(Found by Sherri L. Smith)
This is my personal Journal; the one that I'm required to keep as a member of the Legacy remains in my room at the Legacy House. Within this Journal are my private thoughts and feelings -- unlike the other one in which I detail the facts of the cases we encounter with only a little of my personal perceptions. This Journal is for me. My own personal record of my struggle against evil. T
Should another member of the Legacy find this Journal someday -- and no doubt they will -- don't misunderstand me. Don't think that I've shirked my duties to the Legacy. I do write and detail my perceptions and the events of every case in the required Journal. However, as time goes on, I find that I need more of a release than what I have written in there. Therefore, I "confiscated" (for lack of a better, more accurate word) another leather-bound book and have begun this Journal.
I need this Journal ... something to contain my greatest fears, my darkest thoughts -- something I can be totally honest with. Yes, I've got my friends -- associates -- and my family to talk to, but quite often people show the face they wish others to see and not the one that is. Here, I can show the one that is without fear of repercussions. I'm locked in an internal struggle and I'm not sure I'll survive!
Obviously, I'm troubled or I wouldn't have felt the need for a "personal" Journal. But I don't mean "trouble" in the "insane" or "disturbed" sense of the word -- although God knows any of us in the Legacy have a right to be -- I mean it in the sense that I don't like what's happening to me; the longer I remain a member of the Legacy ... the deeper my involvement goes. Then again, quitting is not an option for me; it never has been and can never be.
Skimming over what's been written so far I realize I'm rambling. It's just so hard to stay focused on what I took this book for -- which was to record what I'm afraid is happening to me. It all wants to come spilling out in a rush and I just can't write that fast. So, I'll begin as best I can with the facts -- just like with the other, legitimate Journal.
I became a member of the Legacy because I had to be; somewhere inside me, I knew I had to be! Whether it was because I was striving for perfection, following in my families footsteps, feeling the internal need to fight for righteousness, whatever -- whatever -- drew me to the Legacy, I know that I belong here. Ultimately, it was I who chose it years ago and, although like most members of any of the Houses, I've come to regret that decision a million times over, I would make the same one today if I had to.
But being a part of the Legacy changes people. I see it in the others that I work with everyday. I see their personal struggles, their family pressures and problems, how the Legacy seeps into their own "alone" time, and I know that we are all wrestling with the same or similar "demons" -- to use a cliché. I wonder if the others think it's worth the price we all must pay?
The "others" I'm referring to are the members of the Legacy House I belong to. I consider the members of my House to be my family; closer than my own personal family, to be honest. And, sometimes, that in itself can be a problem. But, again, I'm getting ahead of myself. This might be where I want to end up, but it's going to be a jumbled mess if I keep flipping between what is now and what was; between who I fear I am now and who I had wanted to be.
So, the bottom line is, any Hell I go through, I choose to go through -- and, until my death, will continue to go through -- as a member of Legacy. But my family -- those closest to me -- did not make the same choice I did; they merely have to live with it. How ironic to follow your gifts, talents and heart on the path of righteousness and end up in a living Hell!
All of the members of our House have family -- and I've seen the others put their family members last, be cross or curt with them, or be extremely neglectful of their needs. But, when I see these traits in myself, I find it repulsive and very disturbing. It shakes me to the core of who I am; therefore, this Journal was born.
Am I making sense? I read what I've written and I sound mad -- completely out of my mind without a complete thought in my head -- and yet, I am struggling to keep this Journal accurate and explain the reasons for it, for I know somehow -- maybe by "Second Sight" -- that it will be found and read someday. Perhaps my personal struggle will save anothers soul?! I want to be understood. The Legacy is my life, it was my salvation and purpose in life, and it will be my undoing. I know that now more than ever!
But, this point must be made clear ... to leave the Legacy is unthinkable. Let me repeat that -- to leave the Legacy is unthinkable. I know that I'll die here ... perhaps (hopefully?) it will be soon before I become even more dangerous than I "think" I am. I am a member ultimately because I believe in the Legacy and all it stands for. Did I say that before? I believe that what we do as an Organization is right and I must be involved in things that are right. I've always been a perfectionist and, working here, perfection is the only option that counts.
However, with each new case -- each endeavor -- I find myself losing myself. Not to fear ... never to fear -- how could you even think that? But I am losing that "righteous" person I'd wanted to be. With every brush with evil, I've felt myself changing for so long now ... God help me!
I'm better now. I had to take a quick nip of brandy -- just to steady my nerves. As I said earlier, everything wants to come spilling out all at once and taking a deep breath and a strong drink has helped steady my nerves and focus my thoughts. And wait just one minute! Don't be thinking -- 'Oh, now I see what the problem really is ... it's alcohol' -- because that's not it at all! The problem is evil -- pure and simple ... EVIL!
Yes, I do drink. I don't know a member of the Legacy (past or present) who doesn't from time to time. But, to excess ... NO! In fact, before I'd actually joined the Legacy, the most I ever use to drink was a little wine at dinner and an occasional beer with friends from school, etc. So, no drinking isn't the problem and I don't want to talk about this anymore.
