Chapter Forty-Eight: The Merry-go-round of Life



Hearing a song, and remembering the exact feeling the first time you’ve heard it.

I had that today.

It was a simple Facebook video that reminded me of one of my favorite movies.

And all at once I was back there wherever it was that I saw it at first.

And I don’t remember the place or the people right now, but I remember the feeling.

And from that there’s this combined joy and pain and then joy again;

Joy because I love the movie and the story and how it makes me feel.

And then sadness because the movie ended, and because my life isn’t the way it was when I watched that movie and I don’t talk to the friends I did when I first saw it.

And then joy again when I feel the power of that change—because the people are amazing and the movie is phenomenal, but who I am and where I’m at in my life is better than anywhere I’d been in the past.

And that’s one of my favorite parts of nostalgia—that I can be sad and happy at the same time.

That I can see, feel, and honor who I was and what I did earlier in my life, but be happy for what is happening now.

Because what’s happening now is spectacular.

Now is a time filled with emotion and sensory experience—made up of smells and feelings and sensations on every level, and the human mind’s capacity to record it and go right back through time and space to a specific place, just from a few notes, well, that’s pretty fantastic to me.

That’s the simple bit I’d like to share today.

That nostalgia is fascinating and so are our minds.

That our pasts are to be honored for what they were, and our presents are to be lived now, to make the pasts of tomorrow.


Chapter Forty-Seven: Hi, Doug here

I’ve mulled over making something really profound too long tonight, so here we go.

You are an amazing person.

And I want you to know that.

But, like at a deep, personal level.

And I know, it seems like that’s hard to do in a blog post. So let’s get up close and personal so that I can help you know that this means YOU.

Whether we’ve met recently or it’s been years, in person or only online, you’ve changed my life somehow. Because of who you are, and who I am, and who we are together.

And because we’ve seen heartache and joy together through our human experience.

And we’ve all seen death and birth and love and hate and so many opposites our heads have spun.

But somehow, after the dark nights fall and there doesn’t seem to be anything good left in the world, that Lord of the Rings quote always somehow finds its’ way back into my heart and I can’t help but share it about whatever you’re experiencing right now, and whatever I’m going through at the same time, because it is more than perfect for any hardship we’ll ever face and it goes like this;

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

“What are we holding onto, Sam?” “

That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”

And it’s important because on nights like tonight, when I can’t think of something I want to tell you, all I can think of is that you’re the good I fight for my friends—because you make this amazing world so much more by who you are.

Please, please, PLEASE, listen to me when I tell you that you matter, that you make a difference, and that you are important.

But don’t listen in a sort of ‘oh stop, you’re too kind’ sort of way.


I want you to listen to these words like I’m right there in front of you, grabbing your shoulders gently and staring into your eyes until you feel ever so slightly uncomfortable, and then I tell you that I love you and that you are so, so important, as tears well up in my eyes because all I can do is look at you and think about how beautiful the world is because it has you in it.

And I want you to take that with you today especially, but every day. Any day. This day.



Chapter Forty-Six: On Why It’s Okay to Be Sad, A Letter to Myself

I’ve been sad lately.

For small reasons, really.

My bedroom isn’t clean.

I have to think about if my wife and I will have enough money to pay our bills.

Some days I’m not super in love with my job.

I intermittently dwell on my past in an unhealthy way I can’t seem to fight—getting down on myself for things that I can’t change and aren’t even real sometimes.

And then I look up five sentences and realize I’ve just smashed my mountains into mole hills.

And I’ve taken away the power of my fears, and regrets, and of the sad things that make up a part of who I am.

And I want that to change.

So Dear Me,

Your life has been HARD for you.

No, stop right there.

Don’t you dare look at anyone else’s life.

Look at me, me.

You are brave.

You are strong.

You fight every day to be a good, kind, loving, responsible person, and you succeed.

Stop again.

Stop thinking about how people secretly hate you.

If they did, it would be their problem for not appreciating an amazing person like you, and also they don’t hate you so stop it anyway.

Now, back to me.

I need you to let your heart FEEL right now.

Because life isn’t meant to be numbed through, it isn’t meant to be tidy with a bow on top.

Life is MESSY and STRANGE and SCARY, but in a beautiful way that you’ve seen for yourself.

There are goodbyes, but there are also hellos.

There are endings, but there are also beginnings.

There is anguish, but sheer relief to follow.

What I’m telling you is to be sad for right now, or to honor when you’ve been sad, because that is REAL.

You have FOUGHT.

You have WON.

And yes, at times maybe you’ve lost, but you are STILL HERE.

Feel your heart burn—feel it catch the first embers of life back into it as it swells and turns into an inferno of feelings—and let it burn away the ashes and scars of the past the way it’s supposed to, like a phoenix rising in rebirth.

Not to say the past and pains and pestilence didn’t occur, but that even though they did you may RISE and feel the strength in your body and mind and spirit that comes from not avoiding the loss and tragedy and pain and fear but thriving through it like the amazing person you are.

And to YOU, I want to say:






Your Heart, Head, and Holiness