Struggle(d) Chapter 1 part 3

Soon, anger would turn to bitterness and over time towards his end, it would all turn to final acceptance. At that moment, he started becoming a wonderful person but it was too little too late it seemed at the time. 18 years of torture and abuse with 2 years of good behavior? Yeah, it doesn’t equal out does it?

It was everyday that I heard what a worthless pile of crap I was, how terrible I was and how I was just a loser. It was everyday at school that I would take crap and get beat up because my mother worked her fingers to the bone to provide even just a little bit of stuff for us. If she was late, dad would scream till 5 in the morning at her. He always accused her of having affairs. Oddly, even those preachers who spout only about affairs generally are the guilty. Something about reflecting or some such psychobabble. In real life though, it doesn’t matter that he saw the world this way, it only mattered that he took it out on us. So, here we are with a paralyzed dad, a very tired and worn out mother and being caught in poverty.

I had no defence as a child. I had a few things going for me however. Some Outliers if you will. I had the opportunity to witness first hand pain, anguish, empathy, loneliness, longing, human motivation, psychology, bad parenting and other such important themes in my life. So, it seems I would become a psychopathic killer with serial tendencies towards brutality. Instead, with help and the proper guidance, I have sought to help people with disabilities and to learn how to be someone who is awesome at home. Well, honestly trying to be. I would rather be awesome to them than the rest of the world. But perhaps, I can still do both. Awesomely. That’s my goal. I digressed.

Here was I, a nerdy, four eyed, poor kid who was super skinny and had no confidence taking on a world of children who had good looks, good parents and money. I didn’t stand a chance of winning any contest especially concerning the class favorite. To top it off, my teachers would expect greatness from me when I couldn’t even see it for myself. They would call me to spool the video with no proper instruction. I would have no clue so the class would laugh and laugh. Then I would have to ask and feel like an idiot when it was a simple thing. Then the rest of the kids would make fun of me unrelenting through the week. This would be my hell away from hell till late middle school.

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Struggle(d)

Chapter 1
So there I sat, bored and complacent and wanting a new life. I had no idea which direction to go, I just knew I was tired of struggling. Tired of struggling to pay bills, fix vehicles, train children to stop fighting, struggling for gas money to even get to work. Tired of all of it. I wanted out. I wanted a new way to view things and an opportunity to move on to a different struggle. One where there was money enough to make ends meet and maybe to live a little. One struggle that would leave me happy and unconcerned if the kids busted some gadget. One struggle where I could be at peace with without freaking out or being angry. One different struggle than I currently knew.
I was tired from day one when my life started. I was caught up in the same cycle that my parents were and their parents were and so on. Not only did I have to figure out a way to break that cycle eventually, like many, but life saw fit to handicap me with someone elses handicap. My father’s to be exact.

He was a good man, but I couldn’t admit that to myself for thirty three years. Thirteen of those years were spent without him because of his untimely death. Or timely. I’m not sure which. But he, in spite of being a good man, led in bad ways and did bad things. I separate the two now. I mean, which one of us could look around and say we are perfect, never hurt anyone, never got angry and yada yada. Zero. Some even look around and say, hey, I can do what I want, It’s my life, I don’t need you in it… blah blah. Oddly enough, yes, it is our life, the kick comes from the fact that what we do matters to others.

For instance: imagine if you will a time and a place where you were supposed to do something for someone but could not. Or, think back to a moment where you got angry or upset with someone and perhaps blew a few words of anger at them. Did that just hurt them, you or others? You see, it is not so much what we do as to how it affects others. We don’t get to simply say, that this life is ours. There is a ripple effect.

Homeless

At one point in my late 20’s I had to make a choice. To get rid of my dog or go homeless. I did what any country boy would do. I read Where the Red Fern Grows as a kid so I went homeless. Winter, freezing, homeless. I was lucky enough to have enough friends and a vehicle that I didn’t have to sleep on the streets but I sure do understand some part of what the homeless get to enjoy (sarcasm).

Sometimes we too get a taste of a certain thing or event but we don’t get to witness it as some less fortunate who live it. Day in day out they are homeless. They don’t have a vehicle or caring friends or any of that. They don’t have food or a shelter or medical care.

Is this the poor and fatherless that we are to reach out to? I think so. Sometimes being poor is just also being ill equipped to face the world in a good manner. Sometimes being poor is not being hungry for food but for knowledge. Sometimes we have to be Wrecked as Jeff Goins discuss in his same titled book.

So, we see people on our block who are yelling at their kids, screaming at their spouse and can’t keep their yard spotless. What should we do to help? We could offer to take their kids to church, clean their house, or offer the couple a date night. A much nicer thing than judge them and ignore them and their problems. So, remember this, some people had crappy role models and don’t know how else they could go about raising their kids, being married or taking care of their stuff. Go help them out. Go volunteer to them. They will probably turn you down but you keep trying.

