Thursday, April 14, 2011


Kanye's "All of the Lights" has been my personal anthem this year.

I listened to it when I first began going out with my girlfriend. Accept or reject me, I want her to accept or reject the real me. I wanted to end the posturing, the pretension. I wanted to end a lifetime of thinking that who I was, was not acceptable for reality.

I listen to this song when I write. Accept me or reject me, I want to give you the real me. I want to overcome the years of literary criticism I've studied, coroners who cannot handle the text without murdering it. I want to redeem the years of hiding my love for works that others sneered at, belittled, demeaned as unworthy of serious analysis.

As I was walking to my girlfriend's apartment last night, I thought about my ex-girlfriend whose letters I still open and read now and again. Her words echo in my chest, "Stanley Lee, go and conquer the world." I think about the woman I pursued before her. Could it be that she could not be with a man she believed in but could not believe in himself? Could we have been different, had I been different? And I think about the first woman I gave my heart to, the one who compelled me to take my first step forward, to brave the unknowns of the universe. How ignorant might I still be if I hadn't ever had my heart broken?

All of them have been lights along my path, the joys and the sorrows lighting my way to a deeper knowledge of self and my creator God. I cannot begin to express the volume of gratitude I owe to all of them. I am not a star. I am a constellation of all I've seen.

I think about my brother-in-arms best friend and the example he sets for me in his honesty and purity of heart. I think about my sister-in-arms best friend whose spirit and discipline always pushes me. I think about my mentors and the hopes that they had for me, the potential they saw in me. To deny their belief would be to call them fools and who would admit to having a fool for a mentor? How else can I honor their belief in my potential than to drag it into reality?

I think about my girlfriend the radiant soul whose words resonate with me like no one else I've ever met. Her life frees me to live my own. Her light grants me the courage to live more truly. I think about the support she gives me, the wind in my sails, the strength of my right arm, the driving force in my legs.

And beyond even her, I think about the God under whose sovereignty I shelter. I think about how for so many of these lights in my life, I would not have met them were it not for a chance occurrence, a decision I could not understand at the time, or an impulse I didn't expect. I think about his ordering of my life and I cannot but feel small, a fisherman safe in the tsunami, a feather nestled in the hurricane.

I won't hide these lights any longer. They're the ones who've brought me here. I'll do my part and carry them with me everywhere I go.

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