When I was 10 years old, my Uncle Aaron (“Uncle A”) introduced me to the rock band KISS, and my life was never the same. Many people enjoy music, but then you have people like me: SUPER FREAKS. I have music playing in the car on the way to work, all day while I’m working, on my way home, while I’m writing or studying in the evening and I even go to sleep with headphones.
Since that fateful day of being introduced to KISS, I’ve loved music of all kinds, although my primary love is hard rock and heavy metal. As a teenager I would dream of one day starting my own rock band, so it was no surprise that I tried out for a local Christian hard rock band in my early 20s. They agreed to give me a shot at vocals. We hadn’t settled on a name when I joined, although our guitarist was particularly fond of the name White Angel.
Thankfully, he was outvoted, and we went with my name suggestion: REST IN PEACE.
Then we broke up a week later.
Fast-forward a few years to my early 30s. I was a locksmith, and found out a co-worker played guitar and had his own recording equipment.
“This must be fate!” I exclaimed as I showed him my book of lyrics. A couple weeks later we began creating and recording original music in his spare bedroom, which he had converted to a makeshift recording studio. And we were good.
That wasn’t just my opinion; about everyone I played our music for loved it.
Then his dad passed away, quite out of the blue, and he shut down completely.
It was over.
Wasted time and effort, right?
Well, not exactly.
My son, Trey, grew up listening to our demo, which I had dubbed “Peephole,” for one of the songs we’d recorded about drug addiction:
Violet walls will crack
A needle full of smack
When I powder my nose I freak up my head
Jumping Jackie Frost
All I held is lost
All is hopeless, lifeless, meaningless, dead
He also grew up hearing stories about me playing drums in church, which fascinated him.
Well, I should say I played at the drums. I could stay on beat, with the occasional drum fill added for effect. This was the extent of my abilities, but it was enough to spruce up the music in our small Assemblies of God church.
I hadn’t played for years when Trey asked his mama and me for a drum set for Christmas.
“Probably play it a couple weeks and then get bored,” I said, “so we’d better get him a used set.”
We paid $50 for the cheapest, most off-color drum set we could find.
And Trey played the crap out of that set.
He surpassed my skills in about a month, and just kept going from there.
Here’s a picture of his band (Trey is on the bottom left), with their new vocalist:
All those years I spent trying to get a band together, and failing, were not wasted. My dreams are coming alive through my son.
I guess I could also use the pain and addictions of myself and the aforementioned Uncle A as an example of how our agony is never in vain.
Aaron was one of those drug addicts you just knew was going to overdose someday.
Would his mom discover him face down on the floor one morning when she went to check on him? Would his son go into his bedroom to wake his dad and find him cold to the touch?
Whatever the scenario, many of us resolved ourselves to the fact that we’d lose Uncle A one dark night.
But we didn’t. He not only survived, but now is helping other addicts to climb out of their darkness. He’s using his past to carve a bright future for others.
Just like I’m trying to do with this blog, and my book, We Whom The Darkness Could Not Overcome (available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon). All the chronic pain and depression I’ve suffered the last three decades is now being poured into my writing.
And people are being touched.
I’ve heard reports of my book being passed around in prison, some asking what other books they could find by the same author.
That’s the only book I’ve written so far, but there are more to come.
The point is, we never quit.
You’ve heard me say this before, and I’ll continue to scream it from the mountains:
Never give up
Never give in
None of our pain is wasted. God can use even the foulest of days for His glory.
You’re not alone in your pain, so press on and don’t quit. It’ll all make sense one day!
Beauty for ashes, man. Beauty for ashes.