Category: Loss & Pain


NO ONE TAUGHT ME TO FISH

Fisherman

And He said to them, Come after Me [as disciples—letting Me be your Guide], .follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!
Matthew 4:19

This subject is hard for me to broach because it is close to my emotional self and can be a place of pain. However, the only way to overcome it is to talk about it and expose it to the light of God.

I remember just the other day that I was sharing how I overcame the thought of committing suicide. Yes, this holy ghost filled, water baptized, tongue talking preacher! Once struggled with suicide on a daily basis, and even came very close to following through on it.

The year was 1991; I was a police officer, and my life was in an uproar, and the walls were closing in on me, I felt trapped. My watch captain was not one that related well to those under his command. He was not the type that offered advice or showed that he was concerned, in fact, it was just the opposite. All he was concerned about was putting people on the street, to ensure the daily requirement of officers on patrol. I do not know maybe he had his demons to contend with, and if he showed compassion, it would make him seem vulnerable.

It seemed as though I was all alone, abandoned by the very one’s that claimed to love me. Maybe that was the problem; I don’t ever recall being told by my mother that she loved or appreciated my successes in life. My father wasn’t active in my life, so I never had the heart to heart from a father to a son or son to father. When I graduated from high school, there were no speeches on what to expect or what would lurk in the shadows. The lack warning would be the set up for the many mistakes I would make in my life. At the time, and even the earlier years life was tough; it seemed that the choices I made were all wrong.

I was so desirous to be loved that I ran from the arms of one woman to the next, falling in infatuation, because I never had a true reference point or true picture of love. Very immature, and brokenhearted as a previous girlfriend had moved from the west coast to the east coast. I found myself involved in an office fling with a female colleague that turned into a marriage that should have never taken place.

You see I was a carnal-minded Christian, that felt it was alright to enjoy the delights of the female body and still attend Sunday service, Bible studies, and other events, acting like nothing was wrong. Caught up in a whirlwind of mistakes, I became afraid to move, or make a competent decision in fear of being pulled deeper into despair. It was this and many other events that brought me to the breaking point. I heard voices telling me no one cared, and no one would miss me. Then it happened I broke down on the job; I found myself sobbing uncontrollably to the point that my watch captain advised that I turn my duty weapon in and go home for the day.

The only problem with his decision was that he forgot to ask for my off duty weapon; on my drive home,every emotional hurt that I had experienced in life seemed to resurface at that very moment. Arriving at home, I parked and exited my car, made the ascent up the stairs and into my apartment, with every step I became angrier, at God perhaps, most certainly at my parents for not preparing me for life. All I wanted to do was to make someone feel my pain; I wanted them to know that their lack of love, attention or direction destroyed my life or what I what I thought my life was supposed to be.

Let me stop here for just a minute to tell you that life without preparation, direction, and guidance is the battleground of the enemy, and it is here in most scenarios if no one should come along to offer help, the enemy wins. I didn’t know anything about life; balancing a checkbook, caring for my credit, managing money, women, being a father or even being a man.

I never fully understood my parents, my mother whom never talked about her childhood with my siblings and I, my father was absent I knew nothing of him or his family dynamics, though I spent my sophomore year of high school living with his mother and stepfather my grandparents. It would not be until some years later and after my mother’s death that I’d come to know the reasons she never discussed her life as a child. As for my father, I’ve yet to have that deep conversation and to this day wonder what he experienced as a young man growing up.

You see to understand the dynamics; you would have to study our culture, it is one of secrecy and cover up or gloss over; at least, that has been my experience. As a boy growing up, I longed for my father or a father figure, of which I had for the first 12 years of life. It was in the person of my grandfather James Lacey while we never went fishing, hunting or ball games it was just a joy having him around. We would on occasions get in his car and go for rides; he’d stop and get a beer and wrap it in a brown paper bag. He would let me have a sip or two and always told me; don’t let your grandmother know I gave you some of my beer. I thought he was just the coolest thing walking on two legs, in a matter of words he was my hero. It was the time spent with him, cutting his lawn or washing his car that seemed to overshadow all of the turmoil that I was feeling at a young age.

The Bible speaks of raising children in numerous passages because God sees us as children though we live our lives for some into what we consider old age. God never meant anyone to meander through life aimlessly, in fact, it is supposed to be just the opposite. Life is supposed to be alive and fulfilling, building, helping, pursuing. But for sin, a great many never come to this realization.

