Thursday, October 28, 2010

From playmate to inmate…how I got here - Part 2

Naughty by nature.

By the time I was four years old I had lost my two front teeth.  That’s not natural.  They didn’t come out on their own…like they’re supposed to.  They had a little help – ME!

The wind was blowing and the snow was flying and building up outside.  It was the first snow of the winter and first one I could recall as a child.  I was thrilled and wanted to see it first hand, face-to-face, all nat-u-ral, not through some window.

As I made my way to the kitchen side door to peak out, the last words I heard my mother say were, 

“DO NOT open that door.”

I didn’t listen.

About that time, just as I peeped my little head out, a gust of wind whipped around the side of the house and caught the door, like the wind catching a ships sail.  As the door swung open with a SWOOSH, I forgot to let go of the handle and was instantly catapulted through the air, across the side porch, and mouth first into the cold, hard steel bumper of my parents car. 

The bumper won.

My teeth lost.

I was now front toothless.

I now bore the first mark of my rebellion.

There would be many more to come.

My grandmother used to say that one of the greatest wonders of God is that a husband and wife could have nine children (she did) and none of them turn out the same.  One is self-disciplined, while the other is free-spirited.  One can sing like a bird and the other can’t carry a tune if it had a handle.  One that’s compliant and another that is straight “off the chain” rebellious.  Such is the case of me and my only sister.  We share the same mother and father – good ones at that – were raised in the same house, in the same manner with virtually the same rules…and we turned out completely different.   Why she chose to honor and respect my parents –





- and I did not, is a mystery…or is it?

As a child, I loved to isolate.  I can remember playing in the woods behind our house or in my tree-house (Thanks Dad!) for hours by myself.  Though I was a good playmate to the other kids in “the hood”, I loved getting off by myself to make-believe and pretend – creating my own thrill-centered adventures, my own secret little world of excitement.

I don’t k now where it came from but I loved the secrecy of hiding things; the mere exhilaration of being sneaky.  Especially if it were something that I wasn’t supposed to have or do (i.e. “dirty books” or tobacco).  Oh how I embraced that challenge!  

It all became a game to me.

An innocent game at first.

But little did I know how very destructive it would become.

I was developing a harmful system and pattern.  A game system that would morph and re-invent itself – rearing its ugly head over and over again in my life.

The rebellious, naughty by nature boy would grow up…and soon discover pleasure to boot.

…from the inside…ray-ray

Monday, October 25, 2010

From playmate to inmate…how I got here - Part 1

Be careful what you pray for.

I’ve heard it all my life – even quoted it myself.  You may have used it too.

“Be careful what you pray for.”

Oh how real that statement became to me on September 4th, 2009.  Lump and I (that’s my wife for those of you who didn’t get a chance to read my first post) set out late that afternoon for Tennessee.  The occasion?  My parent’s wedding anniversary – their 50th wedding anniversary. 

 The weekend was supposed to be one of celebration and relaxation. 

For me and Lump, it would be neither.

About the time we rolled into the outskirts of the “Myrtle Beach moved west”, miniature golf and go-cart saturated, lights and traffic of the Smokey Mts. tourist city, Gatlinburg…Lump’s cell phone rang.  In normal fashion she answered the call.  By the look on her face it didn’t take me long to determine…

This call was not good.

The side door of our house had been kicked in.

The police were there – they had done the kicking.

They were executing a search warrant.

My first response was “WHAT?!”  But Lump’s was “WHY?!”  I didn’t have to ask why… I already knew…and I certainly had a lot of explaining to do.  Needless to say, the trip was shot!

Approximately six months prior to that – I’m not exact on the date, although I certainly remember the conversation – I was driving into work, sick and shaky.  Sick and shaky because the handful of prescription pain pills that I had taken about 30 minutes earlier to relieve the dope sick feeling I experienced nearly every A.M. had not yet kicked in.  I was overwhelmed.





So done with allowing a chemical to control my every move.  It went further than that though – I was tired of THE LIE and the lies that accompany and hold up THE LIE.  The truth was…

I was not alright!

I was not okay!

Everything wasn’t good!

How could I be?  I was juggling two lives – one that looked like all was well, productive and “Christian” – and another that was controlled by a physical dependency on a chemical that screamed and YELLED “Feed me and I mean NOW!”

