Over three years ago, I was scrolling through a crypto group on a [unnamed] social network, and I found a post that stood out to me. It was posted by a man in Georgia, and he wrote:

“I’m writing this from prison and have X amount to invest but know nothing about crypto. Where do I start?”

The comment thread was beyond cruel, with countless people making off-color jokes to the man about his circumstances. It didn’t sit right with me to read through their cruelty, and I decided to send him a message. I didn’t have much to offer him in the way of crypto knowledge, but I told him I’d be happy to be his friend.

I didn’t expect to hear back from him – but I did.

At that time, I think he had about 18 months left in his sentence, and he was managing to hold it together pretty well; staying out of trouble and keeping his mind sharp.

He was able to give me insight into a world many will never experience. I asked him managed to avoid getting ‘recruited’ by the prison gangs, and he told me that he had trained in boxing for many years. When the thugs came to ‘recruit him’, he fought them off – and thus, was able to prevent the inevitable chain of events that happen when you join a prison gang; more crime, more time and violence.

“Most of those guys aren’t so hard.” He told me. At least, not when they’re met by somebody who knows what he’s doing with his fists.

It’s been two years since he got out – and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. Since then, he’s gotten his personal training certification, started trading stocks and has been steady and faithful with his partner – somebody he says he can’t imagine his life without. He’s had the opportunity to reconnect with his son, who he’s kept a great relationship with despite his circumstances.

This evening, I was wrapping up some of my work when I got a phone call from him, and we spoke for nearly an hour. We shared some of the struggles we’ve faced as we pursue our goals, while providing encouragement to each other about life, fatherhood and faith. It meant a lot to hear from him, as I’ve recently felt like I’ve been in my own prison of sorts in my mind and life.

I shared with him that one of my greatest struggles has been in feeling like I’m not where I want to be. Yet, I know that I’m on the right path to the goals I hope to accomplish with my life – and, in many ways, I already have.

One of the most difficult parts of my journey has been in my own measuring stick for my life; which has been purely financial and based on the assets I have. Over the years, I’ve realized that this sort of metric will always leave me wanting more and I’ll never ever reach a point where I feel that I’ve ‘made it’. It’s like chasing your tail, and the more times you circle around, the dizzier you get.

Some of the greatest successes in my life haven’t been the least bit material. Rather, it’s been in the relationships I’ve built over the years, with others – and with myself.

Nearly 18 years ago, I was a volunteer for Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and I’d host a weekly bible study where I got to know a small group of students. Each week, I’d stand in front of a whiteboard and give them their weekly ‘Practical Life Applications And Truths’ as I called them; lessons from the Bible, and a look into how Jesus lived His life.

I spoke to one of those students this morning. He’s no longer a student and has had a helluva life. He’s had his own battles in life and has done time behind bars. Throughout all of it, we’ve stayed in touch and I’ve had the opportunity to love on him during the good times and the bad.

Today, he called to tell me that he was going to be starting his new job this week – working as a welder to work on large government projects – nuclear reactors for ships/submarines, in particular. We often speak when he’s in his home workshop while he works on his motorcycle, which he’s determined to set a speed record on – and I believe he’ll do it.

Sometimes when I look at my own life, I feel like my life isn’t where I want it to be. However, I’ve been blessed with recent reminders that I’m exactly on the path I need to be on, no matter how long it takes.

The amount of work it takes to be a single Dad is worthy of its own job title. The amount of money I need to make each month before I buy a single grocery is more than the average household income in the US, and that’s just to keep the lights on, a safe car in the garage and pay child support to somebody that did everything possible to keep me from getting equal custody of my own son.

Does it get to me? All the time. However, this year I’ve learned what it means to have faith, persistence and to never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever quit. The reward is the journey – not the destination.

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