I ride for a Christian skateboard company now called Embassador Skateboards, and a big part of what we do is share testimonies at demos and other forms of outreaches; and since I’m always listening to other riders share their testimonies, it got me thinking about my own.
I grew up in somewhat of a christian home, and like most kids, once High School came I began to drift away from my Christian roots and started getting into partying. On the weekends, my friends and I would go skate and film all day, then party all night. And besides the usual side effects of this lifestyle, like extreme highs and lows, depression, and loneliness; I ended up getting Mono (a virus you get from kissing that causes severe headaches, loss of appetite, strep throat, inflamed spleen, and fever; and it lasts for about 3 weeks). And on top of that, friends and acquaintances of mine were getting jumped at parties, and people also starting bringing guns, and would fire them off into the air as like a warning shot. All this made me and a few other of my friends feel like we needed some extra protection, so we found a guy that was selling brass knuckles and a couple of us got some and started carrying them around with us everywhere we went. Luckily though, none of us ever had to use them. Mono, my homies getting jumped, and people firing guns off at parties, opened my eyes to the reality that stuff can really go down in that lifestyle. We always hear about people getting shot or jumped, or about people getting STD’s or other types of viruses from living the party life, but we never think it will happen to us. As soon as I began to see that it could happen to me, I started building a desire to get out of that lifestyle. It took about a year of wanting a change before any change finally came, but this desire was the beginning of a year or two long process that would eventually lead me back to my Christian roots.
I was eventually able to quit partying thanks to a few friends that also wanted to quit, so instead of partying after skating all day, we would just go kick it at someone’s house, watch some skate videos, drink some beer and smoke some weed. We would go to an occasional party but nothing like before. During this time, I hit another turning point when my mom decided to drug test me because my car smelt like weed. Getting caught smoking weed wasn’t what got me to go through another change, it was what I had to do to not get caught. I had my friend Ferny (who never smoked weed) pee in a bag for me, and then his brother Rudie drove me home. And on the car ride home I had to keep the bag of piss by the heater so it would keep warm (the drug test won’t work if the pee isn’t warm, if it’s not warm than it’s obviously not fresh). When I got home I was able to convince my mom that I should take the test now, so I went into the bathroom with the bag of piss in my sweatshirt pocket, poured it into the cup and gave it to her; and sure enough, I passed. The fact that my life had succumbed to me carrying around a bag of piss in my pocket was enough for me to realize that my life needed another change, so with this, I never smoked weed again and started to drift away from certain friends a little bit. I would still skate with a lot of them, I just wouldn’t stick around for the after party or participate in the “puff puff pass.”
Around this time I started skating with my friend Edmund a lot, who was a real solid Christian, and I also started hanging out with my friend Andy a lot who grew up with Edmund and went to the same church as him. Instead of my usual routine of skating all day, then partying all night; I would go skate all day (usually with Edmund) then go chill at Andy’s house with him and our friend Jeremy (who was also starting to pursue spiritual/Christian things). And we would be up all night talking about God, philosophy, and all kinds of deep stuff. During this time, Edmund took me with him to Vegas to go skate, and while we were there we had a long conversation about Christianity, what it means to follow Christ and be a genuine Christian, and all the stuff that people do and say to avoid Christ. When we got back from Vegas, Andy’s mom invited me to church with them, and after the sermon the pastor asked if there was anybody who desired to rededicate their life to Christ (which was the only time I ever heard him do that after a year of going there), so I raised my hand and officially rededicated my life to Christ. Then began the journey of a life fully committed to Christ and His purposes.
What kept me away from Christ for all those years, was that I wanted to party and do my own thing without anybody telling me what to do. It took me a little while to realize that when Scripture and people that genuinely cared about my well being told me not to get wasted, make out with random girls, or do things I knew I shouldn’t; it was so I wouldn’t get Mono, have to carry around a bag of piss in my pocket, or have other crappy things happen to me that came with that lifestyle. One of the major things I learned through my stubbornness was that, to say, “it won’t happen to me,” is more often than not a delusion and a lie. If it can happen to someone else it can happen to me, I have to either accept that and the consequences that come, or change my lifestyle so I can prevent it from happening to me.
As a Christian, I’ve learned to always look for the lesson and the good that comes through hardships. To be cliche, “there’s always light at the end of the tunnel,” no righteous or God-fearing person ever suffers in vain. Life with God has been an adventure since day one. Part two will have the details of this adventure, but for now, I’ll leave you with this – I looked for adventure in partying and other things that didn’t involve God, but I found it in the last place I ever thought to look, the One that created adventure.