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It was Christmas night, 2014. I had spent much of December recovering from a very serious illness connected to lupus, which I had been diagnosed with earlier in the year after twelve days in the hospital followed by weeks of seeing a steady stream of doctors. On Christmas night I decided I wanted to take a long walk. I wanted to walk through the surrounding neighborhoods to look at the Christmas lights, and at the people as they settled in after the holiday. There were houses with many cars parked in front of them, where family was gathering along with friends in celebration.

I didn't feel like I had much to celebrate. I had spent most of the year being sick. My brain had stopped working properly, a victim of lupus attacking my central nervous system, my joints were incredibly sore, swollen and aching, my hair had almost completely fallen out, and I was almost constantly dizzy. After spending the day with members of my own family, all I wanted was to walk around and look at the lights. It was an opportunity to be alone. It was an opportunity to find some peace.

With Christmas lights surrounding me, I sat down at the edge of a pond, exhausted and defeated.

"Either kill me or restore me. This somewhere in the middle crap isn't going to fly," I shouted out to the air around me, hoping my angels would hear.

In my dreams that night a desert sprawled out before me, reminiscent of my death experience more than two decades earlier. Behind me I felt a presence and then felt that presence's wings spread out around me.

You have always chosen your own path. At one time you believed in yourself and in your purpose. She who gave you faith gave you everything you needed to follow the path you were meant to travel. Then came the crash and you struggled with your faith. You went back to the old ways. You surrounded yourself with shallow, mean spirited people who served only themselves and saw you as a means to an end. You struggled to stay on the path, but you kept wandering into the weeds, fighting dragons you had no chance of taking to a draw. Slowly, you gave up the fight, so slowly you did not even realize you were giving up. You invented missions where there was no mission and threw yourself into battles of your own creation. As time went on you stopped understanding your own words and your own past. You began to lose hope as well as faith and you flailed against the constant. It was only a matter of time before your mind and your body joined your soul in a slow death. Whether you are restored or not is your choice. That is your battle now. And you can only win it by finding what you lost and take up the path once again.

You are the champion of the individual soul. It is the path you were meant to take because it is the one you are most suited for. Focus on what you do that completes you, not on what tears you apart. Find yourself and you will find the path.

After that night, the Christmas lights began to come down. Slowly the neighborhood became as it was before the decorating season bloomed. After that night I began to fight. I began to search for the things that were lost and forgotten. I looked for the things assumed to be gone and brought them back into the fold.

Six months later I was called a medical miracle. I won't take that for granted and allow myself to believe that I am indestructible. There have been too many lessons learned as a result of that exercise in vanity.

When everything is aligned as it once was, I will return to the land I learned to call home. The path will become visible once again after I clear away the ruins and the destruction. I have been nearly destroyed so often that by now it should feel commonplace. Often, it does.