But, now that I think about it. The first time I had ever had brandy was right after a mission I was sent on. I had been sent by the Precept of the House (at that time) to handle something on my own -- which was not usually the way we operated (or how we operate today for that matter!) and so I almost didn't make it out of that particular situation alive.
Needless to say, I was angry and upset when I returned after that case -- wouldn't you have been? -- and, after having some choice words with my so-called friend and mentor, I poured myself a long, tall brandy and spent the rest of the night nursing it down. So, if anyone ever does want to discuss my drinking habits, let's remember where I really acquired a taste for it, OK?!
Just remembering that time has my blood boiling. And, that wasn't the only time I was expected to handle a dangerous situation alone! Well, alright, most of the time, it was my choice. I wanted to handle it alone sometimes. But that's not the point! It seemed like the better I became at my "job", the more I was (and am!) called on. And, the more I'm called on, the more dangerous it becomes. I remember another time when I was working alone on a case .....
... All I remember feeling was anger -- anger and bitterness; angry at having been alone, at having been deceived by Maggie, and at not having my associates -- my friends -- with me to share my triumph. And I felt bitter -- bitter at having my life placed in danger while my "so-called friends" were safe in their beds; at having to hurt someone when I try so hard to avoid violence; at feeling nothing but regret for being a member of the Legacy when I was trying to do the right and righteous thing!
Thinking about it now, I wonder ... are the people I "work" with -- the other members of my House -- truly my friends or are they merely "my associates"? I've treated them better than family (didn't I mention this before?). But, I've gotten to the point lately where I don't feel like I really know them. Even worse, I've gotten to the point where I don't really trust them. They're so damned secretive -- always keeping to themselves -- and I wonder what they're really up to.
God, what am I saying?! OF COURSE, they're my friends! We're all secretive because we're all fighting our own private demons. I just took another little nip of brandy; it really does help me get my thoughts under control and relax. What I guess I'm getting at is that as close as we -- the Legacy members -- are, there is still so much we don't know about one another. Would any of them ever look at me the same if they really knew who I am and what I do?! Doubtful.
But, then again, I accept them for who they are, don't I?! So, they should just accept me and be done with it. All the secrecy -- the deceptions -- they're uncalled for! The worst of the times is when I see someone close to me -- either a family member or an outside friend -- closely whispering to one of my "so-called friends" (associates!). They have no right to talk behind my back! They have no right to conspire against me!! My God, what's happening to me?!?
I had to leave for a while. Even the brandy wasn't working. Hardly anything is working anymore! So, I went for a walk and ended up in a little church I go to sometimes to pray. Yes, I do pray!! I've always found it so comforting to be there, to light a candle, to kneel before my Maker and just talk to Him. It's always brought me peace and it brought it to me tonight. It gave me the courage to come back and continue this Journal.
But, it also reminded me of conflict. No, not of the conflict that I'm currently undergoing, but the conflict all Legacy members must go through at one time or another. And really, it isn't "a conflict" so much as "a choice". yes, I know we've already covered "choice" early in my personal Journal -- the fact that I chose to be here -- but it was the making of that choice tonight's stop at church reminded me of. I remember .....
... And, as I said before, leaving is unthinkable. But I've also regretted the decision to stay a member each and every day since that time.
I believe that God did place me here to fight evil; He created a need to be righteous and to strive for perfection in my soul. But, did He realize that I would never obtain either of these goals?! Is it His ultimate joke on me that I should become the very thing I fight against -- the very thing I detest most in life?!? Is that all I am to Him -- a pawn? A piece to be played with at His amusement? How could you do this to me? I only wanted to serve you?!
Well, I've returned to having a few more nips of brandy and am feeling much better now. I re-read some of what I've written here and think that maybe I am mad (or at least a little insane). But then, isn't everyone? And, when you deal with death and life after it on a daily basis -- wouldn't it make you a little less sure of things too?
I notice I speak often of my need for righteousness and perfection and I've been trying to think about how I got that way. I guess it goes back to my childhood, to the values that my father (and perhaps his father before him) instilled in me. I think how dangerous the idea of those values can be to a troubled heart and yet they are the values I've tried to pass on to others in my life.
I, myself, can be secretive, distrusting of those close to me, neglectful of the ones I love, easily provoked into a rage (and I generally hate violence!), and yet I strive for righteousness and perfection in myself and in others -- especially in others! I will not accept these secretive and deceptive traits in others! My rule is, 'The closer you are to me, the more perfect and righteous you must be!' But, constantly, family and friends (co-workers? associates?) disappoint me.
So, in the end I've tried to lead my friends (and family) by example -- by showing decisiveness (even if it is rashly made sometimes!) and bravery. I've dived headfirst into whatever case comes up no matter what the danger might be. And do you think it's been appreciated? I don't! What's happening to me? Oh God, help me to hold on to my sanity!!
