I  had a great day today. Father’s Day is supposed to be a day to celebrate your dad and to celebrate family in general. And I was lucky enough to be able to celebrate with both my aunt and uncle and cousins and to get to spend time with my parents and grandparents and my other aunt, uncle, and cousin. Lots of family time.

But of everything that happened today, the thing that  sticks out to me most happened just as my mom dropped me off back at home. We got out of the car and she said, wait a minute, I have something for you. I was puzzled. She went back to the truck of the car and opened it up. I walked back and she pulled out my guitar case. For a second I was so stunned I could barely speak. I just barely mumbled, “where’d you get that!?”

You see, I had pawned my guitar months ago. I pawned it for $50. And I used that money to buy drugs.

This guitar was my high school graduation gift from my parents. And I have cherished it as one of my most priceless possessions since then. And I had thought I would never see it again. I could hardly believe it was there in front of me.

I couldn’t speak. She started to explain how she had found the pawn slip and went and redeemed it because she thought that I could be redeemed and she didn’t get any further because I began to sob and threw my arms around her neck.

That was the first time I’ve truly cried in at least 9 months. Probably longer. I felt like someone was just squeezing my insides in a vice. But they weren’t tears of sadness. I was crying tears of absolute and unmitigated joy. I love this guitar. For me it is not just a piece of wood with metal strings. For me, it is a symbol of a part of who I have been since I turned 18. I’ve had this guitar for over 8 years and it is like an extension of my body. And having it gone was like being an amputee.

So you can see how when my mom unexpectedly gave it back to me she gave me back a piece of myself and put me one step closer to being whole.

More than just that, the sentiment behind such a thoughtful and self-less act overwhelmed me. I burst into tears because this gift was a symbol of the fact that despite how many times I have tried and failed, my mom still has confidence in me. And more importantly, that she still loves me.

I can’t express what that kind of love means to me. There is still a large part of me that really believes I don’t deserve love. I know that isn’t true, but what just floors me is that even if I really didn’t deserve her love, my mom would love me anyway.

Even though I have put her and the rest of my family through a seemingly endless round of temporary hope followed by pain, sadness, disappointment and devastation, in spite of what I have done, she still loves me and has hope that I will be able to follow my quest and truly achieve my goal of optimal wellness in all aspects of my life.

I am in deep debt to my loving mother. And although today is Father’s Day, I felt that she deserved recognition as well. I spent all day paying homage to the love I have for my wonderful dad. So this post is truly a shout out to my mother, Karen Howells. She is a talented professional, a voracious learner and student, a loving wife, a thoughtful hostess, a fantastic cook, a courageous breast cancer survivor, and the only mother I’ll ever have and the only one I’d ever want.

I believe that as I emerge into a new manifestation of my self as my quest progresses and I become healthier (especially in my spirit) that I will grow into a man and a son that will make my mother proud of me. It may not erase all the harm I have done, but it may, I hope, allow me to give back to my family and to begin to redeem myself.

My guitar will forever have a place in my soul as a symbol of that redemption. As my mom redeemed my guitar, so I hope to be redeemed. I will not forget. I will not give up.

That is my truth on this day.

Thanks for reading,




2 responses to “Redemption

  1. What an absolutely gorgeous testament to the power and resilience of LOVE. I’ve been surrounded by so much love today from family – I’m buoyed up by the boundless affection I’ve experienced. Thank you, Nathan, for your beautiful blog post!

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