We grew up together, and his parents used to take us to the beach, and my dad used to take us to Georgia football games all the time. Dad even took us to football camps during the summer.
But after going through the hospital and rehab at age seventeen, I basically left my old life behind.
It was the only way.
He asked me if my dad and I still went to games and I told him about how we go to Jacksonville every year for the annual Georgia/Florida game. He said that he has been going to games in Athens all these years and that we should all go to a game.
I hemmed and hawed about it some. You know my schedule and all, and especially on weekends. It is just tough for me to get away. Athens is just too far.
But for some reason, I felt very led to do it this time.
We could go to Athens anytime really. There has been nothing stopping us all these years, except for me.
So last Saturday morning, dad and I went to Athens. We went to the book store and to the famous “Dawg Walk” to watch and cheer the players and coaches as they entered the stadium.
Then we went up to our seats and soon my friend and his wife appeared. I hugged them both and we chatted some and he and I figured out that it had been twenty-eight years since we’d seen each other.
What you must know about this story is that when growing up, I had planned on being a Georgia Bulldog.
Those camps my dad took us to were there at UGA with the real coach’s and the whole bit. I loved football, and worked hard at it. But then my little issues with getting high and drinking sort of directed things into… let’s just say, a different reality.
Standing there on the campus, hearing the beautiful sounds of the band, the cheering crowd, seeing the beautiful campus with all the lush tree’s and the stadium, it became clear to me that this hurt.
And that is exactly what I’ve been telling the Universe to do; “Show me the hurt!”
Here I was standing right in the middle of it.
Let me tell you something that is just as true as anything that anyone is ever going to say to you; Whatever your life circumstance is, wherever you are, whoever is in your life, it is all one-hundred percent through and through, for your healing.
If you have it is is because you need it. If you didn’t need it you wouldn’t have it. It is all for your awakening and growth. I assure you.
All those years I avoided going to Athens and making excuses when I could have easily made it happen, were only me avoiding a sore spot. The annual Georgia/Florida game is in Jacksonville on neutral ground. It had been a bit of a challenge the first year or so that we went,
but nothing like this.
I still saw it all as a negative. This had been where I had planned on going to college. This had been what I had planned on doing with my life. This is what I had told my dad and everyone else that I was going to do.
Well guess what? I did something different! That was not my path in life.
I knew it one day during the last summer camp that we attended. It just came over me like a black cloud and said, “This isn’t it.”
Now my job is to pull out all the old photographs, all the memories, and all of the crushing disappointment that I went through during my teenage years, and turn them into a positive story.
It has been a negative story for way too long.