I must stop taking these little nips soon; I can barely feel the pen in my hand as I watch it drift across this Journal. Am I making myself clear? Do you understand that I love the Legacy and hate it at the same time?? Do you know that it is the best thing that's happened to my life -- and it's also destroyed my life and any chance I had of happiness?!
Focus, damn it! I am being seduced by evil. No, not by being "possessed" by a demon from Hell, and not with 30 pieces of silver to betray my Lord, but by "evil" itself, but by the evil that can possess mankind's spirit and soul. Oh God, how could you allow this to happen to someone who only wants to be righteous and perfect?!
What I'm trying to tell (confess?) in this Journal is that, no matter how hard I've tried to be righteous and perfect, I've not only missed the mark but I've fallen prey to the evil that exists in the world. It set a trap and walked into it with my eyes wide open! My father had always expected so much of me that I'd come to expect it too. I remember one case where my "leadership qualities" were put to the test when .....
... I remember that I didn't feel much like laughter at that moment. I felt very much like I'd been humiliated and again, like I didn't quite belong to (in?) the Legacy the way others within it do. All I wanted to do was be right(eous)!! Was that so much to ask, God? Couldn't I have been the hero??
But, again, I've lost the focus. One more little sip and that's it; has to be, the decanter I brought with me is empty! Looking back, I wonder why leaving the Legacy has been so forbidden in my mind -- why it is so unthinkable. Not only have I risked my own life, but what about my family's lives? Surely, I must be responsible for them. Surely that is the righteous thing, isn't it?
Thinking of my family now only brings a new rage upon me. Can I really trust my family?? What a terrible thought and yet I live with it every second of every minute of every day! I see an associate talk to a member of my family and hatred -- pure, rating hatred -- flows through me. Are they deceiving me behind my back? Are they trying to get rid of me?? What are they up to?
NO!! This is how this madness is getting ahold of me! I allow these doubts, these thoughts, this bitterness to creep in and it seduces my soul, it eats at my mind and heart and it leaves nothing -- nothing -- left! I am changing and even writing this Journal isn't stopping that fact!!
Can you understand that I don't want to change ... that I want to be a good, decent, loving person who does the righteous and perfect thing?? I was raised to be obedient, loyal, brave and to always respect (and if possible protect) others. How has my involvement with the Legacy somehow changed that?? I remember when I was a child growing up .....
... NO! I won't let any of this be blamed on my old man. He wasn't perfect, he wasn't righteous, he was just a man! It might've taken me years to see that, but I know that now. Besides, I think people who ignore and neglect their children are far worse than those who are strict or a little tough on them from time to time.
If your child is out of control, how right is that?! No, I think strong discipline -- tempered with love, of course -- is called for. People in society make discipline sound like "child abuse". 'Don't spank that kid, you'll hurt 'em.' 'Hitting your child doesn't solve anything.' Yeah, right!
But if you don't demand loyalty, if you don't demand righteousness, if you don't demand perfection, how are you ever going to get it?!? Children must be taught -- sometimes the hard way -- to listen, to behave properly and to do what is right. If you can teach them this, the world will be a better place. And, isn't that ultimately what the legacy is about -- making the world a better place?
I wonder now -- why did I think I needed this Journal? Why was I so worried?? Thinking about how I react to things and how my comrades do, I realize that I am probably the only sane one in the group. Evil hasn't touched me! What was I thinking? I am a righteous person -- the things I've done are to help make the world a better place!
... NO! I can't live with this! This kind of behavior can't be righteous!! It has to be evil to strike someone down so viciously -- to cause broken ribs and bones, to bruise appendages, to bloody a face -- God help me ... what have I done?! What have I become?
Reading this Journal from the beginning, I now realize that I am insane -- completely and totally mad -- that I've lost all touch with human decency. I'd like to blame the Legacy (oh that would be so easy, wouldn't it?), but I know now that I cannot. As I said in the beginning, I chose this path. I can only blame myself; I've been touched -- and have succumbed -- to evil!
I think of things I've done ... the lies I've told to friends and loved ones, the pain I've caused my family, the unspeakable evil that I've done to those close to me ... and I realize that who I am now is a monster -- the very evil I've fought against! I realize that the person I had wanted to be -- a loving, gentle husband; an attentive and caring father; a righteous man; and a good and decent friend -- don't exist within me anymore.
Evil has won another battle, but I pray not the war. You see, "true" evil is not some demon from the depths of Hell, but the demon that lies inside us that we can't contain. "Pure" evil is not some hideous creature, but the horrible things we humans do to one another without consciousness or thought. Lying, stealing, cheating ... yes -- oh yes -- even drinking (especially when it leads to abusing!) are the true definitions of "evil".
And so, you must understand, whatever case I undertake next for the Legacy will be my last. It has to be. I have to find a way to stop the evil that is growing inside me -- the evil that I've become!! God forgive me!
This Journal belongs to ....