Reflection – more than just a grade school theme.

Time and progress, forward moving, dynamic. Reflective is a human position, the frame of your reflection is the arch of history, your history. I have come, I have overcome. I AM here now, in the presence of my self, behind me is a path that I alone did not create let alone plot. In fact looking back at myself, as I am sure is the case for most of us, I was out of control rather than in control. How far we go before we know, before looking back in reflection is possible. Is it 30 years? 15 years? 20? I’m 32 just now can I begin to look back and plan the future. I’m stunned by how little ability I had to do this previously in life while wandering. I have come from nowhere into somewhere. I dropped out of high school in 2004, entering the workforce as a drop out you only get the worst jobs, pouring concrete foundations, with men older than I who had already severely destroyed their lives, hired only for my driver’s license.  landscaping, with high school students on summer break, humbling. Younger men more advanced than me. Stuck in between manhood and boyhood. How did I survive, I ask myself. How did I get away from the trappings of this world when all around me was decay. Working pouring basement foundations, with men smoking weed all day. How did I make it? Listening to their culture. Almost a decade later, now a college graduate, I ran into one of those men, guess what he’s been doing – pouring concrete foundations, smoking weed every day, drinking alcohol. He was the same man he was more than a decade ago. How can your life just stop? Is the pride I feel for myself and my perception of my life unique or standard. Am I the rule or the exception?

Now many years later still, not only did I graduate college, I taught middle school for a year. I now work with men and women who resemble those that I stood beside in the unfinished basements of would be model homes. We all have to start at the bottom, nothing begins without a foundation. Not only did my life begin in a 12-foot deep hole filled with pea gravel, it also began from the lips and eyes of my German grandmother, who is now a 92-year-old woman, but you would never believe it if you saw her. She stands about 5 feet tall and walks unincumbered, she talks like she has a fully functioning brain on her shoulders, she wakes up every day around 5:30 and goes to bed every day around 10. She is an emblematic figure in my life. She has been a guiding light and a directive force. She, my mother and God alone have positioned me where I am today.

When my father died I was 26. I hadn’t had much time to be his son and he didn’t have much time to be my father. Statistically, I should be among the fatherless, incarcerated, on drugs, an alcoholic, especially since his cause of death was chronic alcoholism. I should be among the fatherless. But I have a father and he has been a guide all my life I just hadn’t really noticed it, My father is the only father of the fatherless, Jesus, my God. Not a day has gone by that he hasn’t been beside me, he has set me on a foundation from the bottom in that 12-foot hole, he has brought me up, he has manifested my life into a tribute of his work. Like the physician is trained to heal, Christ didn’t come for the powerful, the wealthy, the able, the prosperous, those that already have it, he came for the sick, the disabled, the at risk, and he came to heal, to direct the lost, to guide us through the storm. While I was among my family burying my father, My Aunt Beth had reminded me that God was the father of the fatherless, she told me this as she took me to the airport, to send me back to the start. My father had four sisters all beautiful southerners. Beth, was a profound influence on my spiritual life as was my mother who recognized the importance of community and sent me to our next door church as a child, where I would meet people who cared for me along the way, but we don’t always recognize that we are being loved in the moment, it takes years to understand the impact that people have on you. Looking back I was never alone, God and his people were behind me and beside me.

Now I stand a divorced father of two, a cancer survivor, with a new wife, one less tumour and a new perspective. I see it now, the culmination of all of life that has brought me to this most thankful place. Home, at home, at peace and in love. Truly Blessed. You see, it’s my wounds and scars and it’s the broken parts of me that bless me with so much mercy and grace. How is it possible, have I done the impossible? Did I do anything at all? Many more people in this world below me and above me, Yet I stand in awe of where I am, where I have been and where I am going. With Faith in Christ, I can go anywhere and do anything.

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