Posted by: joshjasper | December 22, 2014

It’s been a “great” year. Thanks for being a part of it!

I’ve glanced at how Facebook would review my last year and I have to say, it looks pretty cool.  There are photos of me doing what I love to do.  You can see me emceeing the Make-A-Wish fundraiser and presenting to professional wrestlers.  A bunch of us are at the local homeless shelter serving meals and there’s some great family photos mixed in throughout the year. I even managed to get a pretty cool award along the way.

What you don’t see though is the pictures of me sitting in my basement looking and feeling completely lost, trying desperately to find some direction in my life. I must have forgotten to post the pictures of when a partnership had eroded or when I opened the mail only to find yet another rejection letter from a grant that was written for Resources Unite. The Facebook year in review didn’t capture the emotional and physical pain that followed after tearing my Achilles tendon again. Thankfully the pounds that I packed on from being in a cast and from eating my stress away was also omitted from my timeline.

Truth be told, the last year has been the most difficult time in my entire life.  No other year in the last 40 comes even close.  I left Riverview Center certain that Resources Unite would soar with me finally investing all of my time and energy into our mission of connecting people to resources and volunteer opportunities. Instead of overnight success though, I was met with resistance. And a lot of it. There were some in our community that were going out of their way to derail our efforts. It’s been hard for me to not personalize every misstep and failure. Really hard. Like some, I focus on my shortcomings and minimize and often times totally disregard success. I am my own worst enemy.

One of the things Lila and like to do is to listen to music together. Sometimes we listen to our favorite songs on YouTube. Our absolute favorite is Shinedown’s remake of “Simple Man.”

“Be a simple kind of man.  Be something you love and understand.  Baby, be a simple kind of man. Oh won’t you do this for me son, if you can.”

We both have our own favorite parts of the song. She loves finding the little girl in the video and I love it when the lead singer begins to close the song with one last emphatic plea for us to find a simple way of life and to let go of everything else. We listen to the song a few more times and I’m able to better understand the last twelve months. I’m not ready to admit that everything has happened for a reason, but I’m starting to see what I am supposed to learn.

My life was far from simple in the past. I had lost sight of what and who is most important. I can’t please everyone. I will only disappoint. Instead of keeping everyone at an arm’s distance, I need to hold the people who I care most about close to the chest. They need to be my focus. People fail. It happens all the time. It’s what we take away from that experience that matters most. I’m not the only person that struggles. We all do. It’s selfish for me to think otherwise. And rather than keeping my struggle to myself for fear of showing weakness, I need to share it, knowing that my vulnerability will only strengthen my bond with others.

simple man



  1. Hi Josh, We spoke recently (I’m the former Dubuquer who teaches Sociology at Kirkwood) and I was so impressed with all you’ve done and hope to do with Resources Unite. I have to say that I’ve had a year very similar to yours, can relate to being ‘my own worst enemy,’ and definitely also need to not push away those dearest to me. So, two thoughts: 1) THANK YOU for writing this, and 2) you are correct that you are not alone. 🙂 Further, you reminded me (and probably many others) that they are not alone in similar struggles. My best to you in the new year and please do keep in touch if there are ways I could help with Resources Unite (I will continue to be in Dubuque much of the next few months via e-mail at Also feel free to view my own blog confessional (quid pro quo, right?) at: Take care, Sarah

  2. Thanks for the comment, Sarah! More importantly, thank you for sharing. It helps to share more when you know others sometimes feel the same way. Let’s definitely continue the conversation. I checked out your blog. Very cool! I’m excited to read more.

    Talk soon and happy holidays,


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