A man is called to adventure when the time comes to leave the home of his mother and father, it’s echo’s the words of Genesis 2:24: This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. This is the reality for most abled bodied men, parents know that the day will eventually arrive, and the father usual takes it better than the mother. The mother typically wrestles more when their son or daughter leaves home and embarks on the journey and adventure of them, because there is a fear that overcomes them, usually about the safety and well-being being of their child. Any parent that had any amount of sense to them would feel this way, even that of a rugged and strong father. Imagine if your son or daughter was born with a disability, the fear that would fill a parent then. That sense of freedom and adventure still fills them as well.
My mother and I have butted head quite a few times, one of which times was when the desire for me to attend college, away from home. She didn’t like the idea at all, in fact she shot it down and told me that the only way that attending college would be a reality, was if it was online. Her reasoning was that it would be much safer for me, and she could help should something happen to me. And as much as she shot down my desire to attend college outside of the home, the more the desire for me to fight for what I wanted came out. We had a few several heated arguments, at this time the ability to be able to control my emotions was rather difficult and thinking before the words came out of my mouth didn’t exist as a practice. My mother is a very stubborn woman in nature, and she doesn’t back down until she gets what she desires, so you can naturally see where my same attitude comes from.
My father graciously took me to tour a few college campuses in town, truthfully, which could have been any local college, but it was the size of a few colleges freaked me out and ultimately it seemed right to me to choose a very small faith-based college. After getting accepted to the college of my choosing, which was a very simple and straight forward process, came the time to pack up my things in move into my dorm. If my memory serves me correct, my mom stayed home and my dad and sister helped me move into my dorm, my mom had tears in her eyes as we were leaving. Which in a way made me feel bad, but this was something that God has called me to do, and when he commands, you execute the mission at hand. There was even uneasiness in my own heart because of the realm of “no man’s” land that awaited me. After several hours and trips back and forth from my dorm room, it was time for my family to leave. My dad tried to play it tough, but deep down, he was terrified as well.
It wasn’t as though, there were hundreds of miles from home either, literally the span of time was twenty minutes. The four and a half years that was my college experience was some of the best years of my life, but my God did learning come through hardship and even pain. One day in the cafeteria while trying to transport a cup a coffee to the table while driving my scooter, sometimes my brain didn’t connect the dots, between turning the speed down on my scooter and the hot cup of coffee held between my legs. The coffee spilled all over my lap, which was a very painful and frankly embarrassing experience. Or in a similar experience, but only dropping an entire plate of food on the ground. There isn’t another time in my life, where the struggle was so real, apart from recovering from a severe operation, but you know what? It was deeply-deeply satisfying to my soul.
This has been one of the most profound regrets of my life, was that there wasn’t room for much struggle and toil in my life. Well, why would you want struggle and toil in your life? You might ask, because you find out what you can do as a man, and when you overcome a challenge in life, you feel as though you were Samson, who killed a lion with his bare hands. Sometimes parents of children who have disabilities ask me for advice on how to raise their children, there’s no real words of inspiration, but in a frank and compassionate way, I tell them that eventually you must let your children struggle and fight. Love them yes, care for them yes, but sometimes love is letting a person experience things for themselves. This isn’t to say, that you should be careless with your child and let them do horrible dangerous actions because they’ll learn. The point is that when it comes to mastering their lives, they must know how to succeed and thrive in hard times.
Whether that’s learning how to cook, tie shoes, button up a shirt and so on. It may be difficult for a parent to stand back to hear your child to become frustrated and even cry. But when they overcome the challenge in front of them, they will gain a confidence in themselves and be ready to take on the next. There is always the reality of adaption, meaning that if something is physically out of the realm of possibility for them, because of lack of dexterity in the hands find a device that can that reality more doable. Example being, tying my own shoes was nothing something that was very doable because of the lack of dexterity in my right hand, so my sister went to a shoe store and got me some shoelaces, that you didn’t need to tie, but pull for you shoe to become tighter on my feet. In terms of buttoning my ow shirt, some buttons are far easier than others, or I’ve learned that if buying a shirt that’s dressier I’ll simply put the shirt over my head without unbuttoning the shirt all together.
There’s almost always a way to adapt to a situation in life, we only must be willing to find that solution. The plea that is in my heart for parents who have disabled children is beyond what words can possibly express. There’re are profound consequences if you do not allow your children to grow, not only will their growth be stunted in every sense of the word, but they may never get to fully embrace the dreams that God has breathed into their hearts. Worse yet, if you do not allow them to grow and move into the world in as much as they can, the chances of the developing a great amount of shame within themselves is very high. Speaking from experience, the intense shame that I’ve battled for thirty-seven years of my life has been much. Sometimes the shame was so intensifying that the longing for sleep was my only way to obtain peace. Trying to mount any sort of fight against it proved to be futile. The shame that made its home inside me, seemed like a resident that would never leave, and one that was better off accepted as reality.
