Introduction: Acceptance

Updated: Aug 21

Hello, my name is Caleb, and I have something to say. A little back story first. I am from Florida and grew up in church. My father is a pastor so that makes me a PK (preachers kid). I am an army vet, a father, a husband, a dreamer, and an entrepreneur. I’m still healing from church hurt, family hurt, and relational hurt from over the years.

So now that I have that out of the way, I want to talk about how the experiences in my life have molded me into the man that I have become. Along this journey, I will give examples of things that have helped me along my walk in life, and hope that my story will help someone else along their journey.

Let’s jump right in! I want to talk about acceptance, which you might hear me talk about often. The definition of acceptance is the act of consenting to receive or undertake something offered. All my life, I have felt like I was supposed to accept something, but I never knew what it was. Or rather, I was told to accept something that I wasn’t comfortable with accepting because it didn’t make sense to me. Due to the lack of explanation of why I should accept what I did not understand, it took me until I was about 24/25 years old to actually dive into who I truly was made to be.

It took me years of searching, years of drinking, and years of bad choices to understand that I wasn’t lining up with where I wanted to be. At times, I judged myself so much, to the point where I would talk my way out of good things that came my way. I realized that the support I was always searching for was someone to talk with me about my dreams, help me develop my dreams, and encourage me when I was at my low points. I honestly didn’t have that, or maybe it was just naturally not given, or maybe I didn’t voice how I needed support. So, I supported myself by not letting people help me because I didn’t feel like the help was authentic. I felt like I had to do everything on my own with no help, and while that was not the case, that’s what my mind would tell me. In a big way, this made me blocked off from people and made me isolate myself from myself. In other words, I didn’t want to face my own deep insecurities of not feeling accepted.

The moment when things seemed to keep getting worse, I was facing being kicked out of the army, and going through a partial divorce (meaning we hadn’t filed paperwork, but we were both in relationships and planned to get divorced). At this point, I was in a depression so dark that all I could do was drink, smoke, and have sex. Some nights I thought about just taking myself completely out, either by drinking myself dead or driving myself into a brick wall. I honestly felt that no one would miss me or even care. This is weird because I was literally surrounded by people on a daily basis, but I would never open up about how down I was feeling. I didn’t talk to family or friends, shoot, I didn’t even talk to God. I felt like he wasn’t there or couldn’t care less. I was going through so much hell internally that I felt like the only cure was to just die or disappear. Then, I got into a relationship and tried to use that to heal all my pain, which in turn only caused more pain for the both of us. In this depression, I went from about 195 lbs to 140 lbs - I looked like I was on drugs. I wear a large/X-large now, and was wearing a medium back then. I would drink about a bottle a day, and some nights that wasn’t even enough.

So there I was, a fully functional alcoholic, chasing the love that I felt I was missing. I smoked about a pack of cigarettes a day. Only one thing outside of me being drunk was consistent, and that was having a job, then finding a new one every 6 months when the other got boring. I still did not go to church because God was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t want to say thank you because I felt I had nothing to thank him for. There I was, always drunk, in so much pain that I felt life wasn’t worth having, but yet still alive. This is one thing that I never actually thought about until later in 2014, but we will get to that later. One day, on my lowest day, I called my granny to talk to her and see how she was doing. She asked me, “Baby, what’s wrong?”. So I told her everything I was going through. She talked, I cried, and then she told me two things I now love to say: “Why pray if you are going to worry, why worry if you’ve already prayed,” and “Love don’t hurt, love don’t make you hate yourself, love don’t love like that.” To my surprise, that was the last conversation we had, and the most memorable because a few months later I found out she had only a few months left to live. That’s when I thought to myself, could my life get any worse? What else could happen Lord? Why her, why now, just why?

Everything happened so fast. She was here, then she wasn’t, then I was at her funeral. That was a day I will remember forever, not because of the sadness, but because of the joy that I felt thinking about her, thinking of the memories, and sharing the stories with my family. Later that night my momma and God sisters sat me down and said, “Talk to me” and I completely broke down. I was completely broken at this point in my life. They prayed for hours but it seemed like minuets to me because at that moment, God showed me all that he had kept me through and all that he kept me from.