Okay, so I was no angel, but I was raised by one. My father was a faithful servant of God who made sure I knew about God and Jesus. He saw to it that I attended Sunday school. When I was old enough and good enough, I began playing guitar in the Church Band, something I am continuing to do today at First Baptist Church of Honolulu.
At seventeen with the help of my father, I joined the Navy. It was a wonderful new adventure and I loved the thrills I began experiencing during this time in my life…hang gliding, parachuting, free climbing, free diving, flying ultra-light planes. My desire for adventure led me to sign on to be a Provost Marshall in the Philippines, a dangerous assignment. Being in gunfights is no fun, but I found it to be an amazing adrenalin rush. I thought I had found myself.
My chief was a biker and he soon found out that I grew up on motorcycles. He took me under his wing, sponsoring me into a black biker club where I was welcomed like family. But this was not like the family I grew up in or the one I’d experienced at church. It was a crazy, wild and foolish time in my life. I was “patched” in no time at all and it wasn’t long before they wanted me to go for the “cut”. The “cut” is when you become a 1%’r…an outlaw biker, privy to all the inside and illegal workings of the club. Fortunately God intervened and redirected my path. I had just made first class petty officer and was due to re-up with the provost unit when I got called home for a medical emergency…my father was gravely ill. My father told me that he was worried about me and asked if I would transfer back to normal duty and go back to church. I agreed to one of his requests, I transferred back to sea duty.
My father’s health seemed to be improving and when I returned to active duty I continued my prodigal lifestyle, living on the wild side. God had still not gotten my full attention, but that was about to change. While at sea, the ship I was on collided with another ship during night operations. Men lost their lives, others were badly injured. I was one of the injured. While fighting a fire, an explosion sent me almost twenty feet into a bulkhead. I suffered a broken jaw, dislocated shoulder, busted hip, shattered knees and the loss of several teeth. In time I would also learn I suffered a brain injury which affects memory retention. I also suffered from PTSD which manifests in the form of night terrors that can keep me from sleeping sometimes for several nights at a time. I spent the next year of my life in a hospital bed, under- going several operations and becoming familiar with therapists, wheelchairs and crutches. While in the hospital my father became ill again and within two months he was gone.
God had taken my father home to be with Him in heaven. I wasn’t ready for that. I was angry…angry at the world, angry at myself and angry at God. I had not talked to God in many years and my first words to Him were not kind. My life was falling apart. One year after my father passed away, my mother died. Too many things were going wrong all at the same time. I was at my wits end. I struggled to go on. I was tired of running away from God. It was time for this prodigal son to run back into the arms of the only Father I had now. My heart longed to come back home, to be with family. I found it when God led me back to church and I rededicated my life to him. That has made all the difference in the world, so many things turned around. I shutter to think how my life’s story would have ended had I not repented and come back to Jesus.
I still have my challenges. I still suffer from PTSD, but I am alive, I am walking, I am riding my motorcycle again, and I’m playing my guitar. In fact, I am able to do most things again. Coming back to God saved my life, but it cost me my marriage as my wife was not willing to change her lifestyle, the one we had shared together before. I loved her dearly and truly did not want my marriage to end, but deep down I knew it would not last unless she could accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior too. God is good. I find that I am very content and happy with my life now. I really don’t want for much, the Lord is my shepherd, providing for my needs, and every once in awhile, a few of my wants. My life is simple now, but that’s just the way I want it. I still ride motorcycles and play guitar though now it’s my ministry. And oh, by the way, I’m still no angel. I’m not perfect and don’t pretend to be. I’m just forgiven, and realize I am nothing if not for Him.