“I thought I’d be dead by 21”
Great pain produces character. It can just as easily produce fear, rejection, and self-loathing.
My early life produced in me a fear that I’d be dead by 21. This personal narrative is my memory of a lifelong search for love, belonging, and a sense of place. Walk with me on my journey through abandonment, panic attacks, fear, rejection, bullying, and unbelief, out into the blinding light of healing love.
Adopted touches on the issues nearly every child or adult adoptee must face on the way to maturity, wholeness, and redemption. Along the way it provides valuable insights to adoptive and foster parents who long to see their children whole; and, to adult adoptees who wonder why they do what they do and how healing can be the next chapter in their life story.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for “David’s Place.”
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 20,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals
I didn’t intend to write this post, until I came across Todd Starnes’s commentary “Philadelphia to Consider Resolution Condemning Chick-fil-A, which I quote below.
No sooner had I made what I believe to be prophetic statements about God’s judgment upon our nation, than the rabid homosexual advocates launched their vicious attack on–of all things–a fast food restaurant chain because of the owners’ personal religious and moral beliefs.
Is he advocating immorality [as his opponents are]? NO!
Had this man poisoned someone’s food? NO!
Had he told homosexuals that they could not eat in his stores? NEVER!! [He actually provides jobs for them.] The Chick-fil-A’s have an antidiscrimination policy.
Not so the cities of Philadelphia, San Francisco, or Chicago. No . . . they blatantly, publicly and unashamedly discriminate and their elected officials use their political positions of leadership to censor and pour out “hate” toward a Christian, family-owned business because its CEO and chain owners believe in the biblical view of marriage.
SO what had #ChickFilA COO, Dan Cathy, done to rile up these city leaders? He simply restated the teaching of the Holy Bible, the Word of God, that God’s intent was that marriage be between one man and one woman for life. WOW!! Cathy went that far? To think that marriage is between a man and a woman? What a hateful, sick individual! Of all things to believe . . . where would he ever have gotten such a twisted idea? Marriage between a man and a woman? Come on, how far can we let such archaic views be tolerated. We should use our political power and vitriol to silence the God who created marriage and all his followers who espouse his views?
As the Scripture says of the origins of homosexuality in Romans 1:18–32 (ESV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Though we love these fallen people, why would we support their darkened behavior, the behavior of a debased mind and heart? No, we should speak truthfully to support what is right and true.
Cathy and those like him (including me and millions of Americans who have the courage to stand with our God and His Word) are being mocked, ignored, or silenced. This would not be such a blow to our nation if it did not signal a greater horror. A nation that turns its back on God is a nation doomed to live out its own sickness and force its disease upon all free people everywhere. I don’t want the government or special interest groups bent on wickedness telling me that I can’t sell chicken in their city limits because I don’t hold their twisted, demonic views of men marrying men and women marrying women.
As the Holy Spirit makes clear, homosexuality is the final perversion of a society–a people who have turned from God. Down through history, this decadence preceded the downfall of the nation which accepted it as “normal” behavior. The best known examples include Sodom & Gomorrah and Rome. Homosexuality is a spiritual and moral cancer infecting our nation and the world. God will not let it continue for long. One way or the other, the sick patient will die–either of the disease or of God’s judgment on the disease. And yes, AIDS did begin to show itself in the west in the homosexual community first. Don’t let all the white-washes and purges of history by homosexual groups and their vicious advocates fool you.
Now cities like San Francisco (surprise) and Chicago (who could have guessed, Obama’s home town) have blasted the company and threatened Chick-fil-A’s expansion there. All this because the owner supports a biblical definition of marriage–traditional marriage. From Todd Starnes’ commentary:
The Philadelphia City Council will consider a resolution condemning Chick-fil-A for what one city leader called “anti-American” attitudes that promote “hatred, bigotry and discrimination.”
City Councilman Jim Kenney sent a letter to Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy telling him to “take a hike and take your intolerance with you.”. . . [who’s intolerant?]
