A Life of Compromise: 1. How Did I Get Here?
Last updated: 26 Mar 2020 14:54
How in the hell did I get here?
Every time I tell this story, I say it in such a way that I get an “Oh that is so sweet I am going to die” response because it makes people feel all gooey inside.
Okay, it is romantic. Sure. But what happens after that is a nightmare.
So here’s the romantic part of this story that makes it seem like I am here, alive, writing these words because of true love.
Let’s say, it’s the summer of ‘73. If you ever visit Fort Worth, Texas, and catch yourself on the Northside of town, find Carter-Riverside High School. As you face the front of the building, look to your right and find the street corner in front of the school. Count three trees down towards you. That tree right there? That’s the tree that faithfully stopped my future dad and his best friend from drinking and driving. It was also the tree that dramatically changed the course of my dad’s life and had a direct impact on whether I was going to be born or not.
Here’s what happened: dad and his friend go out drinking and driving as usual. Except for this time, they crashed into this destiny-changing tree. Both men were also not wearing seatbelts (because 70’s but also, being stupid). His best friend, Riley, had the blessing of having his trajectory stopped by the convenient placement of the car’s steering wheel. That sucker isn’t moving. My dad only had the front windshield to stop him. And stop him; it did not. My dad smashed face-first through the glass, hit the tree in front and bounced back through the same windshield right back into his seat.
My dad was jacked up. His face was torn up by countless shards of glass. He wasn’t pretty, to begin with, and this incident didn’t make him any better looking.
His mom (my grandmother), as I am sure, was freaked out of her mind. Fortunately, my dad was employed by an organization with deep, deep medical expertise and pockets to match. You might know them as the United States Army. And by employed, I mean drafted into a little war taking place in the country of Vietnam for really no apparent good reason. My dad’s company commander told my grandma, “Ma’am, we have the best plastic surgeons in the world down at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. If they can’t fix his face, no one can.”
So taking parts of his thigh and his butt, they redrafted his ear and nose and fixed his face. I swear, hand to God.
Having a tore-up ugly face does not change up one’s destiny except when one’s face needed so much healing, the US Army decided not to ship you to Vietnam and instead ships you about 2,000 miles north of Vietnam to another Asian country called South Korea.
My dad is allowed to grow a beard. But that facial fashion statement opens the door for every single CO and NCO on his new base in South Korea to rip you a new asshole for being out of regulations. Being in a lot of pain and feeling like crap, he decides to visit a local bar to drink the pain away. In-between the tears in his beer and probably looking pretty pitiful, he looks up into the mirror behind the bottles and sees a waitress working. My dad says to himself, “I am going to marry that girl.”
That waitress was my mom. Much prettier than any human needed to be and the youngest girl with ten (10) older brothers.
I want to point out the obvious: I am going to guess and say that none of her ten older brothers nor her parents were that good at judging other people’s character–supposed language barrier aside. Because my dad, as you guessed it, was a real piece of shit. If they had an ounce of wisdom between them, they would have no way to let my mom married my dad.
“But Joseph,” you might exclaim, “how can you say that? If your parents never met, you wouldn’t be here today.” You see, that’s my point. If they had met, got married, and lived happily forever after, then it would be a touching story, and I am not opposed to touching stories.
But this touching and romantic story is bookended with depravity before and evilness of sin afterward. My dad, being a real piece of work before meeting my mom, proceeds to marry my mom and becomes even worse since marrying my mom. That’s the part that doesn’t make sense to me. So in my defense, I do have the right to question that meeting and marriage for the rest of my days. I am here right now–I am already born. I cannot change the past with my questions.
My dad is dead, and I haven’t seen my mom since I was five. So unless my mom magically appears out of nowhere, I am probably not going to get answers to those questions anytime soon.
But man, when I hear what Job says in 3:16, “Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who never see the light?” And the more I process my trauma, the more I get what Job was saying.
It would be better for me never to be born at all. I say this to say, if this is the life I was given, why could I have not been born? Why didn’t my mom didn’t have better sense than to marry this wicked, worthless man? What is her family like that they didn’t do anything to protect her from this monster?
God, I have so many questions about why am I here? Lord, Why did You allow me to be born only to experience pain like this? And because of that pain, I will go on making stupid, ignorant, sin-filled decision after decision to a place where it seems I do nothing but sin.
I don’t understand why I was born.
Because if my birth were up to me from what I know now? I might not have chosen to be born.