Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Test of Character - Challenge of Faith"

           Been doing tons of research lately.  Back in 2008, I dated someone around the time that I was doing construction work.  Which for those of you who didn't know, I did seal-coating for commercial parking lots - mainly consisting of manually moving concrete parking stops, spraying the protective seal and then striping the new lines in place, followed by manually hammering the metal iron stakes into the ground to secure the parking stops.   I'm sure your sitting this morning wondering how this has anything to do with dangerous dog breeds.

      My partner at the time, which for those who are curious the of the genealogy of events in my life in 2008 - I graduated from Timber Creek High School end of May, early June.   That fall, through my best friend I met this amazing sweet guy.  His family was from New Jersey.  At the time his father owned his own construction company, Universal Sealcoating and Concrete.  Over time, I moved in with him and lived at his parents house. One morning I said to his father, " Can I come out some day and check out the job?" He said HELL, I doubt you could handle it, but sure be up at 5.

   That next morning, I can recall waking up at the crack of dawn.  Every morning he would be sitting at the kitchen table smoking a cigarette and his wife, who came to be a second Mom to me was making, as always the most amazing breakfast.  I'll never forget the first job I went on was just off Lee Road, near I-4 in Winter Park.  The location was fairly nice, the apartment complex in fact was on a beautiful lake, and the overall tenants were nice people.  I remember getting out of the truck that morning, Chris and I had a cigarette.  His father lit one up while I helped them unload the gear.  Which for those who are unsure of the 'gear' of construction - the basics, cones, buckets, moving dollies.  Once we finished unloading the trailer, the sun was beginning to peak over the lake and shine through the parking lot.   One thing to remember just like in any, fixer upper job you do, is clean your work space.

  This particular location was surrounded by pine trees.  None the less like many of you know, they are a pain in the bum.  Growing up, the first home I lived in was off Valencia College Lane and Goldenrod.  When we first moved in there was numerous pines in the rear of the rather large yard we had.  Go figure, they got EVERYWHERE.  When we moved at the end of 99' we vowed to never have a yard with pines again.  So, go figure this parking lot on the first day of my construction job was covered in those beautiful little pine needles.  After sweeping off the surface, asking tenants to move their vehicles, Chris and I would, by hand - either with a dolly or with our bear hands, pick up the concrete parking stops and move them off onto the grass.   Following that, once the rig was all fired up - for those of you who aren't entirely sure what that means, its simply a giant, almost kettle/pot like tank with the asphalt that heats to a certain temperature.

  That first day, we watched Chris' father start spraying down the coating across the parking lot.  It allowed nearly a whole afternoon to dry.  Once this dried we brought back the parking stops and hammered them into place.  These weren't any simple stakes.  When you build a home, or have ever drove past a commercial construction site, you'll notice the very first thing they do is drive down rod iron steaks into the cement to hold the bricks in place for the exterior wall.  By the end of the day, let me tell you - I was over it.   Fast forward several months, it was extremely cold.  Some mornings waking up, it was at least in the upper 30s.  Growing up, I loved the cold - not only because of the nicer clothing selections but for the mere factor that you can always bundle up, but in the heat you can only go so far before your bare naked to cool off.    Towards the end of my time working for him, I began to get sluggish, I had made mistakes, and his father yelled at me and really beat me into the dirt.  I've held on to a lot of resentment because, that was really my first actual job - manual labor, other than lawn mowing of course...and stocking shelves at high end fashion boutiques.

Looking back, that whole issue with being told what to do - which not many of us like in general, really effected me.   Sometimes I like to play the victim role and think I have it worse than someone else.  Yet just as much, equally we all in our own way perceive things at different levels.  We mature at different rates, etc.  While I may hold a good face, smile, and say life is all dandy and full of sunflowers...its not.

    That next year, 2009 in June - I began to begin my downward promiscuous lifestyle, and started using crystal meth more often.  People always ask...why did you do it - you had the perfect upbringing, you were adopted from a country ruled in communism, you got everything you ever wanted.  My brother and I were always fortunate enough to attend Christian or Private education institutions.   Where did the missing link fall?  Does it matter?  Perhaps the issue that I've always held on to in my back pocket was the resentment towards my birth mother, who gave me up adoption.  Don't get me wrong, Mom & Dad today are my parents.  However theres always been that feeling of, "I'm not good enough,"  While in construction, I slightly experienced a reminiscence of that again.  Someone who never had experience doing something, I lacked in areas that others excelled in.

Coming back to this whole 'Test of Character - Challenge of Faith' topic.  All of the things that have happened in my life, until this point have very much been a challenge against my faith, yet also a decision to trust, and have faith that these negative things weren't meant to happen, but only to make me grow and build character.  Through the whole HIV, Hepatitis C and drug many things happened, obviously self inflicted.  On the other side, now 10 and a half months sober....I can't help but say to myself that character is built through allowing God to work in your life and guide you to the place he wants you to be in, these choices we make as a result of trusting in Him mold us into who we are...