Friday, January 24, 2014

Overcoming Our Childhood

Very few of us escape our childhood unscathed. Recently I listened to someone share publicly that their most hidden secret was something they did in the first grade. I don't make light of it at all. There are many things in my childhood I would like to turn a switch in my brain and never have reappear again.I do not know where I once read this quote or who wrote it, but I have never forgotten it.

"You spend the rest of your life trying to escape your childhood." 

I once shared with my then teen age son that I believe one of the most unfair things in life is that teenagers must begin planning their future and make adult type decisions that can and probably will influence their adult life. Think about how young kids are today when the start taking PSAT & SAT's & deciding on a college. What major should they go for? They are still kids being asked to make adult type decisions and they for the most part are not equipped emotionally to handle it. Some are blessed to have great guidance and that is certainly an asset, though certainly not foolproof.

Lou Giglio spoke on this matter at Passion 2012 and he was funny but all so true. He started checking off the things young people were expected to do. Good grades, high SAT, pick a college & major, graduate, get a job, move out on your own.....

Looking back at that time period for me was a way different story. I was in high school and along with two partners my marijuana dealing reached a point where we were buying it in fifty pound allotments. We were pretty much for a period of time the biggest dealers on our side of town. I routinely had several hundred dollars in my pocket and life was a party pretty much every day of the week. Was I equipped to understand the repercussions when I came home to six narcotic officers and being the headline on the six o'clock news? No.

My record was clean up to that point so I escaped prison barely. I had a two year suspended sentence hanging over me and you would think the fear in me would keep me from ever wanting to deal again. Oh, I had no illusions about stopping my partying and especially my marijuana smoking. I did every drug available but marijuana was my God. I worshiped it. I was convinced that anyone not spending their life stoned was missing out. I use to say that if I had preached the Gospel as fervently as I touted the benefits of pot half the town would have been saved. Of course I jest, slightly. 

I went back to dealing, though far more careful. Rarely was I involved in the transaction. I just hired people. And where did I get the money? My parents went to California and left me with $150 for grocery money. I bought one pound of pot. By the time they came home six weeks later I had over a thousand dollars and the fridge was full of food.

Why would I risk all this? Being a marijuana dealer was my identity. I lost it when I was going to court and had no money, no power, little of anything worthwhile. Strangely many of the friends I thought I had turned away when I no longer had a couple of grand in my pocket.

So I had to go back to the life that I knew, that defined me. It was about one year after my reentry into the life that my two partners were busted on a ship with tons of marijuana. I should have been on that ship that was a set up before they ever left the local dock. My life at nineteen would have been virtually destroyed. Considering my prior conviction I would have probably been sent away for up to ten years.

There is but one reason I was not on that ship. During that year I was walking down the street one night looking up at the sky and I felt a whoosh from head to toe, followed by a voice, "Come and admit you are wrong. Come and sing my glorious song."

I have wrestled with this calling. Why me? Why not the other two guys? I have little answers. Maybe my mom's prayers? My Little League Baseball Coach, Ed Wilson who took a chance on me when most people shunned me?

Sometimes today as I write this blog I feel a little guilty. I didn't deserve this. I turned away from God for decades. Oh, I would speak to him at night, usually in anger with horrible cursing at him for making me a part of this damnable life. I think I came out of the womb angry.

Here I am today with a beautiful wife and a long sought after book deal. Somehow my childhood has been overcome. Oh, I have flashes of youthful memories just as the speaker I alluded to in the beginning of this story shared. But they don't haunt me any longer and there are many far worse than what I have shared.

The identity of being a dealer and all the other identities I thought were truly me. They were all lies.
I am deceived no longer. My identify is clear. I belong to Jesus Christ. I am his child, even his friend. 

Think about that. I am not talking religion. My friend and pastor Jim once said, "Jesus did not like hanging out with religious people either. He came to the sick. He came to me. He will come to you. He is as real as he was that night he showed himself to a lost, sick, troubled, young man.

Disclaimer  :) I sat down thinking I was going to write something entirely different.

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