I had intended to leave Los Angeles at 6:00 and fly into Chicago by noon. That did not happen. My travel plans completely fell apart, and, for the first time in my life, I missed my original flight. Anxiety, fear and frustration soon filled my body, my mind, and my heart. What a mess this day had turned out to be.
I finally arrived into Chicago late in the afternoon worried about making my Friday evening engagement. I felt like a wreck, exhausted from my 11-hour relationship with American Airlines.
I have realized that my facades were built so you would not reject me. Rejection makes me sick to my stomach and lonely. This fear has a way of dominating and diminishing joy. I want you to know me and accept me. So I pretend. I pretend to be okay. I pretend that I am in control of all the ups and downs that life brings me. Though inside I damn well know about my messes and I hide them. I need to stop pretending. It is our messes that connect us.
This is the place that I found myself in the moment I arrived at that evening engagement in Chicago. I had arrived, not at a place or location, but at a moment in time where joy was being nurtured! Where pretending was not needed. As the authors of Round Table Companies stood up and introduced themselves my heart begin to beat with joy. And then it was my turn. Let me introduce myself.
Mark is a Marine and a 23 year veteran of the LA County Sheriff's Department. He has been recognized by the State Senate, US Congress and the Governor of California for his work in juvenile intervention.