I had an interesting upbringing. I grew up witnessing the effects of severe mental illness and prescription pill abuse. I knew what an eviction notice and utility shut off looked like before I was ten. I moved around a lot as a teen to escape a turbulent home life – friend’s house to friend’s house and maybe back to a relative’s house.
I never knew what life would throw at me next. At 17, I learned I was going to be a father – which couldn’t have happened at a worse time since I was almost homeless at the time. The next few years were filled with financial and family hardship.
But there’s something I constantly remind myself of through every part of my journey: Love was there. When we were getting evicted, love offered up a home for me to stay. When our power was shut off, love provided me with a place to stay warm and get a meal. When I became a teen father, love provided me with the resources and people in my life to learn how to be a loving father even in the midst of financial hardships. When I felt like my family was all but gone, love reminded me that family is so much more than blood. Love was always there.
Today, I have a full-time job working as an EMT on an ambulance that allows me to support myself and my three children. This job places me in some difficult life situations, but has given me the opportunity to see love in action- to be love in action. I get to see love in action with my children, through how I treat them and with how they treat others. These small interactions all play a part in building the love one feels for both yourself and for others. It’s something bigger than all of us. I believe in love because it is with you for every part of life’s journey.