High school rolled around. I went to North Garland High School, which was within short walking distance, just past my old elementary school. I was also promoted into Boy Scouts, but more on that later. In high school, I tried my hand at acting again. But I just don’t think it was my calling. And it doesn’t help that the drama teacher hated me. She would openly make fun of me in front of the class. I’m not just saying it like that because I’m bitter…I’m dead serious. For three years I tried that and finally had enough. I remember rehearsing one morning, and as usual she left the drama room, leaving the class to ourselves. This particular day the students turned the lights off and began playing hide and seek in the dark. Suddenly, the lights came up and a huge object came flying at my face, busting my nose. Blood gushed down my arms as I tried to stench the flow, running to the clinic. As the nurse tended to me, the drama instructor came in and yelled at ME(!!!) for fooling around and making it so she could never trust a class again. She had gotten reports that I was running down the hall and partaking in the sortie. The nurse kicked her out, and that was the end of my acting career.
Most of my friends by this point–due to my low self-esteem–were girls. But by the end of my high school tenure, that fell apart too. Two particular girls, hormonal as they were, could not stand each other and manipulated me through deceit and lies. I ended up breaking off contact with one of them. She tried to make me touch her at a movie, explaining how lonely she was. I know God was guarding my innocence then. I later befriended a wonderful person named Amanda. We became best friends by senior year and she even asked me to the prom! We had a mock casino at prom and together, Amanda and I had enough “money” to win a trip to New York, which we took. (Her brother went with us to “save face”.) My senior year, I was a huge school spirit kind of guy. In fact, I was nominated for best school spirit! I graduated 18 of 300.
As far as academics, I was above average. Can’t say I really studied, but if I had, I’m sure I would have been top 10 of my class. I buckled down my senior year though. And by the way, I waited until then to take the dreaded PE credits. Ha ha. I also devoted a lot of my academics to medical classes. They had a unique program where students could spend half a day observing at a hospital. I did that for two years, certain I was headed for medical school one day. To further my experience, I began to volunteer at the local hospital. The same hospital, in fact, where I was born. There was a nurse who, I found out, worked in labor and delivery the year I was born (she didn’t remember me =P).
Outside of school, as I said, I was in Boy Scouts. Troop 57. Being the runt is not easy. In fact, since this story is getting long, let me just say that it became a knockout drag fight when it came time to go to the meeting each week or camping each month. My mom and I would argue, but she kept making me go. I progressed through the first couple of ranks slowly. I tried to get a few modest leadership positions (required for the upper ranks) but never got elected. After months and months the torment and mental suffering, my mom experienced it first-hand. We were leaving from the meeting one night when a boy yelled out across the parking lot–with my mom beside me–“why don’t you do this troop a favor and quit!” My mom yelled back at him and finally she saw what I was going through! We started visiting around because she was determined to keep me involved. I ended up joining Troop 884. I was accepted there, which is always what I’ve been longing for. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to handle it. I became arrogant, headstrong, and developed a “my way is the only way” attitude. But patient leaders grew me in that area. I rose in the ranks and got elected leadership positions. I developed great friendships, some of which I still keep (though distantly) today. The leaders–like Bill Bliss, Robert Divelbiss, and Ron Wood–are some of my biggest influences in who I am today. I even went on three backpacking expeditions, leading one of them! (As me for my journals sometime.) I obtained Eagle Scout in 1996 and even completed the Eagle Palms before I turned 18. Not a lot of people in my life now know about this side of me, but yah, I can be quite the outdoorsman when I want. 🙂
As far as church activities, those didn’t go so well either for most of my high school years. But it ended in the best possible way! The church I was attending had a huge youth group. But it was more of a fashion show than anything else. I ended up making my schedule at the hospital so I worked Sunday mornings, just to avoid having to go. But the pain of my dad was still very real and very fresh, even a few years after it had happened. This other church in town sponsored a “Judgment House” every Halloween. It was a HUGE production; not like a hell house. My senior year (1996) I wanted to help out with it, so I became a guide that took audiences through. The other adult staff started talking to me and investing in me. They answered questions I had that I never felt able to ask. I remember reading John and got to 20:29, I think it was. Blessed are those who believe without seeing. As you can imagine, I was having a hard time reconciling my circumstances with faith in Christ. But pull on me God did, and on Halloween night, 1996, I gave my life to Christ. And the healing of the pain from my dad and all other tough circumstances began.