I have been in pain all my life. I was born with it. But, you know, pain is strange. We are all different and we are all different at various times in our lives. I can remember being in pain and having a fantasy where I went into my bedroom, put sad music in the CD, turned off the lights and drank myself senseless as I watched it rain outside my window. Alas, I wouldn't drink myself senseless and I suspect it wouldn't work anyway. Ahhhhh, escapism. Dreams are such strange and funny things. My invisible friend ... Here I am .. I'm there in your computer screen and you are in mine. When we touch, if we dare touch, it is through our keyboards. I need you my friend. Oh, I know that logic would suggest that we don't know each other and therefore cannot be friends. Not true! We share an ethereal and unbreakable bond called human suffering. I want to tell you what makes me cry. Will you listen? I cried when I was 19 and Clara Gail looked at me with those big beautiful brown eyes and said, "I don't love you any more." Oh, you would have never known anything had happened for more than an hour. Then, in a crowded room, full of laughter and animated conversation, my heart broke. It broke into a million pieces. I cried like a little child and was powerless to stop it. I cried last year when, in an unexpected moment, I realized that all of the dreams of my youth were gone. That they could never live in my heart again. Forever too late. Yes, my friend, I needed you that day. I cried last week when I realized that I was the luckiest guy who ever lived. Something changed inside of me. I wish that you had been there and that I could have shared it with you. Can I tell you what makes me laugh? I know it's bad form, but I laugh at my own stories (many of which you have not seen). I have awakened my wife dozens of times with silly laughter as I lay in bed and thought of a new paragraph. I want to share my life with someone who understands someone like me, a sufferer. Someone who, like me, sometimes feels that their illness has isolated them, made them so incredibly alone. I want to talk to somebody, who like me, is frightened. Frightened by the ferocity of their life. Who, like me, sometimes trembles and tries to hide it. You know what I think? I think that life will give us many opportunities to run away, but that we can never escape ourselves. Since it seems to be our destiny to suffer and that there is no escape, will you stand with me? Together, we are greater than ourselves, alone. I want to tell you what makes me love. A long time ago, there was a little girl. She was a beautiful little girl, only, her beauty was a curse. One night, as she lay in her bed in a drafty old farmhouse she prayed. Only children can pray like she did, so earnestly. "Please God! Help me. He's coming. Make him go back down the hall. Please God!" How can a father injure a child so? My God, was he never a child himself? Didn't his father chase away the monsters from under his bed? Didn't he feel that warm, secure feeling in the arms of his father? Oh, my friends, I am crying as I type this. It is so unfair! Unfair that little children can be hurt so terribly. Well, a little time passed. It was a beautiful, windswept summer day on the Caprock. The little girl walked in a cotton field and she prayed. Night came again as it always does. There were foot steps in the hall again. The little girl whimpered, "Oh no! He's coming!" Poor little girl, her eyes were full of tears.I reached out and took her into my arms and said, "It's alright. I won't let anyone hurt you. It's OK now." The little girl said to me, "I know you. You are the one I asked God to send to me. You are the one that He promised. Someone to love me." She said this, but we had never seen each other before . I could not understand. Years pass. That night became just a memory. I gained no new understanding of what she said to me. Not long ago, I spoke to that little girl and looked into her grown up eyes. She said to me, "I recognized you. You are the one that God promised to send. You are the one He sent to love me." I could not understand. Last week, I was driving down a busy freeway in Dallas and it came to me. I understood. After all these years, I understood. When you reach out to someone who needs you to hold them, to help them, to protect them .... you are LOVING them. That is LOVE in it's most elegant form. It is so simple, my invisible friend. Inside of me, there lives a 12 year old boy. He is terrified and suffering. He is stricken by a hideous disease called OCD. He is me. I cannot help him. I can't. Will you reach out for him? Will you hold him in your arms and tell him that everything will be OK. Will you promise him that you won't let anything hurt him? Can you? Could you? I think you can. Your heart and tender feelings will have to substitute as arms, but there's nothing wrong with that. Your words will have to be your presence. I'm the luckiest guy in the world because God put me in the right place and time to help a beautiful little girl. I will be forever grateful. Now, I am humbly before you, offering you the same opportunity. Different story? Impossible task? Then, my friend, you don't understand yet. I know the feeling. We also can never escape the truth. It's just very hard to see sometimes.