It began to seem as if the thunderstorm was letting up, no time soon. Between each breath exhaled, the shattering rain intensified along the roof of the car. I sat a little while longer to recover any faults, to clear any doubts before saying what I wished.
“Dad… I want to be just like you when I grow up” I hesitated.
Gazing amongst a spitting image of himself and driving simultaneously, he responded with something that sent my mind budding into retrospect. “No son, you wanna be better than me.”
Something so insignificant, was spoken in such a gaudy manner and was not to be forgotten. The moment I heard this, I felt my juvenile pupils dilate. I couldn’t help but to ponder on how I could be better than the man who brought me into this world, who happened to have all the answers to my questions. All the moments which had filled my years of adolescence, they depicted my father to have been someone I believed to be a role model, a standard, the prototype. Hearing those words leave his lips was nearly infathomable to my ears, but seeing the difference in who my father appeared to be and who he actually was, became evident as time went on.
I remember sitting quietly for the rest of the car ride, thinking deliberately in the passenger seat, for what seemed to be the remainder of my innocence. I had to be about twelve years old, when my hidden potential had been unveiled. I understood there is more than what simply meets the eye, and that I can be however great I wanted to be. This was only the beginning of an unearthly life, antagonized by the flesh.
A gifted young man, I often struggled with discovering my talents like many across the globe. My interests and fulfilling activities were not in fact talents, but fleshly desires which bought pleasure and momentary happiness into my life.
Growing older, I attempted to become who I desired to be, blinding myself to the Almighty and His energy. By then, I had entered my twenties and enough had passed by, to suck me dry of my happiness and productivity. I was tired, aimless, annoyed, demotivated, and confused. At this very moment, I was experiencing an initial thirst for the Spirit.
I craved the destructive pleasures of the world, into what became every single day. Nonetheless, I realized feeding my external desires would never bring true and everlasting happiness. There had been a distinguished feeling for the appreciation of the world, and appeasement of the spirit.
As Mother likes to remind me, “Man shall not live on bread alone.”
This was only the beginning of an unearthly life, antagonized by the flesh.
To say my upbringing was religious and predictable is far from accurate. My parents forced us to go and spend the little family time given to us, in church. The remaining, spent on the 57th block of South Wilton Place. I was raised in a perpetuance of neighborhood violence, and division. South Central Los Angeles.
I never stopped for one second to peep the diminishing and negative influence the environment had, but most certainly embodied the gang life before the age of ten. My older brothers and myself, aspiring to live the life Ma and Pop intended to escape.
Regardless of the interest society had projected, there had always been a strong urge to go against the grain. A black male, positively influenced by a lethal society. Someone who managed to transgress into a college graduate, intrigued by existentialism and controversial theories. An “unearthly life, antagonized by the flesh” indicates the relationship of a remarkable spirit and unparalleled mindset entangled with the impious lifestyle of today.
As a teenager, my aunt spoke the words “use what you got, to get where ya want.” In other words, “make the best of your surroundings, prioritize and utilize what’s around you.” Let your temporary situation be a stepping stone in life. Allow the world to work with you.
Discover who it is that you want to become, and develop the plan to get there.
Seek thy kingdom. Direct an aim for your path, and fuel that aim with knowledge. After all you may be the pathfinder, but what’s navigating you?