“Doc says I have to quit baseball.”

“Why?

“Some mistakes, I guess, we never stop paying for.”  – The Natural

Some Sins You Never Quit Paying For . . .

When it comes to circumstances in life, we have a million choices we make.  Every day with the millions of choices we have, our lives can head off into a million different directions.  With each decision we make, our lives turn as a result of those decisions.  Some choices we make have bigger consequences than others.  Whether I go to McDonald’s or Burger King may not have much consequence in the bigger picture.  But whether I use one software service over another and how I use that service can make all the difference.  And this week I found one of those choices beating me over the head.  While the decision itself might not have been neglectful, the lack of control made things blow up in my face.  Some sins you never quit paying for, and the consequences can be long-reaching and everlasting.

How did this realization come home to me?  What exactly happened which put me here?  I think it would have had to start way back with a friend of mine who said she was a blogger in the past.  She stated she was somewhat successful until someone in the blogging world came at her and attacked her with misinformation and hacking attempts which put her into an awful position.  I am sure she was instructing me about this as a cautionary tale of what could happen in the industry.  But I was naive.  Somehow I just felt like this wouldn’t happen to me.  I was a dad.  I was a single dad at that.  And I picked a small enough niche that I didn’t imagine how anyone would come after me for what I wrote.  Why would anyone come after me?

Of course, that question is a stupid question.  People tend to come after all kinds of people who are successful.  And people come after people trying to tear them down all the time.  And for people who are interested in tearing people down, naive people are an easy target.  It was my own naivete which made me blind to some of the things which could happen to me.  I just kind of walked along blindly, trying to learn all sorts of various different blogging things, just trying to catch up to all of the social media opportunities out there.

This search lead me to try to find shortcuts which would help me get things done in a more efficient manner.  There are some interesting services out there helping one to organize their social media posts.  Tailwind is great for those interested in Pinterest.  And they have services which help you out on Instagram, Twitter, and many other social media outlets.  Virtual assistants are great but they can be expensive when one is starting out blogging.  So I went with programs to help me.  One of these programs was supposed to help me out on Twitter.

As a person who appreciates a witty turn of phrase, and who writes crazy “fake news” posts, Twitter is frequently my social media of choice.  So I was excited when I found a social media service which would retweet out my posts every so often, and being able to retweet other people was a bonus.  Unfortunately, retweeting other people has it’s pitfalls if you don’t implicitly trust everything a person would be tweeting in the first place.  And when you are retweeting a hashtag, unless you are making sure each hashtag retweet is appropriate, is just stupid.  And I was just that stupid . . . or lazy.  I don’t know which.  Whatever the case, a retweet of a hashtag completely blew up in my face.

It was weeks of stress and recriminations going on behind the scenes.  I am very grateful to friends I had built up along the way who were supportive of me and understood what happened.  I had to go and make apologies to many people who I didn’t intend on hurting.  And I tried to be as open about things as possible in order to make restitution.  While what ended up happening was not done through any intention, my lack of control over my content hurt people.  And that made me incredibly sad.  I tried to make restitution in whatever way I could.  I did whatever I could to make amends.  But as I said before, some sins you never quit paying for.

Things had seemed to settle down for a great deal of time.  I went about my business.  And I figured other people had gone about theirs.  Life seemed to return to normal for me.  I wrote for myself.  Sometimes I got some sponsored work.  And other times I was out there running my social media and just trying to make sure I could stay on top of things.  Until one day a friend of mine decided they would be kind and promote me somewhere.  And then my happy little world felt like it came crumbling.

Yes, I already had to deal with the potential loss of a ton of my blog posts very recently.  But dealing with blog posts, while traumatic, is a technical thing.  Dealing with people who have something against you, makes life infinitely worse.  Because then you don’t know the direction in which the attack comes, or what the kind of thing they will do to come after you, makes everything that much more stressful.

These people accosted my friend and told my friends all kinds of things about me, for which they had no real information other than to accuse me behind my back.  They spoke ill of me, and of everything about me.  It wasn’t in a straightforward way.  But in a way that challenged me behind my back.  They criticized me and proclaimed me all kinds of evils.  When my friend told me about this, it felt like someone had punched me in the gut and continued doing it.  Why would they do such a thing?  Who could do such a thing?  Was it all lies or half-truths?  Did I even know the people who were coming at me?

This took me a long time to process.  At first, I wanted to know who it was and whether they knew me.  Then I wanted to know what they said and where they were saying it.  And ultimately I wanted to figure out about what I could do to stop this being propagated.  It ate at me on the inside.  And honestly, it made me sick.  I could let it tear me apart.  I could not trust anyone.  But I could not trust any people.  And my friends I could hide away from for fear of betrayal.  It would be so easy to let it do so. But that would destroy me as a person.  I would need to do something else.

