I grew up as a Preacher’s Son moving from city to city every few years and that in itself is a book I wrote that might see the light of one day.
The one thing I learned – rather harshly – was I could fight my way through anything. Enemies. Obstacles. You name it. I could use my will, my mind, talent, hard work and self-discipline and could carve a niche, find my place, raise myself up from the constant new kid status and defend my insecurities.
In junior high and for a few years in high school, it was basketball. I could channel my anger onto an asphalt court and use hours upon hours tossing a worn ball to a tired hoop to make something of myself. Eventually, I honed my game enough to find acceptance on the playground courts and earn a spot on the roster at two high schools.
When I quit sports, I began playing guitar. Again, if I was frustrated, I could practice and practice and, over time through blistered fingers, write songs, learn scales and, eventually, turn up the distortion and play loud performing in venues. Again, I could channel that anger or frustration constructively, instead of destructively. Music, like basketball, became my catharsis, a place to take anger, frustration and depression and turn it into something else. And, by it, making – in my mind – something of myself.
I used those same ideals through college when I felt challenged academically. I used them at work to climb my way up the ladder. I might fall down – heck I fell down many times – but I would get up and I would eventually triumph. That was the chip on my shoulder. A chip, but also a motivation, a defense against my seen enemies and my unseen ghosts of the pasts and as a motivation it worked.
Through time, I honed off the hard edges of the chip. Through Grace and Love given to me by God, through lessons taught by my wife and by friends, I wore off many of the jagged edges, but the impetus, the genesis of who I am in regard to this ‘fighter mentality’ was born 30 years ago and had become as much a part of the fabric of my being as the color of my eyes.
Then A was born
For the first time in my life. Ever. I could not change the situation. I could not work hard enough to replace the part of his chromosome that was missing. I could not outsmart it. I could not outthink it. I could not outwork it (I say that again to emphasize the mere frustration of it) I could not out-anything it. At the time, I felt I could not do anything to help the situation.
Self-defeat. Deflation. Depression. And the main word that surfaced in my vocabulary for the first time in my life: Impotent.
It was the day that I learned that I had nothing to give in many ways, and, at the same time, I had to give all I had to everything outside of myself to make the situation better.
It was the day that I learned that faith went to unimaginable depths and that talk of fate and destiny take on a different shade of meaning when they cease to be abstract.
It was the day I decided to work harder than ever before at what I could control, but at the same time I had no idea what I controlled anymore.
It was the new beginning
The framework of my life had been altered irrevocably. I had been transported to not only a different planet, but a different solar system where the very reality of physics and gravity had shifted under my feet.
I suppose it was the day faith died…but faith was reborn…even a seedling in a pile of shit..it was a day when things became more real…Politics, sports and entertainment sank into beyond paltry distraction…everything changed…. Time to get to work…it was time to figure out what I could change….