I was fortunate, many others are not. I still fail as a human and as a parent and as a husband but nobody bothers to give me pointers or help out by watching the kids. It ticks me off so I finally wanted to say something about this and get it off my chest. I’m that guy that yells at his kids and I’m sorry to them for that. My father beat the snot out of me and belittled me. I’m glad I’m not doing that. But, seriously people, go without judgement and help those who sure need it. It doesn’t even have to be with money. Sometimes the little things change people more than money. Time and lack of judgement and love do God’s work quite nicely.

Butchering and training wheels

Training wheels mark a milestone. They tell us that we are allowed to advance because we have a competency and balance required of us. The whole thought of having the safeguards in place until the time where they need to be removed. The time comes when they inhibit our growth and future progress. I’m not referring to removing the saw safety guards or something dangerous. I’m referring to things such as training wheels, padding, helmets, cut gloves…etc. I think we all hit that time where we just need to move forward because we are ready. I have noticed personally that if I’m not ready to do something, I will not be able to.

In my case, I have been writing songs for twenty two years now and I’m compiling my personal besties to record an album. I have been prohibited from doing so due to the fact that I had no keyboard to produce drum beats. So as of today, I am the proud owner of a broken keyboard that I tinkered with and hardwired to repair. I found a solution. Whenever I hit that level of growth, I’m excited times ten and two. I achieve and happiness and joy greets me. It is a proving ground for me.

When I was younger I would mark great milestones with a Nintendo and these games called Gunsmoke, Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, Contra and 1942. I loved every minute of it, minus my father screaming at me if I missed a jump or failed to kill a goombah with Mario. One time, he was so pissed off that he reached out and busted me so hard that I saw stars. All because I couldn’t get Link to destroy this ghost in the labrynth. That day, I gave up all video games period. I suppose he did me a favor later in life because I didn’t become addicted to that but I stopped pushing past those things like that to get my training wheels off. What I should have been taught by my father is that no matter what I do, I’m still loved and it’s going to be ok. Whether I succeed or fail, that he still loved me. Instead, I learned to keep far enough out of arms reach just in case. I don’t think I ever got real close to him again. I was a boy reaching out to make an attempt to remove my training wheels. To grow.

Yesterday then, came as quite the shock when our awesome 6 year old daughter just out of nowhere picked up the little red bike without training wheels on and VOILA! Just rode it up and down the sidewalk. No helmet, no fear and nothing but bike tires chomping on pavement. It made me swell with great pride. It just gave me pure joy. Today, we went and got her a helmet because starting this morning at 7 in the a.m., we were asked politely if she could go ride. That is amazing.

That is what I could’ve been doing twenty years ago had I not let someone steal my competitive drive. I am not a victim. I am someone who learned more about people growing up than I wanted to. I never want to mistake my kids enthusiasm for a chance to stop them in their tracks. I pray daily that I’m not him and that I am doing the right thing. Somedays I feel all mean to the children because I have to give them a time out for crossing boundaries or drawing on the walls or breaking things but I know that if not corrected, even a rose will grow ugly. I try to correct them vastly different than I was corrected. Now you, the reader, knows more about why I don’t tinker with stuff very often. That inner parent is screaming and hitting me. I hope that you as people never ever destroy your childrens wonder or drive or life giving energy. I hope the same for me.

I am glad however that my kids are forgiving because I have been a wretch in the past to them. I always thought I was going to be a good father until they showed up. Then I worry fervently and frequently if I am capable. Here, a man with a short temper, no patience and a very misguided parenting style have come to try each and every day to be the best dad I can. I can do nothing but through Christs strength in me to rise above all this. If it wasn’t for His great mercy and grace, I would still be just another wife-beating, drug doing, alcohol imbibing son of a. So, for those who fail like me alot, I pray for you to be better through Christ. For those who don’t know the reformative transformation that is being redeemed, I pray for you too. It is not a one day you’re saved and never do any bad again but it is a process that eight million self help books cannot solve for you.

It is the process of taking off those training wheels, when ready, and the learning to stand up again. This time to be strong because He is strong. This time to accept that the man who batters his kids amusement away from them, will also one day have to answer for that. This time to forgive and release the guilt of a bad time done happened. That is the process into which we either accept or run from until it’s time to die. It’s amazing how many people cry on their death bed when it’s finally time. They regret the living they did in their life but still have a choice. To leave on a good note and try to make it right through repentance or to waste their days away. I don’t know about you, but I want to leave a legacy that has broken this family baggage and have a funeral where people will miss what I tried to do for them. I won’t worry that I did too much but that I haven’t done enough.