Throwback Thursday is a facebook ‘thing’ where people post old photos of themselves or others on thursdays. Here’s one for ya:
This picture is exactly why I have not participated yet in my own ‘Throwback Thursday’.
There are lots of these kind of images of me around. I guarantee. I have many pasted into old dusty scrapbooks, many more stored on ancient hard drives too. Most of them remind me of another time in my life. A time when this was more normal, than not.
And so, in interest of moving forward with myself and not returning any time soon to this state of being, I stay away from rehashing and retrieving these kind of old pictures, just so that I can join in the ‘Throwback Thursday’ fun…
Some of these pics, I should probably just throw 🙂
But, as you know, here on this blog, I find it therapeutic to display my junk, my faults and shortcomings. I sometimes see value in expressing the whole story, not just the good parts. This picture right here represents so many things about my life, that back then, when I was a wild 29 year old, were not pretty.
Funny thing though, I am right now living a life, that the guy in this picture would have killed for. I have a loose schedule. I don’t do early mornings. I stay up late all the time. I am at the bar, almost EVERY day. I even am at the bar, for work. I could drink and play Every Day, if I really wanted to. No one is telling me I couldn’t do that right now. In fact, this very morning, while stocking the beer cooler, I dropped a bottle, and the lid got kinked. It started spewing a little pressure. I couldn’t serve it later, so it needed to be drunk. The guy in this picture would have had no problem with sucking it down, at 10:30 a.m. No problemo, whatsoever.
I instead, passed it off to my brother-in-law, and he tasted a bit of it, before throwing it out. Back in the day, I would have called PARTY-FOUL!! ALCOHOL ABUSE!! Drink Up ButterCup!
Hilarious, when I think about it right now 🙂
This one picture paints such a vivid portrait doesn’t it. Everything is poignant. The cheap beer, the cigarette, the classy strip-club tee shirt. Even the tongue-out, devil-horned, red-eyed pose is furiously fired-up! Demonic even. In a fun way though… right?
I don’t know. Demonic is a pretty harsh word. In this picture, I was probably hanging out at Pomona lake with wonderful people, lifelong friends and family. I was only months away from quitting smoking, and I got that tee shirt on a family trip, to visit my cousin and her kids. Demonic, sounds like hellion, but in a bad way. Demonic, is more scary, than fun. I wasn’t a bad guy, I was having FUN DANGITT!!
Oh, maybe for a moment, I was. Maybe even for that whole weekend. I was drunk that whole weekend. Until Monday night that is. See this picture was most likely taken on a Labor Day weekend. They are long. You don’t have to work on Monday. So you get to party hard on Sunday night, and party less hard on Monday, but still some partying… 🙂
Monday Nights, were the worst for me back then. Monday nights, were the times, when I would have agreed that this picture looked Demonic, to me. Monday nights, I sat here in this same living room, on the couch, by myself. I had a pile of things to do, and no energy to do them. I was hungover, yes. Or, maybe still drunk. Or maybe just buzzed again, but really the good times were over. My favorite moments in life, Lake Time, were over.
I sat alone, here in my little junky house. I sat here and shivered, or shook, or both. My body was transitioning from a steady stream of intoxicants into it’s more natural state. I would feel queasy and overstimulated. My mental world would spin, but the room was stagnant and stale with smoke, or another glass of red wine, just one more, before bed.
Monday nights were depressing to me back then. I looked forward into my ‘real life’ and saw things that I didn’t want to see. I noticed that I was by myself. Even if I was dating someone, I usually would have acted like such an ass, that I they didn’t want to be with me, or I didn’t want them near me. I was about to return, to a job I didn’t like, the next day. I had said and done and acted in embarrassing ways for the previous several days. Maybe broken the law, disrespected myself and others. I was a mess.
On those Monday nights, when the party was over, I felt like a Demonic Mess…
The picture here seems to prove it too…
So throwback that photo, throw it back to a place, that I can say was a landmark on my personal journey. It was a stopping point, where I was stuck for many years. Luckily however, I didn’t stay there forever. Luckily for me, I was able to somehow find something more intriguing, more exciting and more interesting to me, than to repeat that moment, over and over and over agian, another time, again, like I had so many times before.
Never will I really understand how that process worked. Even for me. Yet I will say, that instead of it being totally about the quitting of something, like alcohol, it was more about moving into something better. It was about seeing myself in a new fresh place of existing. It was about grabbing a rag, and wiping clean the lens through which I was currently looking at life. New colors appeared. New images, that I hadn’t noticed before. I could see further down the road. I could make out whole areas of life, that I had not ever explored, yet existed right under my nose.
That grimy old rag, was the living pages of God’s word. The book, that isn’t a book at all. It’s like something out of a science fiction movie. It is actually a device, used by God, to drop a nuclear bomb on me. It wiped away all traces of what I knew. I was lost again. I was lonely again. I was scared again. I didn’t like, what had happened, once that rag, had cleaned my lenses. I was mad too. Mad at what I could see now…
I could write paragraphs, and pages, and chapters and books, about all the little moments, that have happened between the snap of that photograph and this very second right now. It has been one crazy, crazy ass ride.
Another throwback Thursday picture, from the same place, at the same lake, on the same weekend, Labor Day, four years later, looks like this:
I like this one better. It was more fun. It was more meaningful and important and life-giving to me, rather than life-taking. I was sober that day. I am sober today. Crazy, crazy life, my friends. What is more wild than that. What is more crazy and insane than the transition from this one picture to the next. Actually living both of those moments, I can tell you, it wasn’t me. Not my intention, not my gumption or boldness or especially not my strength.
I asked Jesus Christ into my life, probably on one of those lonely, hungover Monday nights, probably one time out of many times, and many times to yet come. In that first picture, I can see a demon. He was one heckuva fun one. I will admit that. More fun than I am today. More laughing and more jovial, more friendly and more sociable. I needed things from others back then. I needed the approval of others. I needed to feel loved and to feel lifted up, by the camaraderie of the group. I didn’t have a feeling of self worth without them.
In this second picture, I see angels. I see them lifting me to another level. I see them supporting me, I see a beautiful one, that gave her living life to me, as I gave her mine. I see one who walked with me in my relationship with Christ. I see angels of family there to support me. I see an angel, who stood in second place, for me, who loved my Dad deeply. I see an empty space, packed full of real angels… I didn’t want any of that specialness to be bathed in alcohol that day.
Okay, so maybe not all Throwback Thursdays are bad. I have had good moments in my past, and not good moments too. I’m reminded of an interview I saw with comedian Steve Harvey, on a religious talk show program. I can’t quote him exactly, but he was talking about his un-pretty past. He said something like, “I know who I used to be, I know who I am now, the thing I finally am starting to understand is that, I gotta learn to be cool with both them cats.’ Yeah, I do too.
It’s hard for me. I straddle and dance between the allure of that old fun life, and the deep rooted and planted feel of this new one. It’s not always easy to remember in the moment, when sometimes I want to take a sip of that accidentally opened beer, or newly invented cocktail that I helped design for our bar. It is hard in those moments to decide how I want to live today.
If however, I just look at these two pictures. From one of my favorite places on earth, with my favorite people on earth. It is all clear again.
God Bless You. I pray that you too invite Jesus Christ into your heart. It will forever and ever be the hardest, and easiest, challenge and thrill of your life, and beyond. See you in heaven my friends 🙂