The more that the attempt was made to simply shrug my shoulders, and the reality that was before me. The more unsettled my spirit became. My spirit became increasingly unsettled because on the inside of me, was the inclination that there was far more to my existence than even realized. Getting to a point where the culmination of my life’s purpose was before was a completely different story. The few things that have ever filled me with passion and fulfillment was writing, martial arts and fitness, and by the grace of God those avenues have been used to help others but not to the potential of what I believed to be right. The vision that unfolds in the sketch pad of my mind, was being a best-selling author, and helping others become healthier safer by the hundreds. It can be said that life doesn’t always work out the way we planned it. But we damn sure, should be able to take aim at the highest marker possible. It is better to aim and miss then to not have aimed at all.
Sadly, a good deal of the clients that I’ve worked with haven’t been able to take that aim either. As one that works as a fitness, nutrition, and health coach, most of my clients end up wanting to share their stories with me. The story is much of the same, they spend most of their time at home within different family dynamics. Many of them on some level of fixed income, some even have no means of transportation and or healthy amounts of in person social life. As a result, most of their mode of being is spent online via social media and other means of communication. These are in some ways, the forgotten people of society, both men and women. Meaning that they aren’t readily seen as the ones will conquer and make a difference in the world. They must fight harder to be recognized. Many of the clients that I’ve worked with over the past few years, have echoed the same feelings that their lives at times, are utterly meaningless and worthless. As though they will never get to embrace the adventure and longings that are indwelled within them. The simple way of saying it, is that they fear that they will never get the independence they long for.
The increasing difficult as a coach to inspire, share empathy and share wisdom, while fighting those realities myself is monumental. As a man, it is even more agonizing to the soul. Primally speaking the man is the one who is meant to go out and hunt. The word hunt, in this sense is used as the means to gather the things needed for survival, not only of the self but of the pack (the pack meaning family). Women largely do not select a man, who cannot go out into the wilderness of life and hunt for the betterment of the tribe. More in the nature of how they are wired, than mere coldness, though it can be portrayed that way. It can be a very difficult and taxing reality to swallow as a disabled man. It is a reality that we should come to terms with, not in a hopeless or blind acceptance, but one with increasing optimism.
The biblical figure of Abraham was 70 years old before God called him to pack up and leave all the comforts of home. He and his wife were also without children, the age of Abraham never truly stood out to me, until the moment the journey began through the bible again, my eyes saw the number of age his was and a sense of panic filled me. “what!? No God I can’t be like Abraham!” being 70 years old living with my family still, let alone with no children of my own. You see though, Abraham is the definition of the increasing optimism that was mentioned above. As Romans 4:17-19 informs us:
17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”[a] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
17 As it is written: I have made you the father of many nations[a]—in the presence of the God in whom he believed,the one who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist. 18 He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations[b] according to what had been spoken: So will your descendants be.[c] 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered[d] his own body to be already dead (since he was about a hundred years old) and also the deadness of Sarah’s womb.
Others translation use the wording of “without weaking in his faith.” Or “against all hope. The fact is this, he never gave up even in the moments where he or his wife felt discouraged. Our own inner dispositions must be the same, so much that no matter how long it takes us to reach the destination that God has destined us for, by his grace we will get there. It bears repeating that the faith that Abraham possess, is not something that here kindled up within himself, but the faith that he has is God given. That same faith can lay dormant, I’m not attending to imply that all people have faith, but that in the grappling of our hearts can sometimes be the indication that there is something more going on. Such was the case in my own life, in the disparity and questions that weighed in me, was God himself waiting for his intended divine moment to reveal himself to me. Of all the times that was spent trying to suffocate the reality of God, it turned out to be my deepest need and longing. His love is the most sustaining reality of all life and existence. After my heart and mind were open to the revelation of Christ, there became an ever-increasing awareness of not only the gifting of how God wired me, but dreams as well. As a child the exposure to martial arts and writing came early, they were both gifts from God that needed cultivating and development over time. When academics were still very hit and miss for me, my mom gave me the ultimatum of sitting down to take a stab at writing a book or stick it out with college. Eventually, came the longing to find a wife, scripture even says that he who finds a wife finds a good thing. Yet my eyes always rolled when reading that verse after a series of failed relationships.
It’s probably taken me more time than I’d like to mature in relationships, going from chaos to wanting to seek health in the bonding of two people. (I’ll unpack more of what that means later). With every failed relationship and every year that passes, is like an artist trying to sketch an image in their mind on piece of paper, only to rip it up and throw it away. Even though the moments of wanting to ditch this specific desire in me were quite intense, God has a way of bringing the desire to mind. Even though the desire is ever present and real, the question that soon follows is how? How is this going to work? That or follow up questions of “when Lord?” or “who would be strong enough to enter my context?” Answer to these questions have a way of befalling me, but the reality that settles me is trust. We must trust that even if God is the orchestrator of salvation, he will also do so with the rest of our life and mission. No matter how long it takes, as it did with Abraham.