Everything Passes: 2015 in Review - A personal journey

Wow! What a year! It’s strange how emotions take a back seat to survival when you are in the thick of major trauma.

2015 was a year of not many highlights personally.

As the year draws to a close, we tend to review our year. We tend also wish we had it better. By viewing other peoples highlights on social media we tend to compare ourselves to them and it seems that their life perhaps looks like a beer commercial compared to yours. The new cars, houses, overseas trips, they seems to have it all, right?

This year I lost my human dignity, spending 58 days in jail in squalid awaiting trial conditions, I lost my house, cars, businesses, declared bankrupt and lost all earthly possessions. I was chastised and judged by the media and so called "friends". Often times, we take our lives and the little moments of happiness for granted. It is only when we are snatched of those things that we realise the value of everything while at the same time learning to live without them.

What if you lost everything you have today? What would keep you going on? Would you give up? Would you hold on to that tiny light at the end of the tunnel, which perhaps you can’t even see?  For the first time, I was face to face with shame and embarrassment. Now, I was one of “those” irresponsible people I had previously judged. 

In our culture, it’s considered frowned upon when things like this happen. Couples run away from other couples divorcing, neighbours turn their head as houses go into foreclosure or when you get evicted and fair-weather friends back away quickly. Rather than an opportunity to be the phoenix in rising, we’re viewed as contagious drama.

Instead of showing support and wise elders lending their ears, people in this culture back away and we are left to suffer alone with shame.

BUT this was also the year where I found salvation in God. The year where I was baptized and the year where my second child was born. So in that sense this was the best year ever. Its all about perception and how you view your situation. We tend to be grateful for the little things in life, when the material things have been taken away.

I read a quote the other day from Bear Grylls which inspired me after a bunch of failures this year.

"Savour the moments of sheer happiness like a precious jewel – they come unexpectedly and with an intoxicating thrill. But there will also be moments, of course, when everything is black – perhaps someone you love dearly may hurt or disappoint you and everything may seem too difficult or utterly pointless.  But remember, always, that everything passes and nothing stays the same… and everyday brings a new beginning, and nothing, however awful, is completely without hope. Kindness is one of the most important things in life and can mean so much. Try to never hurt those you love. We all make mistakes, and sometimes, terrible ones, but try not to hurt anyone for the sake of your own selfishness. Try to always think ahead and not backwards, but don’t ever try to block out the past, because that is part of you and has made you what you are. But try, oh try, to learn a little from it."― Bear Grylls, Mud, Sweat and Tears

Most of all, I learned that when we’re broken, we’re really just broken open. We are a seed that sits in the dark, damp earth waiting for spring. We alone decide in which direction to send our sprout once the season has turned.

I may not know the future but I know Him who holds the future.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2016.


Barry Oberholzer

Born in Houston, Texas, a former professional rugby player and current CrossFit and Ironman athlete, Barry  is the founder of TerrorMate app and is a counter-terrorism and intelligence expert. Formerly Barry served as a confidential informant for Department of Homeland Security, Joint Terrorism Task Force, Belgium Customs Intelligence and HM Revenue & Customs Intelligence in the United Kingdom. 

One of his most impactful successes was in his identification of Iranian sanction busting syndicates who smuggled US manufactured aircraft and parts to Iran which led to the arrests of several prominent international businessmen. He also had numerous successes in major illicit cigarette seizures in Europe.