Kenney said individuals who do not support gay marriage should understand there are consequences to their belief. [and to his wickedness]
“If he [Dan Cathy] really, truly believes what he believes, that is his right to do so,” he told Fox News. “But there is often a price to pay for that.” [now in America, there’s a price to pay for believing that marriage is sacred before God, and that HE defines marriage, not people]
Mike Huckabee has launched a nationwide effort to show support for the besieged family-owned company – declaring August 1st as “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”
So what’s wrong with a guy like Jim Kenney? See what God says is wrong:
Romans 1:28 (ESV)
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
What will it take to demonstrate to this nation’s infected leaders that THEY are the ones leading us to our demise (unless that’s their intent–don’t think that this is out of the realm of possibility). I have lived to see things that I would have never dreamed possible in the United States of American. People who have come form somewhere in outer space as far as their values and rejection of God.
I agree with Michelle Malkin:
“When an elected public official wields the club of government against a Christian business in the name of ‘tolerance,’ it’s not harmless kid stuff,” she wrote. “It’s chilling.” –quoted in Starnes’s commentary.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
I propose that we send a message to Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, and any other city or political body that holds to demonic teaching rather than the clear instruction of our God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. I call upon the citizens and churches, ministries,synagogues, and mosques of those cities who hold to a moral universe, cared for by a loving and holy God, to rise up and teach these politicians that they do not speak for the majority of mentally and spiritually healthy citizens.
I certainly don’t want the dictatorial, decadent and perverse thoughts of people like Jim Kenney and his ilk and whole cities who revel in their disgrace and sin to infect more of our nation with this demonic doctrine. The last days of our existence will be characterized by the increase of this kind of persons:
1 Timothy 4:1–2 (ESV)
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared . . .
They have seared their consciences and no longer know the difference between right and wrong. Can they be saved? With great difficulty, but I’m not sure because of this passage:
2 Thessalonians 2:9–12 (ESV)
9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
We should pity such persons, but be sure we don’t agree with or support their doomed worldview.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
At the least, we should join with Mike Huckabee and his nationwide audience to show support for Dan Cathy and the “besieged family-owned company” on August 1st as we eat at the nearest #ChickFilA restaurant, even if we have to drive some distance to get there (I’ll be driving nearly an hour to get to the closest one to me). I’ve never eaten there, but I sure intend to now. That’s the ONE thing I suppose I can thank Jim Kenney for.
We can also pray that the Lord will grant us grace to survive the increasing wickedness and darkness as the American empire implodes and disintegrates.
- Chick-fil-A beef puts mayor in pressure cooker (bostonherald.com)
- Personal Opinion: In Danger of Distinction? (marcyda.wordpress.com)
- TODD STARNES: Chicago Chick-fil-A owner under fire for gay marriage stand tells Rahm, ‘eat more chicken’ – Supporters rally as cities ban Chick-fil-A- Hollywood unleashes vulgar rants about Chick-fil-A (radio.foxnews.com)
- Councilman Blasts Chick-Fil-A Prez For Comments Against Gay Marriage (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Chicago Wants to Ban Chick-fil-A (radio.foxnews.com)
- Chicago’s Unconstitutional Attack on Chick-fil-A – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Christians Say Chick-fil-A Under Siege by Militant Gays (radio.foxnews.com)
- Chick-fil-A: if you’re not sure, this is how fascism works (patheos.com)
A conversation with Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys, on the evening of November 17, 1974, changed the course of my life. Ultimately it led to the discovery that Jesus Christ is really alive and the only treasure worth having. It also taught me something about famous people and their needs.
The following is an excerpted section from my forthcoming memoir, Adopted: A Memoir of Healing Love. The section is entitled, “Lessons from Carl Wilson,” in which I relate the details of this encounter that sparked my spiritual journey to Christ:
In November of 1974, The Beach Boys were in concert at the civic center in Springfield, MA.. Around the time of their concert, I worked on and off for a sound and recording studio, The Studio, in the Berkshires owned by Norman Titcomb. While with Norm, we provided sound reinforcement for Arlo Guthrie, Wendy Waldman, John Davidson, the 5th Dimension and later, Natalie Cole.
I had never seen the Beach Boys live. They had to be experienced. I called my sister, Dorothy, and I called my girl friend. We three went together. My sister contends that my girlfriend was not wild about my sister’s presence with us. I do not remember it that way. I thought everything was fine.
I was surprised and disappointed that Brian Wilson wasn’t with them. A second drummer had joined them on the road, Rickie Fataar. They did a great job though. They played both their new and old songs. I had never been to a concert as great as that concert.
