What I Learned This Year, by Chad Evans
I began this year in completely different shoes than the ending of it. I had a great job and was looking forward to finally getting some debts paid off and saving a good chunk of money, knowing that I had a 4,000 dollar tax return coming. I felt like my addiction and my past were starting to fade away into the sunset and that I was on my way to huge financial success and one day a huge leadership role in the company I worked for. However, I was reminded of just how fragile financial and professional security often is in these days of “The Great Recession”. I was demoted out of lack of need for my specialty to telephone sales. I was disappointed, but the company was struggling. Eventually I was laid off. I used the tax return to pay bills and to live off. Soon, I was moving my family into Dad’s to live with him, Mandi and her kids. I was pretty down on myself and my lack of confidence eventually pushed my addiction back to the surface where I was too weak to fight back or get help. I fell hard, and nearly brought my family down with me. I developed a terrible self-image of myself as a father, husband, son, brother, and overall person. I emerged from the depths of that despair thanks to my family all doing a difficult thing with the DCFS—something that hurt me badly at the time, but something that I badly needed to get sober and regain some direction in my life. I feel good about myself and my approach to life, however I admit that daily I am scared crap less about finances. I get so stressed out about it that it consumes me at times. I am hoping this year will bring me a stable job and that I will be able to pay the bills. That is all I want right now. It is what I think about most of the time. However, it is the challenging times in life that we learn the most, and I have learned a lot this year. I’m sure I don’t even know all I have learned, but will someday. But here are some things I have come to know……
First, I learned and believe, and try to live each day with the approach that almost everyone on the this Earth has good intentions in everything they do. I feel that looking at life this way helps me avoid judging people, developing grudges, and helps me see the beauty of those around me and ignore the negative traits that we all have. I am really tired of being critical of others. Especially during times like these, when we all have enough to deal with, the last thing we need is people being critical of each other. I know that at times criticism is good, and don’t want to give the impression that it should not be a part of any relationship. But right now many people are fighting for their lives in one way or the other. I have been critical and judgmental of other people. On these occasions I acted selfishly and often hypocritically. I have learned that there is a positive way of giving others feedback if they have done something that has wronged me, or someone else—or acted in a negative way. Just as important as the delivery of criticism is the timing. I have made it a habit to seek amends with those I have judged or been critical of. I don’t want to be that person. I want to be blinded to human flaw and see only the beauty of each soul. This might sound idealistic, but I don’t think it is. I know for a fact that everyone would be happier if we all tried harder to understand each other than to look for something about one another to complain about or judge. I feel lucky to have the people in my life I do now. I want to help build them up, not tear them down. The world and life is cruel enough. I don’t want a part of that cruelty. I feel lucky to have many people in my life that share this approach.
Second, I have learned that sometimes things don’t happen for a reason at all. They just happen and we will never know why. I used to think opposite and believed that God controlled each and every thing in the universe. I don’t know why but I don’t buy that anymore. I believe we are here for a reason, but things just happen and we have to deal with them, bad or good. I don’t believe that God controls all of them. I don’t claim to understand or say I’ll ever understand the Divine Nature of Heavenly Father, but I have learned that He will help me realize when something happens for a reason because I can feel it in my heart. I can’t explain why I have changed this belief. But it has occurred.
Third, I have learned that life is fragile and short and it is easy to take our love ones for granted. Almost losing Mom, and almost having my family torn apart helped remind me of this….I already knew it. But it is easy to forget. I appreciate all those in my life and the many things they have done to help me. I enjoy every day with my wife and son, my family, and my friends.
Fourth, I have learned that it is ok to ask for help and that I don’t have to be strong and perfect every day. This is something I am still working on but I have finally accepted. I felt so relieved to realize this and truly believe it.
Finally, I have learned that my son is the most important thing in my life and that everything I do is for him. So because of that, I try to do right every day and I have become a better man because of him.
That is it. I guess that’s all I can think of now, though I’m sure I will think of more!!!
Merry Christmas Mom!!!! I love you forever and like you for always!!