Back to that day, now inside my apartment, I looked around as if to be taking in my last look at my life as if to say goodbye to the inanimate objects that sat lifeless on the tables and counters. I remember looking in the refrigerator; maybe I wanted the last meal before the self-inflicted execution. This recount is from over 20 years ago, so it’s a bit sketchy. I do however remember that tears continued to stream down my face as I sat down on that white couch and took my gun out of my ankle holster, lay it on the coffee table. It was a Smith & Wesson nickel plated 9mm model 5906 with a 13 round magazine; as I sat there continuing to sob, I looked around one last time. I grabbed the gun and racked a round into the chamber; I told God I was sorry. It seemed just then I heard the voice of God tell me to call my grandmother. I knew it was God because a strange feeling came over me.

I laid the gun down on the coffee table in front of me, walked over to the phone on the counter which separated the kitchen from the living room. Picked up the telephone, dialed my grandmother’s number; and you can’t possibly image all that was going through my mind at the time. After a couple of rings, she answered the phone. Holding back the tears, I said “grandma” yes she replied, “I’m calling to say goodbye.” A brief silence and the next words spoken resonated in my spirit to a particular place, she said: “Baby don’t do it.” Now I don’t know about you, but you couldn’t have told me for all of the gold in the world that these four simple words would be what was needed to prevent a loss of life. I dropped the telephone and cried until my eyes were swollen shut.

From that day until now I have never contemplated or toyed with this as a means of curing my ills. Has life been better, not always, but nothing to the extent of ending my life, that day the demon of suicide was defeated and purged from my spirit!

The moral of this very true story; someone that we may or may not know is suffering from some emotional pain and like me may not know how to fish (fend for themselves). If we take the time to look around, we will see those people out there. They are the ones that feel ignored, isolated. The ones that never get the invite to the latest happening don’t have a host of friends and in most cases are estranged from family. If we can look beyond our struggles and reach out to them and share genuine love, it might be the day you speak four simple words to save a life. Might I suggest that those words be “God does love you.” God bless all that read this post I hope it speaks to your spirit.

Not place he wanted to be

Not the place he wanted to be

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

 

It has been quite some time since I’ve posted on this blog; you might say that I had to take a long hard look at my condition.  I am not immune to the emotional or psychological pain that many feel due to past hurts and failures of life. So in writing this piece I want to capture the raw emotion to make you feel what many experiences on a daily basis; which causes them to turn to mind altering substances to cover their pain.

 

Living in the United States of America is to live in one of the wealthiest countries on earth. The problem with this sentence is that we lack the compassion to match our financial prowess. In a country so full of resources, there is no reason to have its people living on the streets in squalor, yet it is the case in every major city. The powers to be will tell you that they’re all mentally ill and should be doped until they are rendered harmless.  If you could spend a day talking with some of these people, none would have envisioned their future, sleeping on urine and feces-laden sidewalks in or on cardboard boxes. Nor would they have in envisioned a life of drug abuse, prostitution, and many other things just to survive each day.

 

Every person out there and some on their way had dreams of a future indifferent to their current situation. I just cannot believe as children they sat around thinking; when I become an adult, I’m going to be homeless and strung out on drugs or maybe even an alcoholic. Maybe I’ll lie down and let countless men and women have their way with me. Maybe I’ll ascribe to a life of crime, robbing and burglarizing to feed my drug habit. If not for the grace (power) of God there go I; is what I find myself saying from time to time. You see, I very well could have been one of these people. I had every reason to fail and not many at all to succeed. As a child growing up, I saw nothing but violence in the home of my upbringing.

 

I remember vividly hearing my grandparents argue one day when I was about five years of age, and seeing my grandmother grabbing her favorite instrument of pain (knife), to inflict physical pain somewhere upon the body of my grandfather. I remember hearing my grandfather scream my grandmother’s name, and say tell her that she had cut him as the blood ran profusely down his arm. I remember the fear that this one act of aggression embedded in me and the tears that streamed down my young face.  As I saw the man, I was immensely fond of and also my best friend in the whole world whence in pain. More importantly, the fear in his eyes when he realized he couldn’t stop the bleeding. About that time my grandmother realizing what she had done, begin to sob and say what have I done, what have I done? She then ran into the bathroom, to get bandages, gauze and ointment from the medicine cabinet to play the doctor on the wound that she had inflicted.

