I never blog at work, but I am right now, and I hope my employers will forgive the indiscretion. I am writing right now when I should not be because I want you to read these words and watch a video. The words are mine and are unremarkable, but I hope they provide context for why I believe this is the most powerful video I have ever seen, and why my office door is shut because I'm crying too much.
If you visit this blog you either know me, or you read what I write. If you are a reader, you may not know that I am a relatively successful and well liked person. I have a lot of friends. I have a good job. I even get hired to do public speaking, or paid to give people my opinion about something.
Sometimes when I tell people about my journey with God through atheism, they cry. In fact, rooms full of people have laughed and cried with me as I tell stories. Some people are so compelled by my story that they encourage me to write it down. More than a few. I fly across the country on airplanes, stay in hotels, and have people tell me how much they like and appreciate me.
Can we agree to call that successful? It is probably easier for you than for me.
You see, there is this thing I don't generally tell people. I feel like a con-man. I feel like I am committing some kind of fraud and will be discovered any day. Either that or people are lying to me when the tell me they like me and appreciate what I do. I operate with a conviction that one day the rug will be pulled out from under me and the Big Joke will be revealed. I will learn that no one really likes me.
How could they? After all, I was a suicidal teen. Despite a stable, loving parents and a nurturing home, I though dying was preferable to living when I was a teenager.
Because I hurt. I hurt because I was bullied in school. My childhood memories of school are of constant torment and few defenders. I was a fat, freckled, red-headed, computer-nerd with a wildly overactive imagination. I was gifted with no natural athleticism. I didn't have any great academic aptitude.
So, I was pelted with softballs. Or rocks. I was pinched when the teacher wasn't looking, or called names. I was sensitive, and words hurt, so I reacted strongly. I cried easily. I ran away.
I was broken. And I was not the only one.
So, to this day part of me wonders if anyone can ever really love me. There it is, my deepest darkest secret. All my sunny disposition and relentless positivity hides the truth: a fear that everyone I've ever loved is going to leave me.
But it's not all bad. Because I have suffered at the hands of cruelty, I can't bear the suffering of others. All my senses are a high-gain emotional antenna tuned toward the hurt of others. It's not perfect, but when I do become aware of someone hurting, you can bet your ass I do something–anything–to help. God knows I don't do enough, but I am trying to do more every day.
I want you to watch this video. All of it. Now.
And I want you to think about what you can do today to make less hurt in the world.