I smoked pot once…
then I smoked it again…and again…
Because we were moving all the time after my parents split, I went to a different school for six straight years, from fifth grade to tenth.
The first couple moves weren’t too bad and I did okay at the new schools finding new friends fairly easily. But as I moved into my junior-high years it became harder and harder to fit in. In general, middle schoolers are not very welcoming to new kids, especially ones who are tired of trying to fit into new circumstances every year.
There was one group, however, who was very inclusive–the stoners.
Most of them were like me, outcasts from broken families, tired of trying to fit in with crowds who mostly didn’t want us there. We accepted each other as we were, for the most part, and that was what we needed. The pot just went along with it somehow.
I never fit in with the mainstream crowd anymore, not really, but high school was better. I had a large group of friends, all accredited members of the party crowd. The stoners had moved on to alcohol and thereby intermingled with the rest of the mainstream crowd, who were just discovering marijuana.
I went overboard at times as did many of my friends; I smoked too much, drank too much. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t. Sometimes I wish I had been strong enough to go to each new town or school and just let people accept me for who I was or not. Sometimes I wish I had been strong enough to jump in and fight for the starting shortstop job in high-school, whether I won the position or not. Sometimes I wonder who I could have been and what I could’ve done had I saved a few of the brain cells I partied away. Sometimes I wish I had applied myself and gone to college and studied something that could have put me on a path to make a difference in this world.
Mostly I don’t, though. Mostly I live where I am, in the moment, and I am grateful for that moment, this moment. I am grateful for the incredible life God has blessed me with. Some would call my life average. I call it an infinitely awesome gift; A Gift That Gives.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I am not living a life of regret. I was a clueless kid whose life had been turned on its side. Maybe he could’ve done better but God would give that kid some grace, don’t you think? That’s what I received, anyway.
Not only was I given grace but he worked all my choices for my good and hopefully for the good of a few others as well. I still count some of those crazy stoners from school among my best friends and I see them often. And the uncertainties and ups and downs of my imperfect blue-collar life has prepared me to be the man I am, to be the average joe voice you are reading right now.