Today I turned 50 years old! My daddy never even thought I’d make it to 20. Not that there’s anything to that. Seriously, when I was a kid, I got caught up (too easily) into the druggie lifestyle. My life quickly spiraled downwards and I “drugged out” of my first college back in 1982. I managed to finish 3 years towards an Animal Science degree that I never used. After I got sober and worked with a Horse Doctor for a year, I realized that Veterinary Medicine was not what I wanted for my life.
I made a career change, got into computers and have basically been there ever since. It was the day after my 23rd birthday when I went into a drug rehab, I can still remember telling them that I wanted to go home and come back the next day. All I really wanted to do was go home and finish the 6-pack I had started before lunch. My dad and his 3rd wife Donna were there doing the intervention with me. My mother participated in the program with me, so it was truly a family deal.
Today, it will be 27 years without drugs or alcohol coming up in about 3 days! That’s an amazing thing, and people always congratulate me on my accomplishment. I tell them, I did nothing, it is a gift from The Lord. He got me sober, and kept me that way because I prayed a single prayer the last night I was an inpatient in that rehab program. I was absolutely terrified of going back on the streets. I knew I couldn’t even stay away from drugs or alcohol for a single day, so how in the world was I going to stay sober for the rest of my life?
I made a decision, what they call step 3 in AA to turn my life and my will over to the care of “God” (my higher power). I had only been to church maybe 5 times as a kid, all the way through High School included! But, I thought to myself, that’s the only God I know, and it makes sense now to believe in something, I chose to believe in the God of the Bible. Today I tell folks that I stayed sober the first twelve years on the power of that single prayer! I met Jesus following that when I went to a church for Divorce Recovery.
I was really angry when I got to Divorce Recovery, but those people loved me back to sanity, to health, to holiness. I didn’t become a perfect person, and I will not ever be perfect while on this earth. But I have a great deal of hope, and joy in my soul that The Lord saved me! I will always be thankful for that, no matter the circumstances of my daily life. I cannot help but wonder what purpose he has in store for me for the rest of my earthly existence. Knowing what I know now, I hope to pass on the message of Jesus, the “Gospel,” what is called the good news that The Kingdom of Heaven is near to us all. Truly, it is inside each one of us if we are saved, redeemed by Jesus blood.
So what else does it mean to me to turn 50? Having a birthday is a bit like having an unwanted friend come over for dinner, but it serves as a reminder to us that we are mortal. There is a fixed amount of time here. What do I want? Well, I have actually all that I need, so there’s not much to want except to do The Lord’s will each day, I enjoy being a gardener, and I love studying history. I hope to teach history I think. It’s important for folks to learn from the past, so that we don’t keep repeating the same mistakes over and over.
I look around me in this country and I see folks caught up in the rat race, I got outta that some time ago. It’s simply not important to me anymore. I’m very thankful and grateful to have a wife who feels similarly. But, in another light, we are not supposed to sit back and be idle and “settle” for a menial existence. We must use our talents and gifts for the betterment of others. Serving others is the only way to have true happiness in this life. That’s the bottom line. That’s what I want to do.