Later, backstage, I met one of the sound guys and he invited us to the Beach Boys party at the Springfield-Holyoke Holiday Inn, Holyoke, MA. What a break! Now I get to meet, talk with, drink with my long time heroes.
We got to the Inn and entered the convention room where the party was already in progress. None of the guys had arrived yet. Mainly groupies, sound guys, and a few associates were already there with wine, drinks, and snacks. Everything flowed freely and generously there. I don’t remember paying for anything. Most likely the record company picked up the tab.
When the guys got there, Carl Wilson entered. He wore an open flannel shirt and jeans. He sat at a table behind me. I couldn’t believe it. These guys practically lived in my room–“In My Room.” That song spoke for me. It was as though they knew me or something. The guys who knew me and helped me through many of my problems with girls and at school. The guys who went to the beach with me every summer, who knew the salt and sea air, who knew the smell of French fries and hot dogs were right here with me now. What could I say to them that wouldn’t sound stupid. Hey, I really identified with the stuff in ‘All Summer Long?’
I turned to Carl. “Great concert tonight. The sound was excellent!” We struck up a conversation. We talked together about the road and other hazards. He seemed a little tired, perhaps road-weary, but other than that pretty opened and interested talking. Then it happened. I don’t think he knew what he was about to unleash in my life.
He asked me the strangest question. I later remembered that Plato had said the unexamined life wasn’t worth living. My life was pretty much unexamined up until this night with Carl Wilson. But it was this question and his response to my answer would several months later be used of God to bring me to Himself.
“What’s your dream? What plans do you have for your life?” asked Carl.
I couldn’t believe my ears. What an out of place question in the middle of a party, of all places. I wasn’t in the “profound” mood either. Besides, I didn’t much ask myself such questions. They usually got me depressed.
On top of that . . . I had no clue. “I want to be like you guys,” I heard myself say. “I sing in a band and we hope to get on the road and cut an album.” You would have thought I had told him that Audrey wore combat boots. He laid into me.
“Are you crazy?” He shook his head in disbelief, turned to more fully face me, then riveted his eyes on mine. “Maybe you want to be like him,” he said as he pointed at a dilapidated Dennis Wilson, crumpled on the floor with his back up against the wall, his head tilted to the side, eyes rolled back. He was totally out of it with one attractive girl on each side of him pawing him in his oblivion. One of the girls shoving her shoulder up under his head to later claim that a Beach Boy had slept the night on that shoulder.
Just then, Mike Love shoved the double doors open and burst in. He wore green satin pants and a matching shirt with a yellow star on it. He had a striking blonde girl on one arm and a to-die-for red-head on the other. He announced in a tone full of himself, “I’m here.” He scanned the scene for response.
Carl could see that I was in shock. He said, “Or maybe you want to be like that asshole.” He pointed to Mike.
I said lamely, “Nah . . . I just want to make it like you guys. And have all the friends and people that love you.”
He shook his head and squinted, and fired at me, “You’re an asshole!”
You think these people are our friends? Man . . . I could go to bed with any one of these chicks tonight but never know whether she did it because I was a Beach Boy or because I’m Carl Wilson. I don’t ever know whether I’m valued as Carl or as a Beach Boy. That’s what you want?”
Then he turned away from me and got up.
I don’t know where he went because I had turned back to the people at my table who were all watching me. Fortunately, I was too drunk and high to know how to respond. I sat stunned.
His cousin, Al Jardine, who had apparently overheard the conversation came and sat next to me. He broke my stupor. He said something like, Hey man . . . don’t worry about him. He doesn’t really mean it. He’s just really bummed out about being on the road. He won’t get to be with his family this Christmas and he’s worried about Dennis and his brother Brian. He’s home in bed.
I didn’t understand what was going on in their lives at that point in their history. Frankly, I was one of those people who saw them as The Beach Boys, not as Carl, Dennis, Al, Brian, Mike, but as a phenomenon and as the group that expressed what I felt in music. If any one of them felt used, rejected frightened, I don’t think I ever gave that a thought. Later I would find out, through documentaries, that Brian had had a breakdown and was literally in bed, clinically depressed perhaps. That they had a falling out with their father who had been their producer early on. And that Dennis was keeping company with Charles Manson and family.
