Tag Archives: man

The Chi-Lites, Brad Paisley, MercyMe and Me!

    In 1973, the Chi-Lites recorded a song called “A Letter to Myself”.  Do not ask me what I know about the Chi-Lites?  I may fool you.  They are a vocal group born in the late 50’s and early 60’s with several top 10 R&B hits throughout their career.  You may have heard “Oh Girl” and “Have You Seen Her”, but this song is one of my favorites, also.  The Chi-Lites are one of the great groups of that era and genre, often not getting quiet the recognition they deserve. The Chi-Lites are a long time favorite of mine, as their music is timeless.  Lead singer, songwriter, and producer Eugene Record wrote this song and I gotta tell ya, the dude must have been in love, heartbroken and lonely.

  In 2007, Kimberly Williams-Paisley wrote a book, entitled, “What I Know: Letters to my Younger Self”,  Upon hearing of the book, her husband Brad, felt that idea and title would be a great country and western song.  He wrote the song within a week and entitled it, “Letter to Me”.  The song is much like you would think it would be.  It is about young love and break-ups,  life experiences (both good and bad), reckless driving, algebra class and homecoming bonfires.  Great tune, you should check it.  Furthermore, the song “Letter to Myself” won a Grammy in 2009.   
 
  Fast-forward to 2014, MercyMe has a great new song out, on their newest album, called “Dear Younger Me”.  I encourage you to listen, as it is a great tune.  As I listened to this song, I thought about life and the trials that it has brought me.  Some of these trials have been self-inflicted, however, they have been trials, nonetheless. Reality is tough to swallow, sometimes.  As a matter of fact, there are times when reality will kick you in the throat.  Memories flooded my mind as the tune played out.  Tears began to flow as all those memories made their way to the front of my brain.   So, I asked myself, “Self, what would you say to yourself if you could reread/rewrite your life.  What would you say to your younger self?”  Hmm, interesting question!  There are so many things I would say to me. What would you say to the younger you?  Would you say the things you wished someone had said to you as a younger individual or would you just say let the younger you learn on their own?  Would you give you valuable advice?  Would you give you spiritual advice?  Would you talk to you about the birds and bees?  What would you say to you about life and the things that go along with it?  What would you tell you about love? This is my letter to me:

Dear younger me,

  Hey there, You!  I hope you find yourself well, as you are about to embark on some very important years.  I know you have already made some important decisions in your life.  How proud I am of you in choosing the Marine Corps as a foundation for your life.  I am sure the Marines will teach you some great things.  I think they found one of the few good men in you.  I know you have found the love of your life already.  Some folks spend a lifetime looking for that “one” person, you found her early.  That decision alone will save you some heart break along the path of your life.  Embrace her.  Now that life is just beginning for you, let me tell you some things that will give you a small edge when you are older.  I offer these only as advice, had I heard them when I was your age life may be a little different today.  

  First, Love, and love with all of your might.  Love deeply, compassionately and without any limitations.  Love is an action and you use that action on the ones you love, in the way that I described it.  If you still don’t get it, go to scripture, 1Cor 13:4-7.  That is the perfect  example of love.  However, love can come with some hurts along the way, but let your love go deeper.  1Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sin.”  Tim, not only are you to love your family and friends, you are to love the people you don’t know and be sure to love your enemy.

  Secondly, Forgive.  Life is tough sometimes, people will fail you and people will hurt you.  Forgive them.  Just as you would want to be forgiven.  Some people will not forgive you or they may put stipulations on you, forgive em anyway.  It will be so beneficial if you learn this now.  Holding in unforgiveness will ravish your very soul.  It will eat at you until you are eaten up with anger and hate.  Trust me you do not want that.  It’ll eat away the very good that is in you.  FORGIVE! 

  Third, Be Brave and take Chances, life is going to offer you many great opportunities, take em.  Do not be afraid to take chances.  If you fail 7 times, get up and try 7 more.  If it is college, a career, or a dream take the chance. The regrets will not be in the failures or successes of your hopes and dreams, but there will be regret if you didn’t try.  Try and Try again.

  Fourth, be a man, being a man is way more than just providing, a career, or knocking heads around.  Providing is good, that’s a start, but be there when the ones you love need you.  Do not make excuses, or estrange yourself from the ones you hold dear. They may not be there forever.  Be that safe place she can land when she needs a shoulder.  If she needs to be held, hold her.  Dress up for her and for you, look good, she’ll be proud of you.  Always show her how proud you are of her, all the time.  Start and end everyday with a prayer.  Oh, she’ll dig that.  Compliments, they mean a whole lot.  Be vulnerable, show them (the ones you love) the real you, the person you are when no one is looking.  Look, this next one took me a long time to figure out, cry.  Let the tears flow when you need to.  There is no shame in it.  Ultimately, those tears become tiny barbells, as they will strengthen you. This things are what make a man! 

