Holler ‘Hallelujah!’

Joey Garcia

Five years ago, I found out that my uncle is actually my biological father. My mother was briefly his girlfriend, but he dumped her. When she found out that she was pregnant, she tried to confront him, but met his brother (the dad I knew) instead. They fell in love and got married. I’m 35, and no one told me the truth until my uncle’s death five years ago. I have always felt like I didn’t fit in, and now I know why. I just don’t know what to do about it. I have been to therapy, but it hasn’t given me the answers or closure I need. I feel like I need to release some emotions. Please help.

Holler “Hallelujah!” anytime you feel like you don’t quite fit in. That’s right: Revel in the rise of your uniqueness. Celebrate your inability to conform. If you muster the courage to accept that you do not belong, you will soon discover the myriad ways in which you actually do fit in. The real task, then, will be to live the paradox: You don’t belong, and yet by God, you do. This is the true nature of us all.

Sadly, when most people feel like they don’t fit in, their response is to conform. In the process, they often subjugate their truest self. This resistance to being real allows for the appearance of progress, but, in actuality, it’s the death of genius.

Your own family history was shaped by your parents’ desire to conform. Your parents (yes, Mom, Dad and Dad) probably felt justified in keeping certain details secret, because doing so permitted them to fit in. You have longed to fit in, too. Allow that desire to invest you with compassion for the choices your parents made. It can also lead you toward closure. But remember, when your mind seals its wounds around answers and declares closure, that fix is often temporary. Eventually, something or someone will jolt your memory and inspire you to probe old wounds. If that happens, don’t worry. Closure is a process, not a period.

I have a lot of sadness in my heart about the uncertainty in the world. How am I going to know that everything is OK?

You know things will be OK because of your big, tender, loving heart and because of the other people in the world who love as widely and deeply as you do.

This weary old world needs you and everyone else who cares enough to notice uncertainty and yet are courageous and committed enough to initiate, then sustain consciousness and compassion. Mediation helps. So does prayer, kindness and slowing down to avoid the hyperbusyness that many employers, religions, families and fears call us toward. But you can be better than OK by accepting that uncertainty is the cousin of change.

Yes, trust in yourself. Be a force for good and a force for God. Certainty grows from the power of your trust.

This girl that I work with gets laughed at a lot, but she doesn’t notice. How can I get people to stop without bringing it to her attention?

Repeatedly ridiculing a co-worker may be a form of covert bullying. If you feel safe, address the cruelty directly in private conversations with each offender. Or take the problem to your supervisor or the human-resources department. Propose a discussion of Rotary International’s Four-Way Test at the next staff meeting. The test consists of questions that encourage reflection before speaking: “1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” Then, befriend your co-worker. She is far too comfortable with abuse and needs support to realize it.

Meditation of the week
“Changing the way you do routine things allows a new person to grow inside of you,” wrote novelist Paulo Coelho. Are you ready to shed the old skin?

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