Yes, God showed up. Uninvited and unwelcomed.
The subject of “God” is touchy for many people. I acknowledge this, and won’t go down the rabbit hole (now). I’ll preface my story with two simple points:
- This story isn’t about religion. This is about relationship. Two vastly different things. If it helps, I don’t like religion either, or at all.
- Nobody is forcing you to read this. Feel free to stop reading this at any time.
OK, back to my personal pity party.
This was my party. All mine.
I invited the most important person in my life (me), and I was sure he was coming (again, me.). The best time for me to have a pity party is early in the morning. Mornings are great times for pity parties because it’s easier for me to be alone.
This particular party took place one morning a couple weeks ago. I woke up in a pissy mood, so it was the perfect time to hold my pity party!
I even had a theme. “2020 Sucks!” In my mind, I replayed all the crappy things about this year, and I found I had lots of things to celebrate:
- COVID-19, and all the disruption it brought to daily life
- Closed offices.
- Closed schools.
- Economic hardships.
- The saddest/hardest stuff:
- Sick people.
- Closed businesses (some permanently).
- Social (in)Justice:
- Cities burning.
- Systemic racism.
- 2020 Election:
This country I love seems like it’s falling apart. I grew up in a Marine Corps family (Oorah!), so this hits hard and personal. People around me who used to love each other are now at each other’s throats. Damn, this pity party was in full swing!
Wait though, I can kick this thing up a notch!
I haven’t even started to grumble and take the “woe is me” look at my personal issues in 2020:
- Frustration in my own home.
- Loneliness and isolation.
- Hit a deer while riding my motorcycle in May ($11K in damage).
- Lost my little buddy (dog named “Vike”) in July.
- Child struggling with school (social issues, lack of routine, etc.)
- Work stresses from being CEO of two companies. The wind blows the strongest at the top of the mountain.
- Lost my little sweetheart (dog named “Maizee”) first week in October. Two dogs in one year?! WTF?
- General insecurities that come with working in the information security industry (yes, we all have them).
- Etc., etc., and the list could continue.
The party was going great! I was feeling comfortable being shitty. I had a solid shitty attitude. To boot, I felt like I had plenty of blame to toss around and anger to express.
Woop! Woop! Party!
Then “He” showed up.
He showed up like He has before. Subtle. Almost sneaky. No grand entrance or anything.
Upon reflection, I realized He was actually there when the party started. I didn’t know He was there, but He was. At just the right time, He made his presence known to me, with a subtleness I can’t compare to anything else.
He whispered with in a gentle loving voice, “Did you forget?“
The whisper wasn’t audible, at least I don’t think it was. There was nobody else in the room to confirm a “yes” or “no”/my sanity. Regardless, whether His voice was audible or not, I’m certain I heard Him.
I responded (not audibly, I don’t think), “Forget what?”
He replied, “Forget the blessings. Did you forget the blessings?“
I thought for a second. “What blessings?“
With more gentleness, and without anger, He reminded me:
- “This was the year I gave you Ryan Cloutier to work with.
- This was the year I gave you the amazing SecurityStudio team experience at RSA. Remember #MissionBeforeMoney? That was Me.
- This was the year I gave you a wonderful vacation with your wife and friends. You know that seven-day cruise and everything that came with it?
- This was the year I gave you 2,500+ students in the FRSecure CISSP Mentor Program. I even let you take credit for it.
- This was the year I gave you unity and progress at FRSecure; amongst the executive leadership team, the senior management team, and the employees who get the real work done.
- This was the year I gave you a new motorcycle after you crashed the last one.
- This was the year I gave you a stronger bond with your wife.
- This was the year I have you a second vacation, one to the Black Hills of South Dakota with your wife and friends.
- This was the year I made SecurityStudio profitable for the first time.
- This was the year I gave you a new puppy with an amazing and vibrant lust for life.
- This was the year I taught you what unconditional love feels like.
- This was the year I introduced you to working more closely with Chris Roberts (BTW, I’m using him too) on the Security Shit Show, multiple talks/panels, and business collaboration on My mission (to fix the broken industry).
- This was the year I gave you new and deeper experiences with co-workers and friends.
- This was the year I gave you the Daily inSANITY Checkin and new relationships with many wonderful people there (Josh, Jared, Steve, Tony, Richie, Amy, Marlyce, Dwight, Jim, Raul, Shelley, Olga, Jason, Brian, Rod, Caleb, Jeff, Lisa, etc.)
Shall I go on?”
Through tears running down my face, I responded, “Thank you. Thank you for coming to my pity party to remind me who I am and what You have done for me.”
It was here I realized I’m not cursed. Far, far from it. I’m blessed. Beyond everything that’s been done for me and given to me, I’m blessed by a God who always shows up, even to my pity parties He isn’t invited to.
2020 has been a weird year. It’s been much worse for some than for others, but regardless of how bad it’s been, there’s hope. There’s hope that God will show up for you as He did for me. There’s hope that God will restore what we destroy. I can’t help but wonder how much of what we’ve destroyed was destroyed because we take things for granted. It’s easy to take things for granted when we are given things without 1) earning them (called grace) and 2) realizing where they came from.
Wishing and praying for all brothers and sisters who are struggling today. I pray that you’ll find God, His grace and your blessings.