Today is Wednesday. Two weeks from today my daughter and I leave for Lynchburg and graduation. It just dawned on me that one day we'll be making this trip again but she will be the graduate then. Morgan is coming to see her daddy graduate. More importantly she is going to see him receive his reward for enduring and not giving up. Morgan knows what I have gone through, and to her, I am heroic. She knows I could have left Nashville and sought work elsewhere but she knew I loved her so much that I wouldn't leave. She knew what my life was like as I slept in my car and lived life as a homeless man. I'm sure it was embarrassing to her but she never said that to me. This degree will be as much an accomplishment for her to treasure as for me. I want her to look at her dad and see an over-comer and a man who will not quit. Most of all I want her to know I love her so much that I will do the hard things in order to be able to do the good things.
I wish there was an award she could get along with me that day. I wish she could get some sort of recognition for being the light of my life and the motivating factor that kept me alive. Whenever I saw myself walking across that platform and getting my degree I saw her sweet face in the audience, smiling proudly at her daddy and thinking to herself how hard this was and how much I endured to get here and how much of a hero I am to her.
While I was homeless and broken and hopeless and so lonely and isolated I never thought about my "story". I didn't think how inspiring it might be to others or how encouraging it is or how much it might be used to help other people see the value of not giving up. But now...as the day draws closer and as I am living in a house again and sleeping in a bed...I realize how inspiring my story really is. If I were reading this and it was someone else's story I would think..."Wow! that's remarkable. Good for you dude" I might also think "I really have no excuse...if he can do it so can I". That's what I hope happens anyway.
I would also think of the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" and the scene where Chris Gardner (Will Smith) has to make up a game for his little boy so he doesn't know they'll be sleeping in the train station bathroom that night. He had to lie. I've had to "put spin" on my life sometimes to shield Morgan from what was going on.
May 12th that won't be necessary anymore. All the battles and hardships and desperate living will be done. Her dad will gain the thing he has worked for and dreamed of for such a long time.
I will be her hero...