‘She watched the rain as it gently pattered down on the cobblestone around her feet. All was quiet and calm, as if the entire world had gone to nap.
“Does it ever go away?” She asked without looking up. He looked at her, slightly smiling. He thought back to being that age. So much uncertainty. So many different paths to ponder.
He let out a sigh as he considered his answer.
“I suppose you mean the overwhelming uncertainty, the unnerving feeling that your time is running out; full well knowing you have more time than the rest of us. Not understanding who you are or what you’re supposed to do with that when you figure it out.”
She glanced up at the grey clouds, nodding. Her eyes held many questions and struggles she had yet begun to sort through.
“No.” He said, responding to her nod. “At least, not significantly enough for my own satisfaction. Mostly, you learn to stand straighter and believe that you don’t feel that way. That you know what to do in each situation that you find your wearied heart in. You focus on the hope rather than the despairing questions of doubt.”
For the first time ever, she saw him slouch. She got a glimpse into eyes that had seen more darkness than the surface had shown. “That doesn’t sound like it works so well.”
He had to laugh a little. “You’re right. It’s not the most effective strategy. Truthfully, I haven’t figured out much more than you.”
“How do you do it, then? You always seem so motivated and sure.”
He lifted his hat and scratched his head for a moment, staring off into the sky.
“I never wake up and let myself think I was defeated. I don’t begin my days with what I don’t understand. I know at least part of who I am. I know I have value and I choose to acknowledge it.
I want to be a joy to others. Encourage them. Show them their own value. That they don’t have to wear the scars I do.
No matter how discouraged I feel, I know the truth to the lies I believe. Do I always act accordingly? Lord knows I don’t. Some days, I need oceans of courage to face my demons.
Nevertheless, I’ve won. I have dreams; ambitions. If I’m ever going to pursue them, I must press on. With joy. And hope.”
He stood slowly, putting his hat back on and saying nothing as he walked away. She looked to the spot beside her. He’d dropped a page from his journal. She quickly scooped it up to keep it away from the falling water; an act made in vain as her eyes welled up and poured salty tears onto the paper.
On the page read four words:
You haven’t been defeated.‘