All of the guys wondered about their futures, cared about what was happening to their family and each other and were trying the best to cope with all the “stuff” of their public and private lives, while people like me made them money but didn’t have the humanity to see them as brothers, fathers, husbands, or guys who–like the rest of us–needed love and real people in their lives.
“Yeah . . . OK, thanks,” I said, but didn’t mean it because Carl’s words had cut deeply into my fantasy of who The Beach Boys were. My idols had, in one stroke, in three minutes of conversation incinerated and blown away.
Al spoke again, “Hey . . . sorry. We really do appreciate you and thanks for buying our records and diggin’ our music.” I looked at him. His smile was warm. He placed his hand on my shoulder. “Have another beer. Enjoy yourself.” Honestly, up until that evening, Al was the one I liked least of all the guys. I thought his talent fell short of Brian, Carl, and Mike. He was just kind of . . . there. Then I realized he was one of the nicest of the guys. I felt like he considered it a privilege to be in the band and never fell into believing his own press.
It wasn’t Carl’s fault that I had been crushed. An encounter with reality that evening changed my life. And that was God’s intent.
I had always wanted to tell Carl: that though He did not claim to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, his encounter with me led me to the examination of my life that ultimately resulted in my finding Christ as Lord and Savior. I owed my adolescent love of music to them. Now I felt I owed to Carl’s struggle and suffering (and The Beach Boys indirectly) my new spiritual life in Christ. I was saved through a sincere search that began with Carl Wilson’s offhanded, (but accurate about me) comments. I wanted to tell him but didn’t even know how to get in touch. Time passed. Dennis died. Then Carl died of brain cancer (or so I heard).
For Carl’s hard word to me that night, for Al’s compassion, and for Brian and Mike’s music I am extremely grateful. I now see them as people. I often wished I could have been a friend and returned the favor. This account is my attempt at that and my thanks to a loving Father, who in spite of my ungratefulness to him, kept drawing me to Himself with cords of love. Through any and every means.
This touchpoint in my life taught me three things:
First, famous people have a life. The people who bring us entertainment, songs, music, movies are first and foremost people. Like you and me. They are not what the media makes of them—stars, icons, etc. We do them a great disservice when we idolize them. We actually dehumanize them. That must feel to them like we’re using them. They’re already being used by everyone around them. To many of those people, the entertainers are products to capitalize. Agents use them. Concert promoters use them. Record companies use them. And, in a sense, we use them. Just as they use us. We’re their fans and it’s a love-hate relationship.
We also cooperate with their fantasy—that they are somehow SO important. I don’t ever want to dehumanize another person whom God has created. Nor be guilty of contributing to their own “pride of life”—the inflated notion of their own sense of worth. Their worth comes from the fact that they are created by God for relationship with the Heart of the Universe. Not that they can stir the emotions of hundreds of people on a stage—so could Stalin—or are household names—so is Hitler. Popularity is fleeting and says nothing about character or value.
Second, God can use anyone at any time as an agent for his purposes for people. He can put words in their mouths that can be life changing, whether they know it or not. In my role as a pastor, I’ve found that even an enemy can speak truths that I need to hear. And Judas fulfilled God’s purposes for Jesus. Often, a thought enters our mind. We speak. But regardless of what we think we meant, God can use it in the other person for his/her good. That’s why writing this book is so important to me. God will use it in the lives of those who read it.
The third thing: don’t wait until it’s too late to thank people. Do it now while you can. And I make that my habit. Say it now! From what I’ve learned about my heavenly Father, his love requires that he smash our fantasies and demolish our idols so that nothing false stands against truly knowing Him for who he is. As long as I trusted in myself and my sense of future fame, I had a focus that kept me from Him and that contributed to a view of people that kept me from fulfilling the purposes He had for my life.
These are the things I believe I learned through that encounter with The Beach Boys and from what God has taught me from this touchpoint with His divine providence.
* * *
NOTE: The period from the fall of ’74 through the fall of ’76–the bicentennial of our nation–was for me a time of deep soul-search. I knew that I was going nowhere. Carl’s question kept repeating in my mind. It focused me. This was a time of many questions: Who was I? Where was I going? What was my future? What would I do with my life? The questions most young people ask in their early college years, I was asking at age 26.
This was an excerpt from my forthcoming memoir, Adopted: A Memoir of Healing Love. Expected release on Kindle for fall of 2012.
© 2011, David C Alves