My friend Jesse and I were talking yesterday about youthful choices and failure. He was telling me that, upon reflection, he felt he was not kind and loving enough to people in his life when he was younger. I guess we were talking about most Baby Boomers in our comparisons of the qualities we now know to be important, and the ones we ignored as kids.
It seems that the story of Redemption is an essential component of our human experience. We base many religions upon it, and we find it easily in many narratives of the lives of our friends.
Jesse had a very rough childhood. He had abusive and neglectful adoptive parents, lonely days and nights, and few examples of love and compassion. He sought answers, because at his core he is a seeker. What he found as a young man often disappointed and confused him. He carried on, married, had children, divorced, travelled, and kept looking for answers to big questions. For a long time, his life was unfulfilled and without purpose.
Then Jesse got lucky. The stars aligned, things fell into place, and he found some answers. He discovered a philosophy that made sense to him, and met a woman that brought him Love and Family. He worked hard, and built up a lucrative business. He connected with biological relatives, and developed happy relationships with them.
Now was this really Luck? Or did he make it happen? I say, the latter. I think his story is full of determination, sweat, struggle, tears, and joy. It’s the story of the Phoenix, rising up from the ashes. It’s that reclamation of meaning and cause and intention.
I have known Jesse since 1976, as is evidenced by the photo of us above. We have been friends since we met in Cambridge long ago.
From my perspective, my friend Jesse is a success. He could have chosen resentment, hatred, and revenge, based on his childhood models. Instead, he chose Life, Love, and demonstrating Good. We can prevail over darkness. I have seen it happen.
You might have been lost somewhere down the line long ago, Jesse. But you found your Way.