“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep'. In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Birds of a feather, flock together as the saying goes. Well, this is especially true in youth, it is very, very easy to find like-minded, miserable friends in school. In reality, you tend to hang out with people two steps farther behind than yourself and enjoy jumping down to be an equivalent. Whether it be smoking, drinking, skipping school, it really doesn’t matter, because at 15 the world sucks and so does anyone else who would try to prove it otherwise. It was at this age that I began to really understand what a hypocrite was, how adults lie, people cheat, the majority of the world will take advantage of you and the things you desire will detest you. Within me, was this soft loving spirit (deep within), but I had swallowed that away on occasion someone new would come into my view, a cute girl at school, a smart girl at church, a person above average who got much respect. So from time to time, I would open up a little and try to express that I wasn’t such the bad kid, to show that I had a pleasant person on the inside a spirit of love within. I was weaker than the other kids my age, shorter, red-hair and maintained a pretty bad reputation. So, when these nice girls came into my life, they would usually laugh me out of their world faster than I could try to love myself into theirs. Then, on the days that I would just try to honestly do what was right, I would be punished for something I had done before…..Youth was a useless cycle.
Suicide was never a thought of mine, that was too simple, self-abuse and mutilation, well that was just pointless. So I remained in a spirit of hatred whenever I was shot down, I would just harden myself that much more. When another bully wanted to bully me, I would just bully someone else that much more. Talking down to anyone gave me a feeling of greatness over people, witty comments, disregard for humans emotions, they all became funny to me! Church had become a joke to me too, of course the preachers kids played the piano, of course the youth ministers kids were the most popular, of course the wealthiest kids would always decide what activities would be done. Church was not a reflection of any scripture I had read, the sermons were boring, the music uninteresting and the ridiculous amount of time my parents invested into the whole show, well that just made me even more angry. That heart I had surrendered to Jesus when I was 7, well He could have easily taken it back, because I no longer had it. I was no longer angry with the world, I was pissed off at it, from then on it would really just be my way.
I was suspended a few times, constantly in detention, in school suspension, Saturday school, expelled in 10th grade, then just dropped out the next year. There was in that time two people who were influential to me, adults who actually saw through me and loved me anyway. My shop teacher Mr. Fathergill, a WWII veteran, tough as nails, but sincere as anyone you would ever meet. Then this guy David from church, he was a re-covered alcoholic, with three daughters, I disrespected him plenty. Yet, Dave would on occasion throw me up against a wall, get in my face, he once even tracked me down after I had dropped out, drove me around and tried to get me to pray for forgiveness, I would just laugh. What would be the point?
I had a job, working at Pizza Hut, then after dropping out, picked up two other part-time jobs. It kept me busy enough to stay occupied and gave me enough money to buy weed and alcohol to enjoy on my days off. Hard work was never beneath me (thanks Grandpa), work life was way better than school life at least people respected you for your dedication and didn’t focus on ruining the day, instead everyone just wanted to get the job done, then go home. I moved out when I was 17, started trying heavier drugs, cocaine, meth, more beer, pot daily, huffing paint, just whatever to take the edge of life off for a bit. In one of those settings, I met someone more full of hatred than me, I was attacked, had my front tooth kicked out and a knife held up to me being asked why he shouldn’t just kill me, because I was a joke to him. Which reminds me of another attack the previous year, where I was attacked by another man, in a situation I really won’t discuss, I will just say I was still a child, I will forever have a hatred towards pedophiles and scars don’t go away like black eyes, front teeth can be replaced other things cannot.
Anyway, So this is kind of how my life was formed prior to becoming adult. The worst part of most of it is that once again at any time had I just followed the guidelines of the God who entered my young heart, a lot of these problems would have been avoided. I was just a teenage then, I knew it all anyway!

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“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep'. In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

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