Have you ever believed in something so compelling you invested your entire soul? I mean that deep-down-in-your-heart level of belief that is unshakably a part of how you see the world? It becomes a basic precept on which you evaluate the world. It becomes a foundation on which you build your life. It becomes an intrinsic part of who you are.
Then one day you discover it was all based on a lie. The reality that shaped the circumstances and decisions that led you up to the place life finds you today has all been based on lie after lie after lie after lie. What do you hold on to?
I'll tell you what you hold on to. You hold on to you. To the truth you know about yourself. You can't control what other people do; you can only control your response to what they do. But that doesn't mean you don't have power or control, because the greatest power and control a person can have is personal empowerment and self-control. These two things will take you right out of that bad place the lies deposited you.
I know I should have said something about God and how God sees you through. But isn't that exactly what I'm saying? It isn't the lofty God way up in Heaven looking down benevolently that has impact on a person's life. It is the internalized truths about what is good and right and noble and honorable that really make a difference. And in the hard moments when the very earth seems to be shifting under your feet, these are the things that you hold on to. These are the things that matter.
I traveled for a time in a place of smoke and mirrors, but now I have escaped, finding to my utter delight that there is a place where the sun does shine and good things happen and my day is not dictated by the anxious trepidation of what a phone call can bring.
Here's the last word on this subject, my people: it's not the places you've traveled that define who you are, it is how you conducted yourself on the road. I can look back and say that even though I gave myself to something that was entirely false, I was true to my own standard of what was required of me, what I knew in my heart was right to give. I gave love and honesty and openness and fidelity and truth in everything I did.
It is not me who failed, it was the object of my affection.
I don't have trouble sleeping at night. Anymore.