I know it's been a while since I've written, allow me to just say my life has been moving at the speed of sound lately. I do apologize to my one faithful follower (and anybody else) who I'm sure have been anxiously waiting on pins and needles for the better part of several months for a new post...this one's for you.
So obviously this post isn't going to be about my conception (because that's gross and kinda creepy), or my first steps (because I can't remember that), or my first crush (because that's cliche), or my first prison sentence (because that never happened) but it will be about my first induction into what we call REAL LIFE.
Driving home today I was pondering where this poorly managed blog would take off. Would it be a story tellers journey through life? Would It be a blog about sports (like my previous ones)? would it be a "and let that all be a lesson to ya" blog? I felt a sudden urge whilst sitting in traffic that I wanted my blog to take the shape of a testimony. Up until about 2 hours ago I thought I only had one testimony and it is as follows:
"When I was 5 years old my mom and dad sat me down with a Bible and said 'Devin, Jesus died on the cross for your sins so that you can have eternal life in heaven, your sins were washed away when he died for you and if you believe in him you can go to heaven' Instead of denying that as fact I decided that that sounded like a good idea (you know, cuz heaven sounds awesome when you're 5) so I bowed my head closed my eyes and prayed a prayer asking Jesus into my heart, and that is how I found God"
Pretty neat huh? I don't think so.
Up until I was 18 (and here's where my new testimony starts) I had it all. I had parents who loved me and did anything to keep me out of harm's way. I had a bevy of amazing friends for whom I would do anything, and who would return the favor for me in a heart beat. I had a car that was given to me on my 16th birthday. I got good grades in school without ever cracking a book. I had a pretty cool girlfriend whom I thought was going to want to marry me someday, and I had just gotten accepted into a very selective Junior College in the north Georgia mountains.
I thought I had everything figured out in my life. I was going to go to school at Young Harris College, graduate in two years with an associates degree, I was going to transfer to UGA and get a bachelor's in a TBD degree and marry my high school sweetheart. We'd grow up in Atlanta and raise kids and I'd be rich and successful and yadda...yadda...yadda.
But those were my plans. What I failed to ever notice was the fact that the more those plans were being laid out before me, the further I was pushing God away. His plans were not in line with my plans, but to me my plans were more important. Who better to plan my life than...ME? Exactly!
My plans started falling apart in October when the Girl and I broke up *again* (it wasn't the first time and it wasn't the last, Devin learned about a little something called closure when him and this girl finally parted ways for good, closure is a blessing in disguise). But it didn't keep me from planning my future without God's consent. I still laid plans to get the girl back, get those degrees and become successful in my eyes. All the while, once again, separating myself from God.
January rolled around and after settling back in at school for the spring semester (and getting a tongue lashing from my parents for bringing home 2 B's, 1 C and an F for the fall semester) I continued falling away from my walk with God and it was in one short month that he showed me who was really in control.
In one day I wrote a 22 page term paper, was told I am not a serious student, wrote an angry email to that professor and was kicked out of school.
And this is where my real life started to take place. God took a seemingly harmless angry email that just about every 19 year old college freshmen would write to a professor who just criticized him for not taking school serious and turned it into a life changer.
Where would I be had I not even written that 22 page paper in the first place? I probably would have dropped the class, taken a lashing from my parents and graduated a semester late from college just to make them happy. I would have gone to UGA and been a Bulldogs fan (cringe) and gotten some degree in something I didn't care about while moving to Sarasota to pursue a career in whatever degree I obtained. I wouldn't be where I am now and that means I wouldn't be happy.
Where would I be had I not written that angry email? I wouldn't have gotten parent appointed counseling for threatening a professor, I wouldn't have learned valuable things about my inner being, I wouldn't have learned (at that moment in life at least) that if it's not something you feel comfortable saying to somebody's face then it probably isn't something you should email, tweet, facebook or myspace (bad example) about either. I wouldn't be where I am now and that means I wouldn't be happy.
Where would I be if I was a serious student and wrote the 22 page paper? I more than likely wouldn't have learned any lessons and would now be in serious debt after taking 4 years to earn a 2 year degree. I wouldn't be where I am now and that means I wouldn't be happy.
