"I love you," is the most obvious thing God ever said to me. That it has taken 51 years to hear is incredible.
We all want something out of life. The most useful name for what we want is "love." But usually we don't realize that love is what we want and instead spend gobs of time seeking fame, fortune, success, victory. Inside this exterior seeking work is hidden our issues; needs for approval, self-esteem, self-worth, validation. Deeper inside the relatively superficial self layer is our fear. Oh, God, that fear is terrifying. Fear that I am really nothing; or worse than nothing: a worm, a piece of crap or that I am bad. That I might be truly bad terrifies me to see so I turn back to the world and work on my conquests hoping they'll hide my badness.
But if I make another choice and keep pondering the fear and what it could be hiding, I'll conclude (after months or decades) that it is not true. During my exploration of why I think I am a piece of crap, I am actually healing the infection and draining the pus by opening myself to whatever it is. As it reduces, I see something else. Slowly, I see goodness; mine and everyone else's.
At this point, I am free. I find myself off the hook, and I've let everyone else off the hook too. I no longer need any identifying labels: I am a marathoner; I am a Boston Qualifier; I am an Ironman; I am a parent; I am a millionaire. I no longer need conquests to define me or give me an acceptable sense of self.
The only victory I ever needed was the decision to turn inward away from the world and accept my pre-existant intrinsic good.
As I say this, I hear the gufaws of the audience. I stand alone in the spot light held up to ridicule. "Silly Spirit Flower," they say. "We are not afraid. We already know we are good people. It is you who are so deprived. Quit telling us that our conquests are meaningless illusions, children's play acting. Our victories mean alot."
Spirit Flower looks into the crowd and finds the one pair of eyes which admits it's pain. "Oh really?" she says. "Then why do you feel like a faker? If a marathon medal really meant anything, all my troubles would be over."
But I kept dropping the rocks of worldly validation until I finally spent enough time shining light on the fear. I melted its ice and became undaunted. I believed it less and less. Then, the inner good could be discerned, accepted, joined and loved.
All I ever wanted was to love myself; that inner good who is my true identity. My true identity is not window dressing. Sure I still run marathons, but my self love does not depend on how fast I was or even finishing. What ever I do, I do as that inner good. That inner good is my identity. Good is what I am, what I bring, what I give.
Life lived at the level of age group awards is futile.
Life lived as good is eternal.