  Fifth, is Fear.  Fear those things that can hurt you.  Drugs, don’t touch em and don’t even look at them.  There is no shame in not knowing what they look like, smell like, etc.  They will destroy you.  You are not bigger than drugs.  Fear them!  Alcohol, what greater  testimony than to be able to tell someone you have never even tried the stuff.  You know that alcoholism and addiction run in your family.  Don’t touch the stuff.  Cigarettes and snuff,  just stay away from em, they offer nothing good to you.  Fear can be a healthy thing if you use it properly.  Fear God!  No, do not be afraid of him, but acknowledge him as the Power he is.  Read about him.  Learn about him and fear him.

  Last but not least, I have seen you as a young kid embrace God.  Embrace him, love him, and spend time with him.  You spend time with him by reading your bible and praying.  Do not forsake this.  You have been doing these things a long time, do not let these habits go.  If you lose your faith you will be lost.  Do not turn your back on him, he will never fail you.  He will let you run around like a knucklehead searching for whatever it is you want to search for, but ultimately he reaches his arms out, longing for your embrace.  That is what he wants from you.  He loves you.  Embrace him.  Go to church too.  Do not foresake the gathering of the saints (Hebrews 10:25).  They are not God and God isn’t religion, remember that!  I left this one last because chances are you will remember the first one and the last one, but the ones in between are going to get blurred, you will learn.  I believe in you!

  I wished I could tell you that life is going to be with out any bumps in the road, but I can’t.  Chances are good that you are going to encounter some things that are going to knock the wind out of you.  Be brave young man, keep moving.  Chances are good that things are going to come along to try your faith, remember this, Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world!  I wished I could assure you that every decision and choice you are going to make are going to be great ones, but I can’t give you that assurance.  You are probably going to make some stupid mistakes and choices, its part of growing, GROW!  I can assure you this, that those choices you make will eventually make you the man you will become.  Life is confusing at times, the only instruction we have is the Bible, read it like your life depends on it. I leave you with one more thing, Laugh.  Laughter does the heart good like a medicine.  If you walk around with a sour face, people will never take your “good” words serious. Besides, who would want what you got if you look bitter and sound bitter all the time (Its called Joy)?  Not me!  

PS.  Never touch a snake and always wear sunscreen!

 

 

 

 

So, I Thought I was a Man!

 I have been thinking on some things about my life.  I want to share em with you, thanks for taking the time to read my feeble attempt at writing, but it helps me be a better man.  Throughout my life I have done some pretty “manly” things.  I am a former US Marine, I got my first tattoo at 18 and haven’t stopped getting them since.  I am pretty good at drinking beer, I have eaten enough pills to save the world (Not manly I know, but Stupid and I am clean now). I’ve stoked a couple of fires too.  My favorite genre of music is Hard Rock and Heavy Metal,(Loud, Fast and Aggressive), no, you still don’t understand, I want it loud enough to make my ears bleed.  You know what I mean, “if ‘ loud, you’re too old! \m/  However, the old outlaw country that I listened to as a kid still rings good in my ears, Hank, Waylon, Willie, George, Johnny  just to name a few. (Thanks Dad)  I have swam in the creek, fished in the dark, wrecked four wheelers, shot guns, and been chased by the cops.  I dip snuff, cuss and can even grow a pretty good beard, but it’s definitely not a Chris Kael beard.  I like Motorcycles, four-wheel drives and Jeeps but I have never owned a tractor.  I have been in a couple fights, won a couple and lost a bunch.  I like good food and i can operate a BBQ grill like a BOSS.  I’ve seen the inside of a chicken house, I have walked through cotton fields in the Delta and I have climbed Mt Fuji. I have been down Bourbon Street, downtown Philly, Chicago and Rodeo Dr.  I thought about these things and smiled a little bit because I thought, “yeah, I’m a pretty strong man, done some manly crap.”  Throughout life these things pretty much made me feel like a man, a physical man.

Now, at 40, I am not so sure those are the things that measure how much of a man I am.  Strength is typically how we measure a man.  How much physical and mental strength he may or may not have. How much material possessions does he possess?  Now, I am asking myself, if strength is the opposite of weak, why is it so hard to do the things that affect our hearts, to love, to believe, to hug, to kiss, to cry, etc.  It takes a whole lot more strength to do those things than it ever took me to do the “manly” things.

