by Bernard Paul Leclerc Jr.
November 15, 2018, 9:45 AM
I am sitting on a slick rock chair with my coffee as the sun rises from behind the La Salle mountains in south eastern Utah. I am mesmerized at the silhouette of the peaks as a starburst of light, like a Les Paul guitar, shone out of the eastern sky. Here in the American Holy Land where time seems endless, I am instantly transported to an internal place within my own Soul. My youth behind me and old age ahead I’m perplexed about the impacts I made in my past life and what impacts I’m making now. Memories are fading and time grows precious.
My friend Nick is rumbling around in my head reminding me of all the lives we touched working with troubled kids and young adults as wilderness guides here in Utah. Now, with that behind me, I ask “What am I doing now that is as important, as impactful, as meaningful?” Every day I touch peoples’ lives one way or another. I know the role of teacher and mentor has changed. But why am I struggling and why am I seeing today’s situations as trivial or that today the people in my life feel less important? Why don’t they mean as much as the kids once did?
It occurs to me that this is a problem of self-perception. Maybe? Certainly, the people we love most and the people that come to us in our lives every day are just as important as those who so desperately needed our help then. We learned in wilderness therapy even the smallest of things can change the way someone views themselves or their world and thereby make changes to better their lives. So many times, even when our efforts seemed ineffective, the universal spirit worked and threw someone a lifeline where we didn’t even know it at the time. Why did I seem to feel as though I had anything to do with that moment of revelation?
Today, I move more toward humility as a bedrock principle in my own spiritual quest. I realize that my ego and self-importance are no longer required for my self-worth or for me to feel okay. A deep internal shame from my own childhood is slowly melting away.
Jeezz that took a long time.