Where I Came from and Who it Made Me.
So you want to know a little bit about me? I really don’t know how to describe myself, honestly. I’ve been called a lot of things in my time, some good some bad, but the one recurring description I hear over and over again is that I am “Complicatedly enigmatic”. That’s been both a good thing and a bad thing. To be perfectly honest I don’t see myself any other way than just the average guy. The salt of the earth so to speak. Sure, I’ve lived a little bit different from most folks but when you open me up I’m pretty normal.
I’m a Red-Blooded, Gun totin’, Son of the South with a little Irish/Indian (Woo Woo, Not red dot) ancestry.
I grew up the son of a Banker/Southern Baptist Deacon so as an adolescent I learned a great deal about discipline. I learned that it’s important, I learned to adhere to it, I learned to respect it and I also learned to loathe it. I cannot even begin to quantify what the hatred of discipline in my life has cost me.
Growing up in a small bedroom community 25 miles east of the City of Atlanta I had a similar childhood to most children of the 80’s – Bad clothes, bad hair and fair music. I was raised on Sunday morning Sunday School, Sunday after church supper, which usually included my Momma’s homemade biscuits or cornbread, chicken (fried), Steak (country fried) with gravy, potatoes of some sort and macaroni and cheese with all the rest of what the Deep South has to offer.
From an early age I learned to serve others and respect my fellow-man. My parents, great Godly people, taught me how to Love, live, learn, laugh and Fear God. I fell in love early on with college football and the University of Georgia, Country music, the outdoors and girls of all shapes and sizes. Dirty ball caps, roughed up boots, ragged jeans, pickup trucks and a burning a fire (More on the fire later) have also tainted my heart.
Adulthood has been a conglomeration of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly…”The Good Ole GBU” as long time local sports caster, Chuck Dowdle, used to proclaim in a weekly sports segment. There’s been lots of the good, more of the bad and immeasurable ugly. I was a little late to the party when it came to rebellion. Most kids decided to turn it all loose while still in high school, but not me. I harnessed a healthy fear of my father and until I decided to set out on my own I was pretty straight. Not that I didn’t imbibe or climbed across a few moral fences at times but I wasn’t ready for what the world had to offer once I sailed into the rolling seas of independence.
As a young man I decided that Athens, Ga. was where I wanted to plant myself and take up roots. It was a LOT of fun, lively, never the same and full of people my age spreading their wings for the first time. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to become so embedded in a town and it’s culture. Quickly becoming the life of everyone’s party and I felt as if I had fostered a persona for myself of local celebrity. Through this lifestyle my worldview changed dramatically. The lifestyle is what I fell in love with. On the morning of December 10, 1998 that love affair ended in a DUI arrest. I crested the mountain top that day and started an ugly decent.
After my arrest my life plunged into a vicious cycle of depression, anxiety, anger, fear and lack of faith in God. I used meaningless relationships, alcohol, selfishness, money, pride and lies to cover the guilt and emptiness that consumed me. My self-worth being as low as I could ever imagine I had resigned myself to living a life full of depression and anxiety. Life would always be this way so why bother trying to fix it right? One failed relationship after another, one failed business deal after another, one failed attempt to “Fix myself” after another ……………simply failed. I had power over nothing.
Finally in the fall of 2010 I came face to face with reality. The reality that I had lived in denial for over a decade. I was 35 years old and there was absolutely nothing of value to show for who I’d become. I was broke, both in a worldly sense and more importantly spiritually. I contained no spiritual equity and less than a mustard seed of faith. Once that epiphany struck me I realized that my life is way to important to waste. Not only for me but the people who have invested parts of their lives in me.
Out of sheer desperation I reluctantly asked a friend where he attended church. That, my friends, is one of the most important questions I have ever uttered. I was lead to a body of believers (Eastridge Community Church) that has taken me in, nurtured me, invested in me, Loved me and more importantly lead me back to my faith in Jesus Christ. I’ve been attending for over a year and I’ve grown significantly. But that doesn’t mean my life is a bowl of cherries. The one thing I’ve learned is that life is pretty hard and it’s hard all the time. My challenges are significantly more challenging these days. However, through my faith in Jesus Christ comes a peace like no other. That leads me back to that tiny mustard seed for which I cling to today…
20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
From this day forward I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.