 

Let me tell you what  I have learned over the last week, It’s manly to hold your wife when she needs to be held,  its manly to kiss her lips for 10 seconds, just 10 seconds.  Try it guys, that ten seconds will turn into, well,  into much more.  Its manly to tell your 19-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter that you love em when they leave the house or they lay down for the night. Manly, is when you break yourself into pieces and become vulnerable so the ones you love can see the real man you have become.  Manly, is crying out to someone who can help you, when you know you need help, or making amends to the ones you loved that you may have hurt.  Furthermore, one of the toughest things that I have had to do was take a long hard look at myself.  Not long ago, I wanted to punch the mirror (I know manly, right) because I absolutely loathed whom I was looking at.  I hated me.  If I can’t love me, how can I possibly give love to someone else.  It is not possible.  Today, is a better day.  I am learning to love me again.  To accept all the crap I have done to me and to those around me.  I can look in the mirror now.  I can smile and laugh and I can cry and its all good.  My greatest strength has come from my weakest moments.

Going Forward in Reverse!

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”

― Ann Landers 

In the Beginning…….

 

  Church was always a big part of my life, I knew that God had great things for me but never really questioned it until I discharged from the Marines.  While serving, we stopped going to church.  It seemed odd for me not going to church but I was a Marine now and I didn’t think of it as important.  However, back home in Mississippi it was time for us to get involved with church again and so life went on.  From 1996 until 2000, our life was  just as any other couple, learning, laughing and loving. Spiritually, we were well.  I was a happy man, with a good life and a great family.

  I began to struggle with my my spirituality in those few years between 96 and 2000.  I wrestled with God and even  one point wept, pleading with God to just leave me alone and let me live my life as a good Christian man.  He had other plans.  Finally, in 2001 I accepted the call of God in my life. My family and I left the church we had known as kids, the church I first saw my future wife in when I was 15 and knew that she was gonna be mine.  The church I first kissed my future wife at, in the parking lot, after church of course.  The church she and I were married in.  The church we dedicated our kids to God in.  The church my mother still goes to today.  The only church I knew.  This was a very difficult decision but we made the decision and rocked on.  We started attending another smaller church, with a great pastor whom I love dearly.  Later, I would become youth pastor and ultimately pastor.

  There is so much more about my formative years, teenage years and my young married years I could tell, but we will talk about that later, as this is just to let you know who I am. This is just the beginning of a journey I have never taken.  I don’t know what is compelling me to tell my story, other than the fact that this is a healing for me.  Believe me, as you will see later I am a sick man.  If I can tell my story and it helps one person then I can say it was worth it, but until then, I still ask myself “why me”.

  Throughout this journey of blogging, I hope you can feel some of my hurts, feel my inspiration, feel the love that is being restored to me.  I hope to share some of those  feelings of love, hope, peace and joy.  Grant you, this is starting out as a spiritual journey.  I didn’t intend for that to be, it just is.  To understand fully what I am saying, it must be understood that I was a church kid, a spiritual kid and a loving kid but somewhere along the way I lost those things.  My blog is not to preach to or convince you that my way will work for you, you have your own beliefs, I just wanna tell you my story.  I am gonna try my best to tell you what being a Man is.  I will tell you what drugs will do to your life.  I am gonna share with you how darkness invaded my life and made me do things I thought I would never do.  I am gonna share with you my thoughts about music and share with you the “Metal” tunes that I love.  I love music, you are gonna hear some great tunes.  Bob Marley said, ” One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”  How true is that? Someday’s I may share with you other things that interest me, things I may find beauty in.  Other days, I may share some compelling news.  I assure you, you will find something you will enjoy.  

  Several years ago, I had a dream that I was gonna one day write a book.  Now, I am not a writer by profession, heck, I am not even an amateur writer, but I woke up with a title of a book and that is why I chose my title, Going Forward in Reverse.  The thought is, throughout my life I have moved along but it always seemed backwards to me, thus the title.  Maybe, the blog was what I was gonna do.  I do not know.  This is a brand new trip for me.  I invite you to come along.  If there is a day that you do not agree with me or I offend you, please email me, we can talk.  Don’t judge me, this is my life.  This is life through my eyes.

  Thank you for reading.  I am pretty excited about this blog.  I look forward to reading yours.  Sit back and watch what this  is gonna turn into.  Going Forward in Reverse!