, relationships, or whatever else and not feel the satisfaction of what you give paying off… especially due to circumstances out of your control. Yet, the biggest thing I told Mirv the other night after expressing all I’ve been through was, “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
I believe that through every one of these seemingly constant struggles, I’ve learned something valuable. I believe the people in my life are here for a reason. I believe that I need people, and that people need me, too. I believe that is what life is all about, that’s why I write like this. Life is too hard to go through alone. We learn that through our experiences and differing perspectives.
I am thankful for my family and friends more than they’d ever know. Those are extremely powerful and lasting relationships in my life, but none of them know exactly what weight my mind carries, and none of them have God’s answers either.
The only thing I fully understand right now is that I do not understand at all. And that is okay. I’ll share whatever I find when it comes. I’ll be on my knees tonight searching in prayer once again.
Love, with a heart of gold,