Man to Mirror
I was introduced to a man that has helped me tremendously. I was a fairly young boy, around six or seven years of age. My mother had recently separated from another “step-dad”. We were “on the move” again. All I really know is my siblings and I ended up at my aunt’s house in a rural community of less than 50 residents. In the town of Kirkpatrick that had one crossroad. The only public building was a little church that sat adjacent to the trailer we were staying in. We were required to attend Sunday school at this church. I had never been to church, to my knowledge. I didn’t care for it much. I spent most of my time lingering through the halls, looking for places to hide from the institutional feel of it all. Needless to say, I didn’t take this introduction seriously.
I carried on with my life as if I had never met the man. However, I couldn’t deny the impression the encounter had left on me. In times of need, in times of doubt, despair, anger, I would think of him.
In 2001, I was 21 years old. It was a turning point of sorts in my life. I began a steady pattern of incarceration. I attended a play of sorts. This play emphasized how a man endured many hardships, trials and tribulations. Through it all he stayed the course. Through doubt, reluctance, humiliation and oh the violence, he endured. Through it all, he showed me what love is. Compassion, forgiveness, kindness, and servitude. What a man of character. A true model of integrity. I had never known this kind of love. I didn’t even know that kind of love was possible.
In 2005, I had possibly the most significant experience in my lifetime. I realized the man I had come to know, knew me personally. This extraordinary historical figure, actually knew me by name. Through this experience I had the overwhelming desire to get to know him. I started to communicate with him regularly. I would confide all my thoughts, worries, and concerns in him. When I told him I wanted to stop smoking and that I couldn’t do it without him, he helped me ensure I quit, for good! When I told him I was tired of my lifestyle, using drugs, violence, co-dependence, he gave me the strength I needed to overcome. When I received a five year prison sentence, he removed the bitterness and denial and replaced it with accountability and humility. When I lost my wife and sister to addiction, he helped me make sense of it. He’s given me courage to be a better father, brother, son, friend and person.
This man provided me with a blue print of how one should be. The importance of honesty, respect, honor, and self-worth, are now more than just concepts to me, they’re values. He’s given me knowledge, strength to persevere, an attitude of gratitude, in order to become the man I desire to be. He’s given me the courage to strive to live my life as he lived his.
The funny thing is, he was there all along. Even when I didn’t think I wanted him there. When I cursed him and blamed him, he stuck by my side. He was there when I didn’t want to go on living, when I couldn’t see anything worth living for. Most importantly, he loved me when I didn’t love myself.
Who is this man? Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that who so ever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Someone once said, “If somebody saves your life, the least you can do is live it.” Today, I choose to live my life with a purpose. What is your purpose?
Published by Dawn Seitter