“I’m keeping the faith, Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, Keeping the faith, I’m keeping the faith” Billy Joel
It is a simple thing to keep going on when everything is going well. But when bad times come and difficult obstacles do you have the fortitude to keep the course?
Success does not come to everybody, not by a long shot. For every dream come true, there are thousands of whimsical fantasies smashed on the ground perishing in smoldering flames. Every athlete who ever walked on the field dreamed of making it to the pros. But alas, the majority never do.
The world is full of various occupations that nobody as a youth ever thought of. There are many jobs that are not highly desirable. Illness comes in to infest our lives and derails our hopes and aspirations. Some of simply fall short and fail as they cannot meet the challenge. Many surrender and give up the fight.
My thoughts turn to a poet I know whose work is simply terrible. I don’t have the heart to tell him that his stuff is probably some of the worst stuff I’ve ever read. But I shouldn’t be so high minded. Once I sent my book to somebody to review and he returned it saying he couldn’t find anything good to write about it. I did a Google search of the ‘critic’ and found he hadn’t published a single thing that I could find. I was going to save the letter but instead, I put it where it belonged, in the trash.
There is no substitute for hard work and dedication. As a poet, I have read the masters. I spend long hours working on my craft. I may never reach the height of the poetic world, that is simply reality. Still, I have reached a certain level and I am content with that. I am not satisfied, but I am realistic that I may never attain my dreams. This realization doesn’t impede my dreams at all. I still work on my art every single day, always striving to improve.
Mental illness is something that deflates one’s spirit. Being committed to a psychiatric hospital I felt violated. Not only was freedom stripped from me but I was inflicted with potent chemicals to keep me down. I was constantly shot up with Thorazine, which is a horse tranquilizer. I firmly believe that the chemicals I was given in the psychiatric hospital altered my brain chemistry making me dependent on the psychotropic chemicals. Unfortunately, no insights will change my past. I have been presented a hand of cards and I needed to play them.
Of course, there were other options than fighting for recovery. Suicide was one. This thought appalled me. But in honesty, it also dominated my psyche. I recall spending endless days lying in bed contemplating how to kill myself. I, of course, resisted the dark temptation. When I was new to the mental illness I foolishly quit taking my medicine several times. I had hopes that God would cure me and all I needed to do was have some faith. That faith I thought was to quit taking my meds. Needless to say, I wound up back in the hospital.
Even when I was on board with popping my pills it was a battle. In some ways, my confidence had been shattered. While I found it extremely easy to interact with others accepting responsibility was a harsh taskmaster. In my mind, I always feared the worst. Only by years of experience at toiling away did I regain what I once had.
Sadly, many of my peers in the mentally ill community never managed to return to the ‘real’ world. They spent their days in group homes drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and going to day programs. For me, I wanted more out of life. So I kept on trying never giving up though I failed many times.
Every success in life is a point to move on to the next adventure. Like climbing a staircase one step at a time, each move up on the ascent is another accomplishment. The only downside to this way of thinking is the lack of satisfaction. It seems that some people are never satisfied. Like when rich people steal. They don’t need the money but their lust for mammon consumes them. So it is with all facets of life. It is not enough for me that I have books of poetry published, now they need to sell. It is not enough for me to have my poetry published in over one hundred outlets I need my name to be recognized.
Keeping the faith is persevering in the hard times. It is in the struggle that the artist is formed, that the human character is developed, that the champion is perfected.
Please check out my book “Murmurings Of A Mad Man” https://amzn.to/2TEZ9EK
The River Of Life
By John Kaniecki
Sometimes it meanders
Calm as can be
Sometimes it roars
Full of fury
Sometimes it is dry
Lonely and empty
Sometimes it over flows
And fills the valley
But it always goes
To the sea
Photos by Internet Archive Book Images,