The Road to Redemption

Finality is rising. This morning I traveled the snow covered roads of the former Cold War city of Krakow to the airport.  Wheels up at 9:55, I love the smell of jet-fuel in the morning. For the last five weeks I've been traveling from Spain to Paris, to Ypres, to Rome, to Auschwitz, unsure of where any of this leaves me as one final flight remains. I've been thinking a lot about this last trip, and where I'm going. I've tried to make sense out of it, even prayed about it, but there's been no answer, only silence, no way I can rationalize the conflict of heart and mind that is attached to my "luggage" that I take with me on the final flight: the flight "home".

The last thing I wrote before Rome was rather tragic, I admit. I cried for days after writing it, but now I'm out of tears, I'm out of time, and I'm out of the discipline to hold back what's lurking inside.

The truth is, I'm changed. I realized that as I went over to dinner at a friend's the other night. One who I hadn't seen in three months. Of course it came up in conversation, the person I used to be, someone quite hopeful, someone naive, someone who thought anything was possible. I'm much more grounded now, I've been broken, and what's left is a much darker individual who isn't going to write a happy ending because that's what's expected. I will write the truth, and the truth is, these last four months have been the most incredible, amazing times of my life- but it's about to end. The truth is that this factuality angers me.

It's that I know I can't change it.

What if what you loved was taken away?

While walking around Auschwitz, it was explained to me that many of the Jews arrived at the concentration camp in good spirits, with hope, their most prized possessions in hand. They may have been forced to leave their homes, but they were under the impression that in this new place, they'd build homes, and a new Jewish homeland. When they arrived, they built the buildings, they built Auschwitz, they built their own prison in what they had hoped was a new start, maybe even a paradise. After all, they were promised freedom through hardwork. Then paradise turned to Hell.

Sometimes we become prisoners of what we build.

I built this dream.

Now I just want to burn it all down. My dream I built, then lived. Now it's time to get a new dream. Time to use this new-found darkness inside to rip it apart and start anew.

I'm not sure where this leaves me, but it's time to move on. Onwards and upwards. To rip up reality with the person I've become. A heart forged in this fire. My soul charred by association. A new found strength that allows me to break out of this cage. I'm ready to bargain with the devil, this, what I love, for a new dream. To trade black tears for the chance to someday, even years from now, to feel what I feel here: happiness.

Of dreams not yet realized and words yet unspoken, I run into the future, gasping for air, crawling on my knees, knowing not if I'll make it, but that I have no choice. This is the road to redemption.

It's paved with broken dreams.


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