 

Back then just about every household or, at least, the ones that I visited had a white wash basin with the red trim on its top. I watched as she wrapped his arm in gauze and bandages, telling my grandfather that he shouldn’t have made her mad. I got mad and wanted to give her a piece of my mind that she was wrong, but what could a five-year-old kid say to an adult woman?  I was afraid and didn’t want to get cut like granddad. At that moment, I hated her with all of the hatred I could muster in my little mind. How dare she hurt my best friend? As I sat there watching my grandfather soak his arm in that basin full of ice water I hurt inside but had no one to talk to, so I covered it up with thoughts of better days.

 

The point of this story is to make you aware that events in the lives of people can make them turn to drinking, drug abuse or many other things to mask the emotional and psychological pain and scars from their past. Placing labels upon people, because you may not have experienced their pain or understand their condition is a cop out and a retreat from responsibility, to love thy neighbor as thyself. It just escapes me how people can see someone in need, and just walk by them as if they do not exist. It is a cruel world out there, but you have to expect the world to be selfish, and uncaring; what’s most unfortunate is that a lot of the blind eye attitude today is by those in the church (The Body of Christ).

 

We’re so busy arguing about doctrinal differences that we can’t see the decay that is encroaching upon our borders. The church (The Ecclesia), is duty bound to protect and support those organizations that lend aid to the less fortunate. As soldiers, we were put here to defend against and have an obligation to watch for the encroachment of the enemy forces upon territory assigned to our charge.  To control, and even times necessary to engage the enemy in combat. Where the church has fallen short is recognizing the advancement of the hostile forces upon the sovereign territory of the mind, which is that sovereign territory that belongs to God. The consciousness of the church has become filled with frivolous unyielding projects, to make one busy and proverbially spinning its wheels. Revivals, mega-this mega-that events, promised to deliver the attendees from the challenges of life. When the only thing they’re rid of is those hard earned dollars which could be given to someone in a downtrodden state, who find themselves having to eat out of garbage cans to survive; lest we not speak of the saints that are just barely staying afloat.

 

In the Book of Galatians chapter 6:10 it speaks there, and I paraphrase to do good to everyone, especially those of the household of faith. If we are blindly ignoring those closest to us, it’s no wonder why there are so many people on the street. My heart mourns for those on the street, and even those that have to resort to illegal methods to survive.  I remember as a little boy watching a commercial of a Native American shedding tears as he observed the land he loved, being destroyed by pollution. I shed that same tear(s), for the lack of love demonstrated by the church, I would scream too the top of my lungs if it would change the direction of people; so I’ve resorted to writing in hopes that these words will inspire others to the call to action.

 

So in closing, again the question I ask you; ARE WE OUR BROTHERS KEEPER?

 

Disparity & Indifference

Casket

 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,  unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

 

This is one of the hardest pieces that I have ever had to write, and I find that I’m very emotional at the moment. When I began writing this blog I wanted to solely focus on the events of the last days and that according to the word of God. I never wanted to write about current events from a secular standpoint, because there are enough people doing that and it is not my assignment.

I did not want to write about Trayvon Martin, not because his death is not important, but because there have been so many Trayvon’ that never got their names in the news. In most cases their assailants looked just like them and it would not have been news worthy about blacks killing blacks, at least not to the extent of the case of George Zimmerman.

Invoking these like scenarios does not diminish the Martin family pain, nor does it alleviate the pain of those other families that suffered the same loss.  But what is important here is that no one needs to suffer this kind of loss.

Let me tell you a story out of my own past; 1977 my family moved to Las Vegas, NV, boy was that something we did not expect, it was hotter than Haiti’s and I knew absolutely no one. After getting settled in and experiencing the outdoors for the first time and feeling the Vegas heat we began meeting the kids in the neighborhood. We met the people across the street the Nicosia’s who in turn introduced us to the Smith’s and Jeff Smith in particular, it would turn out that he was a cool guy on his way to the 12th grade at the high school that I would be attending in the fall; Eldorado High School located at the base of Sunrise Mountain (property owned by famed actress Fay Wray). Jeff was responsible for getting me a tryout with the Sun Devils varsity football team and I will forever be indebted to him. What I didn’t know is he was one of the leaders on the team and a star corner back highly regarded by other teams and respected by all of our classmates and faculty. Not to mention being a good student.

