I was that guy who was in quiet desperation for many years of my life. I learned very early on that it wasn’t safe to be vulnerable expressing what I was feeling inside.
My conditioning told me it was better to look perfect on the outside pretending that everything was fine while inner chaos was wreaking havoc within me.
Henry David Thoreau got it right when he said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
That was the path I was on for many years looking for fulfillment outside of myself in the form of sports, bodybuilding, women, alcohol and even religion.
The Years of Quiet Desperation
I had a serious knee injury in college that brought my dreams of playing professional football to a halt in a matter of seconds. My identity as a football player was taken away in an instant.
I was married for eighteen years and have been divorced for fourteen years. The pain of divorce is very real. It has been a long road of healing, recovery and forgiveness.
I experienced many black out occasions from excessive drinking in my teens and early twenties and suffered from a severe case of alcohol poisoning in my mid thirties leading me to realize I couldn’t drink my problems away. I tried my hardest to take myself out. I am grateful for multiple chances in life.
I was in a career that wasn’t fulfilling. I was making a six-figure income, but I felt trapped with no way out. I bit the bullet for seventeen years resigned to the feelings of smoldering discontent, hopelessness and dread feeling dead inside.
I am an INFJ (Myers Briggs personality type) HSP (highly sensitive person) which makes up about .05% of the population. I desperately wanted the world to get me, but how could anyone get me if I didn’t get myself? For years I tried to be someone I wasn’t.
Suffering in Silence
During most of those years of quiet desperation I suffered in silence. No one to talk to, no one to share with. I felt isolated and depressed.
Then one night, I couldn’t take it anymore. I fell onto my knees and started praying to a God that I didn’t know. The only God I knew at the time was a God up in the sky who was judging my goodness and badness.
The ironic part of this was my dad was a Lutheran pastor. I grew up in the church. My truth was the more I sat in church, the more I rebelled.
When I began my journey back to God as the prodigal son, I went back to the only thing I knew, the church. I started to go to a non-denominational church, which was helpful, but the problem was, my life wasn’t changing. There was no inner transformation. There was no Self-realization. There was still quiet desperation. In fact, I felt more guilt and shame once I started going back to church trying to be the perfect Christian never feeling like I was good enough.
Exploring My Own Truth
This went on for a number of years until I started to explore my own truth. I started to ask the big questions for myself not relying on others to tell me the truth or to believe what I was taught growing up.
I started to ask, “Who is God?” “Who am I?” “What is this life all about?” “Why do so many people who say they believe in God live in quiet desperation?” “What is the way out of quiet desperation?” "How can I experience a life of inner peace?"
When I allowed myself to go on the pathless path going on a deep exploration discovering my own spiritual truth is when my life started to transform and I was able to dig myself out of quiet desperation.
I allowed myself to study Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, non-duality teachings from Rupert Spira and from Christian mystics such as Joel Goldsmith and Thomas Merton.
Discovering My True and Innermost Self
It has been an exciting journey. What I discovered as I explored these spiritual paths has led me back to the true wisdom teachings of Jesus. The veil is continually being lifted from my eyes as I realize my true and innermost Self.
What I have been seeking all of these years, I already am. The Kingdom of Heaven is within me. That was my golden ticket out of quiet desperation into living a life of divine inspiration.
Every day I wake up with a sense of purpose and aliveness. My mission in life is to help men get out of quiet desperation that I was so familiar with for far too many years.
When I stopped looking outside of myself and started to be still and listen to that still small Voice that was being drowned out by all of the senseless self-destructive self talk is when I felt the deep sense of inner peace and calmness. The deep blissful peace that transcends all human understanding that can only come from a deeper Self-knowing.
Becoming the Light of the World
I am grateful for every experience I have had in my life because it has brought me to this place where I can say, “His Grace is my sufficiency and that is all I need.”
Without the struggles there wouldn’t be wisdom. Without the struggles I wouldn’t be able to connect with and help other men get out of quiet desperation. I am not a theologian, I am just a regular guy who is on my own pathless path willing to share my experience and wisdom with courageous vulnerability. You know that you are not alone.
I have adopted the saying, "Just one more," from Desmond Doss, a United States Army corporal who served as a combat medic in World War II. His life and message was portrayed in the movie Hacksaw Ridge. He lived his life with deep conviction that I admire, respect and hope to emulate. He was the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
If I can help "Just one more" man help themselves get out of quiet desperation so they can experience a deep peace that passes human understanding, it will be another man who can become the light of the world.
When we get out of the struggles of quiet desperation we can simply “Be still and know that I am God.”
It's my time to serve others being the light of the world.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Spiritual Renewal Coach