“And I always find, yeah, I always find somethin’ wrong
You been puttin’ up wit’ my ish just way too long
I’m so gifted at findin’ what I don’t like the most
So I think it’s time for us to have a toast”
-Kanye West “Runaway”
Sometimes, you just aren’t ready for some things that cross your path at a certain moment in your life. Most people would have a hard time admitting this, but I don’t. It doesn’t have to be anything complex either; it can something as simple as a book. This brings me to “The Alchemist”. Five months ago a close friend insisted that I read this book and raved it was a life changing work of art. Thirty-one pages in, not only was I befuddled; I was simply uninterested and placed the book ever so gently on my bookshelf. I was overwhelmed with the profound concepts, allegories and metaphors. It was just too deep for me at the time. I had some more growing and exploring to do to stretch my soul.
Fast forward to Monday the 9th. Sitting at my desk, having a serious case of the Monday blues (now I realize I was pms’ing as well). I had a full-fledged pity party, thug tears and all. I invited a friend to my sordid fiesta, subconsciously hoping he would agree with me as I self-loathed and condemned myself to loserdom. As I cried myself a river, he patiently waited to interject on my gloomy parade and then lovingly told me I was my own worst enemy. I knew he was right. Instead of being thankful for all the victories in my life, I made the choice instead to focus on what I was lacking. Being hard on myself has always been a challenge. I always have this burdensome perception that I should be doing more, making more, happier, skinnier, smarter, traveling more, reading more, the list goes on. Then he reminded me to take a look at my 2011 and how much I accomplished. I started therapy, joined Weight Watchers, actually lost almost 20 pounds, finished treatment, had a clear mammogram and BSGI test and it was my 1st year living alone. And to top it all off, I was on the Dr. Oz show, XM Radio Broadminded show and spoke at Dilon Diagnostics for Breast Cancer Awareness month. God opened so many doors without me even asking, things literally just fell into my lap. How dare I act like my life is in the pits.
This brings me back to “The Alchemist”. Tuesday morning, as a set my alarm and gathered my belongings to jet out the door, something told me to grab The Alchemist off the shelf. With 8 seconds left on the alarm countdown, I doubled back, scanned the shelf, grabbed the book, and was out the door Indiana Jones style. I cracked the book open during my metro commute and decided to start with the introduction, a letter the author wrote about the book’s rise to popularity. He explains the 4 obstacles to fulfilling your dreams. That alone stirred my soul, but as I read the Oscar Wilde quote he referenced, I was overwhelmed with emotion. Oscar Wilde once said, “Each man kills the thing he loves”. It resonated with me because it’s a stronghold that I have been working on to break for quite sometime. I have been slaughtering my own dreams.
I’m a firm believer that all things work together, and that everything is connected. Monday’s pity party led me to a conversation to refocus, which led me to the book on Tuesday and its wise words. My emotions lied, but I was reminded of the truth. God has brought me through so many obstacles, and He’s been there before, during and after each victory. I had to make a list to remind myself to have an attitude of gratefulness. If He got me through cancer twice, surely He can help me get free of a self-defeating mindset. It doesn’t glorify Him, and that’s all I really want to do with my life.
This time around with The Alchemist, I’m on page 65 and cannot wait to read more. It took a few months of preparation but now my soul is ready to receive some nuggets of wisdom regarding one’s “Personal Legend.” The author concludes his letter saying “We forget all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far…this is the most dangerous of obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest. But it you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the soul of the world, and you understand why you are here”. Selah.
Romans 5:3-5 The Message (MSG)
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!