Once upon a time, I was a great pretender.  I pretended to be happy.  I pretended to be successful.  Sadly, I sometimes pretended to be in love when I wasn’t.  I was the great pretender.  When I was a pretender, I had so many friends.  When the weekend would come, we would sit and pretend together.  We pretended to love and support each other. We pretended that we would always be there for one another.  We pretended as though we could depend on one another.  Today, I don’t even remember most of their names, and I’m not pretending.  If one of us got a new car, we were no longer friends because those of us with older cars could never possibly be seen with them.  If one of us got a better job, we were no longer friends because how could they possibly remain friends with someone who wasn’t in their tax bracket? If one of them found religion (God is different. God is love, and love is God. It is void of rules, full of understanding, full of compassion, full of 2nd plus chances, and willing to bend past commonly accepted practices), we were no longer friends because they became so heavenly minded, they were no longer any earthly good.  If one of us got another degree, we were no longer friends because some of us may not have had as many letters behind our names. I thought I had so many friends.  I’m glad that I don’t have friends like that anymore.  Today, I’m no longer pretending.  Honestly, I have more fingers on one hand than I do actual friends.  When I sometimes have silly, profound, excited, scared, worried, passionate, and questioning things to say or ask, there are not many people that I can call.  Lately, I’ve had some of my deepest conversations with myself because the mere speaking of my thoughts may be incomprehensible to some.  I can sit in a room full of people and feel absolutely invisible. It’s hard finding someone to have a real conversation with.  God knows I’ve tried.  On more occasions that I care to mention, I have tried to have real conversations with people.  Most times, the response to my questions or statements is, “that’s deep.  That’s so deep.”  Now, while I’m more than willing to dig inside of my own soul, I don’t consider myself that deep.  Perhaps they are too shallow.  Who knows?  Therefore, if you ever meet me out, one of the first questions that I will ask you is, “do you like football?”  I’ve found that most people find it easier to discuss sports than feelings and ideas.  However, I must admit, I really wish that I had someone that I could talk to.  Honestly, I’m not even looking for someone to give me a solution.  I’m good with someone who is willing to listen to the problem.  I’m not looking for an answer.  I simply want someone to hear my questions.  It’s hard finding someone to communicate with when no one seems to speak.  Perhaps this is why I write the way I do.  I’ll let you in and let you know that each word that you are reading is a bi-product of an actual conversation that I’m having with myself each time that I stroke these computer keys.  That’s honest.  On this journey called my life, I have found that nothing real can be born from something that isn’t.  Be real with yourself and always be real with others.  Now, when I speak of being real, I’m not talking about being unapologetically hurtful to others (I hate when people do that). No, I’m talking about jumping off the ledge and speaking your truths more often than you conceal them.  There can be no true love without communication.  Perhaps they are one and the same.  I wonder…. Be you.  Be great.  Be kind. Be love. Most of all, be.  Patrick

This week, please do something for someone else other than yourself for no reason at all other than to make their lives better.  Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us.  Always Choose Love.

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