Jeff would go one to graduate class of 1978, with a full ride scholarship to then Southern Utah State, wow what an accomplishment I thought to myself.  Something I thought that I’d never be able to do. Back then and even now I live in the shadow of others accomplishments. I went on to graduate in the following year class of 1979 and joined the U.S. Navy. I realized something about my friend during the short time we had together, he was very concerned that everyone reached their potential and I can only imagine this was a trait passed down by his own father, who that time was an active member of the U.S. Air force, stationed at Nellis Air Force Base.

 Jeff was the consummate big brother to all of us kids in the neighborhood, and we all looked up to him. I remember vividly as we would be out in the street playing football and when he threw the football left handed even it would whistle from the force and strength of this young man. What was important in our relationship is that I always wanted a big brother, really a father but would settle for a brother and Jeff became just that.

I had been the Navy for a year stationed in San Diego, CA and Jeff away at college in Utah for two years, and we would see each other whenever he came home on break from school and me from the military. I really loved this guy as my brother, but in the spring of 1981 something terrible happened and only getting the facts after the fact the rest of what I’m sharing is sketchy. I understand that Jeff was home on spring break from college and enjoying the family and down time but Jeff would always be Jeff and stepped into his role as the neighborhood big brother. I was told that some of the young men in our North Las Vegas neighborhood trying to form a gang had went to the McDonalds just outside if our sub-division and gotten involved in a fight with some Mexican guys also at the McDonalds on North Las Vegas Blvd. It was pretty bad I was told, and that the police were called.

No one woulHearse and Casket in Heavend be ready for the fire storm that was brewing as these guys wanted revenge, so when the guys from my neighborhood left the McDonalds and came back home they were followed by the equivalent of what amounted to a Hispanic gang, and the fighting would start all over again. This time though it would end in tragedy. Jem told he grabbed one of the Hispanic gang members, who turned in fervor and without looking stabbed him in his chest, piercing his heart with a hunting knife and killing him. There, that night the promise of us all of knowing someone that was destined to be a star in the NFL, among other things screamed as I was told so loud, that it could be heard for blocks. Dropped dead, and everyone was lost in silence as our friend and big brother lie dead in the street with a knife protruding from his chest. Ironically, I was in San Diego at the time this was taking place and was having the one heck of a time trying to sleep and in fact never slept that entire night.

My greatest fear would be realized as my mother made an emergency phone call the next morning, as I ran down to the central office of my barracks complex to take the call, thinking that something was wrong with my immediate family. I was met with the sobbing voice of my mother on the other end of the phone, after calming her down she told me that Jeff had been killed the night before; just then my whole world stopped. Not a sound or any movement was around I felt catapulted in a place of pain that I’d never known as I slid down the wall and tears began to uncontrollably stream down my face, my best friend and brother was gone. I remember coming home for the funeral and looking as the entire cemetery was full of people, you see this guy was somebody special, as are all of our fallen young men. That has died senselessly at the hands of others that give it no thought or thought that their actions were justified for one reason or another.

Now it has been quite a few years since that fateful night and morning, but even now as I’m writing the tears are again streaming down my face. Such a promise had been taken from us and we will never know what Jeff Smith would have accomplished and I know that his natural sisters and brothers miss him even the more.

 

You see the point of telling this story is to show that this thing happens all too often and we are losing far too many sons to this street violence at the hands of people that have decided that it’s their right to deprive others of life. What we’re all failing to see here is this thing emanates out of the spiritual realm, and you can say that I’m trying to spiritualize the Martin killing and I say you are 100% correct. This death or taking of these young men lives is from the pit of hell and does not need to happen.

I want to issue a challenge to all that shall read this and most certainly the fathers out there. Take your sons and those boys in the neighborhood that you know have no father in their lives and mentor them into being positive and productive member of society. No one else is going to do it for us it is most certainly not the government or police responsibility, nor do we need to look to those in the celebrity life for direction. This is a time for action from the church in a whole, I mean the church the Body of Christ every race, creed and ethnicity.

 

This is also an opportunity for the African American culture to step up and learn to walk together, building upon the success of our fallen trumpeter Rev, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached non-violence, the message of Agape love.  The indifference that we suffer as a race of people continues because we allow it and are resistant to change. When we learn to walk together lack of equality, that others try and smear us with will mean absolutely nothing and no other child or young man or woman will lose their life!!!!!