"Soul Searching"
by Murphy

Disclaimer: This is number twenty-one in the Journal Series. Thanks to my Beta's. Becky Lovall, Sue Rice, Cindy (ForevaXena), and Taleweaver. Ex-Guards! You are the best! More fluff! Song by Pat Benatar. Deb! Love Ya!

"We forget why we are on this earth. We forget that there is a reason for all of the pain and all of the struggle. We forget that we were put on earth to learn something." ~Lynn V. Andrews~

"What allows us, as human beings, to psychologically survive life on earth, with all of its pain, drama, and challenges, is a sense of purpose and meaning. ~Barba"ra De Angelis~

"The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain." ~Aristotle~

"It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience." ~Julius Caesar~

"Let us pardon those who have wronged us. For that which others scarcely accomplish -- I mean the blotting out of their own sins by means of fasting and lamentations, and prayers, and sackcloth and ashes -- this it is possible for us easily to effect without sackcloth and ashes and fasting, if only we blot out anger from our heart, and with sincerity forgive those who have wronged us." ~St. John Chrysostom (345?-407)~

"Little do such men know the toil, the pains, the daily, nightly racking of the brains, to range the thoughts, the matter to digest, to cull fit phrases, and reject the rest." ~Charles Churchill~

"If I can stop one heart from breaking.... I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain... Or help one fainting robin into his nest again, I shall not live in vain." ~Emily Dickinson~

"Until the pain of remaining the same, hurts more than the pain of change, most people prefer to remain the same." ~Dr. Richard D. Dobbins~

"Pains of love be sweeter far than all other pleasures are." Dryden, Tyrannic Love IV.i

"Sorrow is better than laughter for by sadness of the countenance the heart is made better." ~Ecclesiastes 7:3~

"A poem . . . begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness . . . It finds the thought and the thought finds the words." Robert Frost

I heard you say "You feel like a change now"
Baby, baby this could be arranged now
But I warn you that no exotic scenery
Will solve your problems or make you feel easy
You say you’re happy, but I see apprehension
That little laugh of yours doesn't hide the tension
The precious book you clutch so tightly in your hands
Won't help you sleep nor iron out your plans
You've got to fight it out with your heart
You've got to fight it though it tears you apart
You've got to fight out my friend
You've gotta do it for yourself
You gotta say when
You ask advice then resent my observations
If I didn't care then I wouldn't make them
Can't change the past so why let it haunt you
Can paint the future, but first you have to want to
You've got to fight it out with your heart
You've got to fight it though it tears you apart
You've got to fight out my friend
You've gotta do it for yourself
And you gotta say when

Journal Entry:

Hello. Today has been a day of soul searching and choices. I am exhausted so this journal will be brief. I think what brought back all my guilt was dealing with Caesar once more. Xena and I had to rescue Vercinix from Caesar's clutches. He was an old friend of my wife’s, which was one reason we had to do it. Another reason for our fast rescue was the fact Caesar was involved. That name turns Xena into an irrational being.

Never in my life did I ever think I would be someone’s executioner. Xena had a plan to capture Crassus. He was sort of an ally to Caesar and also another Roman by the name of Pompey. Talk about ego, never thought any body would beat Julius at that. We were to trade Crassus for Vercinix. By the time the guards saw the Imperial ring, we would be sailing for home. Xena would make Caesar look like a fool once more. I found out that Crassus was a murdering bastard and I just couldn’t allow him to escape justice. So I took his ring. Caesar would have lost face if he had tried to stop the execution. Crassus was beheaded while I watched, well sort of. I heard it, just could not bring myself to look.

On they way back to Greece, Xena and I had a heart to heart. She once more took the blame, or tried to. Truth being, I would have been hurt if she left me out of the plan. We are a team. I thought that would be it, but my soul would not let me rest. I would close my eyes and all my pain would just crush my heart to the point that I could not breathe. The guilt was too much; it invaded my dreams as well as attacking my soul during the day. I could not sleep or eat and I knew Xena could feel my pain. So she went off one day and told Joxer and I to meet her by the Temple of Mnemosyne.

The temple is a place where you can forget your memories if you choose. Start a brand new life with no pain. Didn't realize my wife gave me a chance to end the pain until it was all done. She loved me so much; she was ready to set me free. I never thought I could love her more, but I do. I am very lucky to have her in my life. Joxer is also a very good friend. As I’ve said before, there are times he can make us want to kill him, but when we need him he never fails to be there. He is a good man and a dear friend.

Things are clearer now. Going through all the pain and finding the answer was the best thing I could have done. It’s funny how your own mind can play tricks on you. My mind came in the form of Ares, The God of War. He always came to me at those moments when I was at my weakest point, giving me the easy answers. Nothing is ever easy. I relived my betrayal of Xena when we were in Chin, all they way up to the death of Hope and Solan. My biggest pain was my betrayal. Jealousy is an ugly monster and I had it big time. Nearly got my wife killed and that had a great hold on my heart. Ares was more than happy to help me betray her also. I still owe him a favor and that scares me. Xena said we would deal with that when the time comes. I am hoping never. Yeah, right!

As much as my mind just wanted me to drink my memories away, I just couldn't do it. I wouldn't remember my childhood, my family, my friends, or past loves. Most of all, I would forget the most important person in my life, Xena. So I chose to deal with it and move on. My good memories are worth far more than the cost of losing the painful ones.

My wife confided in me later that I had been talking in my sleep, all my heart was laid out there and I did not even know it. What Xena must have gone through. She was curious how I made it to Chin ahead of her, yet never asked. She was blaming herself for a lot of this. We sat for hours after Joxer left and had a good talk, filled with tears and laughter. Is it too much for me to ask to have an easy time for a while? We’ve been through so much lately. I know, don't hold your breath bard! The Gods, Fates or whatever will be a pain in our backside for the rest of our lives. As long as Xena is with me, I will grin and cope with it.

For the first time in a very long time, I feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I know there will be more times where my will shall be tested. I just pray that I can find my way back. This made me stronger but I learned a lesson, albeit the hard way. Sometimes we just have to do it that way. It is nice to know that I have someone in my life who is there for me, to help, and who accepts my help in return. Now, it’s onto the next test.

Until tomorrow,




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