What did I do instead?  It all came down to five key realizations about life, truth, and everything in between which helped me get through this mess.  It may be true that some sins you never quite paying for.  But with these five realizations, I could find some sort of peace through it all.  And ultimately, peace is what anyone wants.  The following are my five keys to peace in the midst of chaos.


Five Keys To Peace In The Midst Of Chaos

1)  “Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying” – Shawshank Redemption

One of my favorite quotes from Shawshank Redemption, and it just makes too much sense not to use here.  When you have a decision before you, you can either be stuck where you are and find yourself dying on the inside, or you can get in motion and do something about the situation you are in.  This can mean change your perspective, or actually do something to help your situation.  If you allow yourself to just sit back, death is the only other answer.  Whether it means dying to yourself, or dying in real life, you only have death if you allow life to overtake you.  So be proactive, or the sins you never quit paying for might eat you alive.

2) “Life Moves Pretty Fast, If You Don’t Stop And Look Around Once In A While, You Could Miss It” – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ah, Ferris Bueller, the philosopher of our ages.  Well at least the early philosopher for a bunch of us in Generation X.  And he made perfect sense in this line here.  Yes, part of it equates to get busy living and get busy dying.  But it’s more than that here.  It means not only living but gaining an appreciation of everything we have going on in life.  If you cannot appreciate what you do have, then you will lose perspective when people come up to threaten you.  If you don’t know what you can lose, it will be easy to lose it.  You might just let it go.  So make sure you appreciate the things you have around you.

3) “Carpe Diem. Seize The Day Boys! Make Your Lives Extraordinary” – Dead Poet Society

With the loss of Robin Williams, we lost one of the worlds greatest comedians.  But he left a legacy of brilliant performances, none more so than the teacher of Dead Poet’s Society.  It’s not that people cannot confront you.  You can and will be confronted.  And you will have a lifetime of attacks.  Or as Shakespeare put it: “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”  Seizing the day is all about taking each day for the gift that it is, and make the choices that make today wonderful.  You cannot function worried about everything which could happen.  Those sins you never quit paying for will be there.  But you can only control what you will do from here on out.  And in so doing you prevent the chaos that the world throws at you.

4) “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” – Casablanca

While Casablanca has many more famous lines, nothing encapsulates the beauty of life more than this moment here.  When two people from different perspectives find common unity, a friendship grows.  And in friendship, we find the answers to all of life’s ills.  It’s the moment of putting aside one’s differences for the beauty of the common humanity we all have.  When we reach out to friends, they are the ones who help us through the most difficult situations, and the hardest of experiences.  While I have had people attack me here, and continue to have people attack me evidently, I am grateful for the friendships I have built.  It’s never about using another person.  It’s about finding the humanity in another human being and appreciating them for everything that makes them unique.

5) “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” –  Gone With The Wind

Interesting quote to end my list of five things I do to handle chaos.  But this truth from Gone With The Wind kind of encapsulates everything else.  Yes, we have to live.  And yes, we need friendships to get us through chaos.  We definitely need to appreciate everything we have.  Finally, we need to live each day to it’s fullest.  Even with all of those things, it really comes down to knowing whose opinion matters and whose doesn’t.

This means that you have to be happy with what you do, and not necessarily worry about what the world thinks of what you are doing.  You may feel the weight of your previous actions and the sins you never quit paying for.  Ultimately, the only person who you have to be happy with is yourself.  And so as long as you are doing the right things and know it, you will not fear what the rest of the world thinks.  Fear them and your past sins sink you.

Tying It Up In A Bow

It’s so interesting all the different lessons you can take from life.  I’m sure I could come up with a ton of other life lessons or great quotes which would lead to life lessons.  But it truly comes down to knowing who your friends are, having support, appreciating the things around you, and making sure you are pleased with the things you do in life.  Only once you have done those things can you handle the attacks which will inevitably come your way.  Only then will you survive the chaos.  Some sins you never quit paying for.  But those sins you can overcome with love, support, and being happy with the things you are and do.

I want to send a special shout out to the blogging friends which have helped me along in my journey and want to send a shout out to them to let them know they are appreciated and not taken for granted.  Here are some of my best blogging friends and people you should check out if you haven’t already:

Brandi – Author Brandi Kennedy

Cynthia – Kinda Silly Mommy

Ali – Veggies By Candlelight

Sondra – Cuisine And Travel

Ana – Faded Spring


Continue The Conversation

So what kinds of things do you do to handle when other people attack you?  What do you do to make sure you surround yourself with friends and not people hiding alternative agendas?  What are the best relationships you have made in your journey?  I would love to hear from you.

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Until next time, this is me signing off.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life