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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

An interesting question...

"Are you going to delete the embarrassing stuff from your blog?"

It wasn't the first time that's been asked and it won't be the last.  This time it came from a longtime friend.  And the context was clear: would I remove any of the less impressive material from this site? Meaning the content that would potentially reflect harshly upon me, might humiliate me.  Perhaps even cost me a professional opportunity or a relationship or a position of leadership.

So... would I do that?

Absolutely not.

I think in the fourteen years since The Knight Shift began, I've deleted only five posts from it.  And those were made in haste, in "moments of madness" if you will.  And for the most part they were more about others than they were about myself.

Fourteen years.  Much happens to a person in that period of time.  And if it doesn't, that person is doing something wrong.  The human condition should be about change, and growth, and evolution.  It must be about becoming more and more the individual that God meant for each of us to be.  There is no avoiding that.  Not unless one intentionally avoids all contact with the world and "turtles in" and refrains from fear of that change.  And that can't be called much of a life at all.  That was the greatest moral of A Christmas Carol, what Marley came to warn Scrooge about: that however it transpires, a person will be made to go and be among fellow men.  To have among them a life of fellowship and growth, or an eternity alone and stagnant and in remorse.  And though there had been decades wasted behind him, Scrooge made up for it.  And if that's not a dynamic life, I don't know what could be.

Since January of 2004 there have been a lot of endeavors and career choices on my part.  To say nothing of the relationships that have come and gone.  Including a divorce, the circumstances of which in one way or another will haunt me for the rest of my life and though I know it was never the "real me" but a mental illness, there is still regret.  In just the past two years I have left my original hometown and set out across America with my dog Tammy in tow, looking for... I thought at first it was meant to be a new place to live.  Now I realize that it was to find a new state of being.  One that was not possible before.  To arrive at a greater state of existence than I had ever imagined could come about.

And the Chris Knight of 2018 is not the same Chris Knight of 2016, when I left Reidsville for destinations unknown even to myself.  In just the past several months I have come to manage my bipolar disorder and come to a place where that life abundant I have sought for so long can at last be. And then there has been the spiritual growth.  My life in Christ began in November of 1996.  I like to think that it has come a long way since then.  It will never be perfect.  The growth will never cease on this side of the veil.  Even so, many have told me that I've come a very long way since those tumultuous first few years... and the even more tumultuous past eight or ten years or so.

All of that and more has been reflected in this blog from the very beginning.

Why should I deny that it happened?  How can I deny that those things occurred?

This blog has been a chronicle of many things in my life. But the real meta game being played out is that it has been a chronicle of my life itself  along the way. Stupidity and foolishness and mistakes and scars included.  And if those weren't part of it, the purpose and meaning of this endeavor would be cheated.  It would be as if I was claiming to have been perfect all along, and that would be a horrendous lie to others and even worse to myself.

It's like what Locke said in an episode of Lost, when he was asked why didn't he change the series of events that brought him suffering when he had the chance to do so.  It would have saved him so much pain.  "No, I needed that pain," Locke told Sawyer.  "It got me to where I am now."  And that's it precisely.  Wherever I am now - and I prefer to think that it's a better place as a person than I was before - the pain and grief and loss along the way was a major factor toward that.  Do I wish that some things had been otherwise?  Definitely.

But in my better moments, I know that if even God Himself were to give me the opportunity, I would not change a thing.  Who knows?  Maybe it will lead someday to the life I've always desired for.  Especially to be a husband and a father.  Maybe what has gone on before is preparing me for that happiness.  Maybe my own struggles and ordeals might someday help others who need encouragement.  That would be a very high honor, no doubt about it.

So... would I ever wipe out something from this blog if it made me "look bad"?  And trust me: there have been many things here that in retrospect make me look bad.

No.  I wouldn't.  I can't.  Doing so would be me being disingenuous to myself.  It would be me being disingenuous to others.  And most of all, it would be me being disingenuous to God.  How far I have come is a testament of His grace and ability more than of my own.  The apostle Paul didn't shirk away from the person he himself once was.  Should I or anyone else do likewise?

Yes, it means potentially costing a lot of potentially wonderful opportunities.  Even in the years since going public with having bipolar disorder (in circumstances which at the time were unavoidable in my personal life) many have asked me to consider running for office again, as I did for board of education in 2006.  I don't see how that will ever happen.  There isn't much of a market for manic-depressives in the realm of elected politics.  And there again, I would have to be honest.  I would  have to be candid about myself, lumps and all.

But I've learned along the way: getting elected to public office isn't a requisite for making an impact for the better in this world.  The world is changing every day, and whoever is senator or president or king plays only a small part in that.  It comes down to the individual, to each of us, who makes the world what it is.  And in that regard, not one of us has a role that is lesser than that of any other.

This is my own role to play.  To be a voyager on a journey of self discovery.  To be a journalist as much about myself as I ever have about my surroundings.  And to write about it.  And hope that somehow it might be read and appreciated by others.

I'm not sending any of that down the proverbial "memory hole".  It is what it is.  And it will continue to be.  No matter how bad it hurts.,