This morning the air is still, no wind, just silence, broken by the sound of songbirds among the trees. This is the coldest day of the year so far — Remembrance Day. This is the day we remember all the soldiers that went to war; many died, few survived. Banded together as brothers that fought in all the wars of the past and in the present, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, along with all the animals. Today I will remember, pray and meditate and mark a moment of silence at 11am.

A day of mourning and celebration, for the lives lost and battles won. For the bravery of so many men and women, so that I could live my life as it is today. The cold bites at my face and fingers, yet the sky is blue and the sun shines bright. I’ve been at war of a different kind — not of gore and blood, but of life and death. I’ve felt the pain of loneliness, fear, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually, as I’m sure millions of soldiers felt fighting the wars. I pray, in some small way that they all know how grateful I am to all of them, that I have the freedom I do today because of their sacrifice.

They must have endured coldness like today, without the warmth of jackets or blankets or the security of a warm environment. I’m still of the generation that can say I had family that fought the world wars, although they have passed on now. I draw on their strength and courage and bravery, to continue on my own personal battles with addiction and depression. Not with swords or guns, but with humility and grace. Though the mercy of God grants me one day at a time, the enemy is my own, and my ally is God.

I question that I have what it takes to continue some days, yet each passing day I survive, each morning I wake up again; I know there’s a reason I am here. Small steps forward are much better than large leaps ahead. I will be fearless in the face of the doubt, danger and judgement my mind creates. You see… I am my worst enemy. I can run and hide from people, places and things, yet there is no escaping myself. Therefore vigilance, skepticism, meditation and prayer are key. I must constantly question myself as to what I believe to be true — my sanity and sobriety surely depend upon it.

I do not fight this battle alone, as I once thought. I suffered from a condition called “Terminal Uniqueness.” I was always focused on the differences between myself and others; now I look for similarities and often find many. My mind is a vast expanse, charting as I go. Not all will be mapped before my time is up, yet what is, you will find in my writing. The adventure and mystery will never end. This is just the beginning. Most of the ugliness, the trauma, the fears and folly have been traversed — going through in order to get past.

Letting go and letting God started a while back. It’s keeping the momentum going that’s difficult to do. Experience is the best teacher of all. Trial and error; surrender brings victory, peace and serenity. Constantly fighting something no human power can accomplish is futile. I learned that lesson the hard way and bear the scars like a badge, a reminder to never make that mistake again…although I am only human and many mistakes will be made. Until I’m ready, truly ready… ‘til the pain of remaining the same outweighs the pain of change… only then will I mature and grow, gain more insight and knowledge into my foolishness and stubbornness.

I have found peace in the midst of my battlefield and will forever more be in search of more of it. All know the way — few actually walk it. I have a purpose. I am not alone and I am loved. With that I will survive, lest we forget.

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