Every now and then I still think about that day, and I realize there is SO MUCH to be learned from any experience we encounter, good and bad.
After sending said angry email, I crashed without thinking any other thing about it. I slept in my dorm, having spent the entire night writing a paper about the dangers of people driving while talking on a cell phone. About 4 hours into my rest I was awoken by a knock on the door. It was my RD John Kent, a really likable guy, we often stayed up talking just the two of us, me my cigarettes him his favorite chamomile tea. We got really close in the 6 months I was living in his dorm.
"oh hey John, what's up" I said to him.
"Devin we need to go to the Dean's office" He replied.
So away we went. I didn't know what had happened, was I a witness to plagiarism? Did I not make my payment for class on time?
When we got to the Dean's office I was directed to a conference room with a huge table with 20 seats around it. The Dean was there, Dr. March (the man I threatened) and his wife who was in tears. They were also flanked by 4 security officers for the campus and as I noticed when I turned to John there were two Police Officers from the Hiawasee Police Dept.
"why all the fire power?" I said jokingly
"for protection from you" said John.
It was all a very surreal experience. They told me what I had been accused of, that if I didn't withdraw from my classes and never come back they wouldn't take this to the Board of Directors which would have me expelled and permanently taint my college career. They put two sheets of paper on the table in front of me. I was to choose one to sign. One was basically saying I choose to take on the system and represent myself in front of the Board, the other said that I will gracefully ride off into the sunset without any sort of lasting impressions on my future collegiate pursuits. I chose to sign the one that allowed me to leave peacefully.
I was upset, I was sad, I was kinda pissed off, but most of all I was surprised that God would allow something like this to happen.
After the paperwork was signed I was told that my Dad has been called and he is on his way up to pick up myself as well as all the stuff in my dorm. I left the meeting and outside in the hall John asked me if I was interested in lunch, though I had no appetite I accepted his offer.
We sat in silence for the most part. He really felt bad for me, I could tell by how he was looking at me, as tears began to fill my eyes.
"This is bullshit you know that right?" Said John. "If this were a public institution they would write it off as an angry college student who just busted his ass to turn in that long ass paper and slap you on the wrist with requirements to see the college counselor. You're the nicest kid here, you don't deserve this."
After discussing this for a little while longer I finally just came out and said it. "WHY WOULD GOD DO THIS TO ME?"
I'll never forget what John said next. He told me about when he was in college "longer ago than I care to admit" he got kicked out for getting into a fight with another student. "It was over a girl, and we were drunk...it was a dry campus and it being a small private Christian college, they decided they didn't want drunk angry kids around". So they kicked him out, without any trial, without any discussion and it went down as an expulsion. But what he told me next was something I'll never forget. He was ordered to seek professional mental health, and go to 2 AA meetings a week for a year. Without knowing it he had chosen to see a mental health counselor who was a Christian, and in the one hour a week meetings they had, a lot of stories were told. He found God in doing this, this counselor told him his testimony and it gave John hope. He was invited to church and soon learned about how much God loves even the drunk and violent. Furthermore, these AA meetings he had to attend he happened to meet a lovely young lady who eventually became his wife.
After lunch we went back to the Dean's Office and waited for my Dad to pick me up. When I got in the car I was so exhausted I didn't even talk, I just sat there and noticed that snow was slowly starting to fall on our drive back home and I realized that even though I felt that God hated me in that moment (and many more after this story) I recognized his existence. I saw the snow falling on the windshield as I slowly drifted off to sleep. And I thought to myself, snow washes away all the imperfections of this world and makes it whole, if only God could do the same for me.
Fast forward nearly exactly 9 years ago and I have a beautiful wife, a home in Lakewood, CO, a quirky mini schnauzer and an amazing little 4 month old Corgi puppy and I still look back on that day as probably the biggest and most incredible life changing moment of my life. Had I taken school seriously, not pulled an all nighter writing that paper, written that angry email and gotten to have lunch with John, I can seriously say: I wouldn't be where I am today and I wouldn't be happy BECAUSE WHERE I AM NOW IS EXACTLY WHERE GOD WANTS ME TO BE.