I used to think I was special. Special because every once in a while when I got into a critical situation God would talk directly to me. It wasn’t like I saw a burning bush or heard a loud voice or anything like that. A thought would just pop into my brain that I knew came from God. I knew right when the thought popped into my brain that if I did it, the outcome was going to be good. I felt special because while I do believe, I really wouldn’t consider myself overly religious. Why would God be doing this for me?
When I was younger, I was misguided. It was a voluntary choice. I made a conscious effort to be rebellious, uncooperative and intentionally out of control. I wanted that reputation -- reckless abandon. There are consequences with that. Hurt relationships and burned bridges, two DUI’s and 3 totaled cars. The outcome probably deserved to be fatal or worse. I could have gotten hurt or killed others. At the time I knew this was a possibility but, I didn’t care. It was about me. When I look back on this now, I feel that I am on borrowed time. I feel I have a responsibility to do better for others because it was God’s will to see me through these destructive times.
My life was chaotic, but in all of that chaos, a clear message entered my brain – enlist in the service. Little did I know at the time that this decision would prove to serve as the foundation for my life. The benefits would come later. I served three fairly successful years and ended my enlistment with an honorable discharge. My recklessness improved somewhat but the progress was relatively short-lived. Once returning home to my old neighborhood, I looked to get back to my old reputation – recklessness.
Two more totaled vehicles, blown employment opportunities, surely a disaster was looming. In the midst of all of this chaos, a beautiful princess entered my life and showed interest in me. A voiced popped into my brain, marry this girl. Although unlikely at the time, through a miracle, it happened. I married a beautiful woman and a short time later we were blessed with our first child. I can remember being alone in the hospital with my new born and holding her in my arms when the most positive feeling of responsibility popped into my brain. I have to say from that minute forward everything changed for the better.
I got a new entry level job with a local company. Thanks to my veteran status, I was able to pursue a formal education. It seemed that the promotions I received coincided with the degrees that I earned. My family life and career skyrocketed. This improved status was sustained for a number of years but there was still something, something that was drawing me in to that voluntary state of recklessness. It was there hiding in plain sight. It was the alcohol. That’s when the thought popped in my head … stop drinking.
I am in my 8th year of sobriety and I know it sounds lame but I never knew life could be this good. My beautiful wife and I are blessed. We have witnessed some of the most precious things parents can ever ask for – college graduations and weddings just to name a few. Grandchildren are right around the corner.
With age comes wisdom. I used to think I was special. I used to think God talked to me directly now and again. Now I know, God was always talking to me. Those times…that the thoughts were popping into my head… those were the times that I was listening."