Believe you me, I had been tired of feeding the monster of addiction for a long time; the pain pills hadn’t “worked” for quite a while now.  I had, once again, reached that point – the point of being sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Tired, beaten and battered… I pressed on.  My PRIDE held me.  I was stuck!  At least I felt stuck.  I couldn’t fall!  I had too many people counting on me.  I couldn’t admit that I had, once again, allowed myself to become physically, emotionally, and mentally dependent on pain pills.  My spiritual life was in the gutter.  What would people think?  What would people say?  THE LIE and the sustaining of THE LIE were literally killing me.

That’s when I prayed it.

That’s when - with frustration at a boiling point, stress in my voice and tears in my eyes – I pounded my hands on the steering wheel of my truck and screamed out,

“God, I wish I could just get brutally honest!!!”

I knew what I meant.  Moreover, God knew what I meant and knew what I needed.  However, like His timing usually works – never when we imagine it should – the answer didn’t’ come until some six months later.  Specifically, September 4th, 2009. But when it came, it came…




My cry to God to be able to get brutally honest was about to be answered, and my greatest fear was about to be realized.  I was about to be EXPOSED.

…from the inside…ray-ray

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another blog…really?

If you know me, then you know I don’t do the social network scene.  Well…that’s not entirely true.  On occasion, I have been known to highjack my wife’s Facebook account and snoop around a bit, but for the most part I don’t Facebook, tweet or chat. 

So, why blog now?  Why another blog?  Well, I’ll get to that in just a bit.

But first a little (or not so little) disclaimer:  In my opinion when it comes to communicating, I have to say, I’m a much better speaker than writer.  Put me in front of a group of people – whether large or small – give me a few bullet point notes, and I’m good to go.  Why?  Probably because I don’t’ have the option to edit (you’ll see what I mean in a bit if you follow this blog – see!).  But write, OH!, that’s a completely different animal.  I’m not sure, but it could have something to do with a severe case of undiagnosed ADHD that I live with…

(the reality is there’s not enough letters in the alphabet to label my jacked-up-ness)

…or it could be the underlying fact (pause) – see, I just got distracted by a bird outside…I’m back now – that I’m somewhat, at times, self-conscious as well as borderline indecisive by nature (I come by that honestly).  Like a tangled knot of yarn that a cat got a hold of, all these idiosyncrasies together look something like this when I try to write the simplest narrative:

-         Write quick so I don’t forget what I’m thinking…
-         STOP, reread…
-         Go back, insert some thought I lost because I got distracted by a bird or something outside…
-         STOP, reread, rewrite… because I’m not sure what I wrote is what I really wanted to say…
-         STOP, reread, rewrite… because I’m afraid what I’ve written will make me sound like a complete idiot…
-         STOP, reread, rewrite…and on and on and on (notice a downward spiral?)

This disheveled yarn ball approach drives my wife, Lump, NUTS! (That’s not actually her real name, but that’s what I call her – which in itself, is a story for another day.)  And to be honest with you, it drives me crazy too.  

Writing hurts.

So why do it?

Why now?

Why after all these years outside the social network do I break the proverbial silence, dust off my tangled mess and jacked up writing skills to start a blog?  What do I have to say that’s not already been said?  And why the name “…from the inside…”?
Because that’s where I am.

In jail. 

Locked up.

Put away.

As of today, I have been incarcerated in an adult detention center for six months of an 18 month sentence.  But still yet, why now; why write; why blog?  Honestly…I DON’T KNOW…all I can say is that this is what I feel we (Lump and I) should do right now (God knows I have the time).

Those of you that know Lump and me, know what we are going through.  You also know how God has and is working in our lives.  This is not the ideal setting for a marriage, but in the midst of something that appears so wrong or bad, God is so GOOD and has been working in, out and through our lives –

Lump on “the outside.”

Me  on “the inside.”

But ultimately God has been changing us both on the INSIDE.

So this is what we have to offer.  Join us if you’d like.  We’d love for you to.  The journey can be quite exciting, and “a trip” to boot.  For those of you who have not been in jail, which is probably a pretty high percentage of you, the atmosphere, happenings and people can be quite a little piece of fiction at times.  But it’s amazing how God takes them and teaches some of the most foundational principles of Who He is...

…from the inside…ray-ray