28 May, 2013

Living Life to the Fullest

I was on the phone talking with and old friend this morning and we were just catching up with each other as we have only recently re-connected after years of not seeing or speaking to each other. We had a good time talking but then he asked me a question about my decision to be a Christian. He said he was quite surprised when he heard I was a preacher and that I no longer partied or drank at all. He asked me if I did not miss "having fun." He went on the recount some of the war stories of our youth, the parties, the discos, the road trips to Chicago and so forth. As he told them, we both laughed at a lot of memories, but then I said to him, "I think you have rose colored glasses on though."  He said, you have to admit, we had a lot of fun and lived life to the fullest though, right? I acknowledged that we did, but then I said, let me refresh your mind a bit on the parts that you seem to have forgotten. I reminded him of the night that several of us ended up in jail after leading the police on a chase through 6 towns and how much that cost us all... especially one person. He laughed. Then I reminded him of the time I got so wasted that I stranded him and another friend in Chicago when I met up with some woman and forgot they were with me. And then I reminded him of the times we ended up in fights, or ended up in jail, and how that they had to rush me to the ER on multiple occasions when I'd OD'd. And I reminded him how when I was 19 years old I used so much speed that I basically induced a mild heart attack and damaged a valve in my heart which at some point in my life is going to need to be replaced. I reminded him how that at a time when we both were making tremendous money we were both always broken because we partied it all away week after week and had nothing to show for our lives. And the ultimate, how that my "living life to the fullest" took such a turn that it cost me almost 3 years of my life in prison and that I still pay for those mistakes today, some 30 years later. 

I said to my friend... "I thought I had the world by the tail, but what I did not understand is that the world had me by the tail."  I told him I did not miss that life for one moment, that I would not go back to that life, even for one day... because I was not really happy back then at all. I reminded him of how many times I ended up in the psych ward after attempting suicide. Yeah... that was just loads of fun.
I said to him, "I've not been drunk or high now in more than 30 years. In that time I've never been in a fight. I've never been arrested. I've never spent the night on the bathroom floor in my own vomit. I've got a wonderful wife and kids and a nice home and I'm proud of who I am."  Miss that life?
Not for a fleeting second. Not one.
For now, I am FINALLY living life to the fullest.

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