Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Life // Choices that Shape Who We Are

I debated on whether or not to post this, but ultimately, I decided to. Addiction is something that does not discriminate and while this post isn't exactly about addiction, it is. There's always so much more beneath the surface of each persons' exterior. This is small piece of mine. 



The Last Wish

A death row inmate awaiting execution, asked as a last wish a pencil and paper. After writing for several minutes, the convict called the prison guard and asked that this letter be handed over to his biological mother.

The letter said ...

Mother, if there were more justice in this world, we would be both executed and not just me. 
You're as guilty as I am for the life I led.
Remind yourself when I stole and bring home the bicycle of a boy like me?
You helped me to hide the bicycle for my father did not see it. 
Do you remember the time I stole money from the neighbor's wallet?
You went with me to the mall to spend it.
Do you remember when I argued with my father and he's gone?
He just wanted to correct me because I stole the final result of the competition and for that I had been expelled.
Mom, I was just a child, shortly after I became a troubled teenager and now I'm a pretty malformed man.
Mom, I was just a child in need of correction, and not an approval. 
But I forgive you!
I just want this letter to reach the greatest number of parents in the world, so they can know what makes all people, good or bad ...is education.
Thank you mother for giving me life and also helping me to lose it.


Your child offender.

REFLECTION:

"He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly" (Proverbs 13: 24).

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. " (Nelson Mandela)


As I was on Facebook, the other night, one of my friends shared this post. As I read it, I couldn't help but be completely overwhelmed with a sense of understanding. No, I'm not an inmate awaiting execution. Quite the opposite, actually. I'm the officer standing guard, however, that's not why this letter resonates so deeply with me. If truth be told, I could have gone down the path of destruction. I had every opportunity to do so. I, however, made the conscious decision that I wouldn't and couldn't allow myself to be like the two people that were constants in mine and my sisters lives. Without rehashing my entire life sob story, let's fast forward to my high school years...

My senior year of high school and that summer after I graduated was the time in my life when things just didn't make sense. I was lost. The only guidance that I had were from the teachers who believed that I could achieve great things, my grandparents, and the community at the church I attended. I was on the cross country team, track team, and swim team. I had relatively good grades, good enough to get me into Old Dominion University and graduate within the top 25 of my class and had numerous scholarships to help pay for school. I attended church camp and conference and while my parents weren't present in most of this, I had people who cared.


My Mom and Dad before alcohol and drugs took over who they were, two beautiful people.

But they weren't the people that I wanted to care. I wanted my Mom and Dad. I wanted them to see me do well and succeed. So, I did anything to get their attention. I began to emulate their behavior in attempt to gain their respect. I started to party, I began to do other things that I thought they would be proud even though I knew they were wrong. All of this was done because I knew those things were their interests. They seemed to care more about a good time than my sisters and I and I so desperately wanted them to love me and spend time with me, that I would do just about anything to get it. I abandoned my morals and what I knew was the right thing. And guess what? It worked. 

My Mom especially, paid more attention to me. It was almost as though we were friends, not mother and daughter. We were finally talking and sharing things like I thought we were supposed to and I couldn't be happier, but as it would turn out, I was wrong. 

My actions lead me to feel terrible about myself. I wound up in situations that I should never have been in. I could have been hurt not just emotionally, but physically and not in a minor way, but a life threatening way. I was doing more harm to myself and not realizing it. 

It wasn't until I found out that I was pregnant, that I began to realize what a disaster I had made of my life in such a short time. When I finally acknowledged that I had to deal with my consequences, I finally made the right choice. 

The thing is, it was because I saw how my parents acted. I wanted better, so I became better and gave up all the 'crap' I was used to. I'm far from perfect and have still made choices that I wouldn't call great, but I'm present. I now have two beautiful little girls who look to me for guidance and I give it to them, without the aid of substances. 

I hear the same excuses all the time where I work.

 'I am the way I am because of my parents.'
'I had a terrible childhood.'
'Peer pressue.'

I'm here to tell you that while we don't all have the same problems and we should never judge a book by it's cover, it's total bull. Everyone faces a different demon and we aren't the judge of what's a big or small one. We are all in control of ourselves. Each person makes their own conscious decisions to do right or wrong. You have the ultimate choice to live the life you want, good or bad. You are the one who has to deal with the consequences and map your own path. 

Here I am an example of sorts. My sisters and I are all doing well for ourselves. We have steady jobs, we don't smoke, we rarely, if ever, drink, and we have loving families making our own futures. The Last Wish letter showed me what life could have been like for me if I had continued and I'm glad, for my sake and my little babes.

Linking upwith Amanda for Friday Favorites , April for Five for Friday, Lauren for Fab Favorites, Karli for Oh Hey, Friday, Tif for High Five for Friday, Astleigh for The Pick, and Erika for Friday Favorites!

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