Virtue and Vice: Money
My birthparents, as I also understand it, were unmarried. I was the product of a short-term relationship.
Dorothy had other children and I was in fact the youngest child making me the baby of the family.
Both of my adopted parents are deceased. I was twenty when Kenneth Anthony died and thirty-eight when Joyce died. After the death of Joyce Katherine, I requested and received documents from a Catholic adoption agency that procured my adoption. The contents were sparse adding some information to my knowledge base that I had previously gathered.
Why was I given up for adoption in the first place, a major query I had all my life was finally put to rest from data I received. Simply stated, I was given up for adoption because my birthmother wanted me to have materialistic opportunities that she felt she would be unable to provide.
In Mere Christianity, 213-214, re money, Lewis states, “One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kind of happiness money can give and so fail to realize your need for God.”
My adopted parents were not rich. I was not spoiled. Both were employed and I never went without a meal, clothes or a roof over my head. They likewise followed the request left by my birthmother, which was to raise me in the Roman Catholic faith. It is interesting to note as I write this essay under candlelight that if ever an individual were suited to Rome it would be my adopted mother, Joyce Katherine. Joyce Katherine did everything reasonable to keep me educated within the formation of the Church of Rome. My spiritual formation began under the tutelage of the sister of St. Joseph.
Lewis goes on to write, "If everything seems to come simple by signing cheques, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God."
At age two, I arrived in California living first in Whittier California. My parents choose after a short time to move to Fullerton the city where I make my current residence. Kenneth Anthony, my adopted father moved to northern California. He first moved to Sacrament and a couple of years later to San Jose. He lived there until his death. I rarely saw him after he moved. I was seven, a first grader when he left.
Lewis writes … “If you have sound nerves and intelligence and health and popularity and a good upbringing, you are likely to be quite satisfied with your character as it is. Why bring God into it?’ you may ask.”
My parents saw to it in Lewis’s words, quite plainly that I did not have sound nerves. Kenneth had a visceral abusive side to himself. He was not satisfied until I was screaming in horror from his beatings. Kenneth was a very angry person.
Today people may not be content feeling they get their moneys worth going to the movie theater until they feel the affect of adrenaline released from their adrenaline glands raging through their veins giving them an euphoric effect what today is known as an adrenaline rush. I did not have to pay for a movie ticket to get this adrenaline release I got adrenaline released in me for free via the many beatings Kenneth Anthony subjected me to.
When it comes to popularity, peers at St. Mary’s Catholic elementary school helped in stifling my social development in that category. What you believe are urban legends about the way people are treated in elementary Catholic schools in my case are true. God has providentially graced me, however with intelligence and health.
In time, my social development did improve. I began sports as a competitive swimmer for Jimmy Smith’s Swim Club at six years old. At eleven, I began judo I hold a first-degree Shodan Black Belt. In the eighth grade, I added track and field along with weightlifting. In high school, I was on the water polo and swimming team. I did not feel however, I was ever good enough, again due to Kenneth’s contribution. During my senior year, I set a high school record for speed in the fifty-meter freestyle. I also set the high school record for bench-press. Upon hearing of my accomplishments, Kenneth asked, "why was it not faster and why was it not more weight?"
"Why drag God into it?" asks Lewis. I did not, that is the point. God came looking for me.
When Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil, Adam’s response to God was to hide from His presence. "Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the orchard. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" Genesis 3:8-9
Like Adam, God came looking for me. "We love because he loved us first." 1 John 4:19
"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.) But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8
My birth mother chose to have sexual relations with my birth father. My birth mother chose to have her baby boy given up for adoption and to be raised by others. Joyce Katherine and Kenneth Anthony chose to adopt a little, vulnerable eight-month-old baby boy name Rick Williams changing his last name from Williams to theirs.
Coach Jim Smith chose to watch me swim and seeing promise in my ability requested my parents bring to the swim club. My parents chose to bring me. This began a life of sports that later resulted in meeting an eighth grade math schoolteacher who introduced the subject of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus to me. Later at seventeen, I the subject of the Christian Gospel via within a weightlifting sports setting was offered to me.
Lewis states, "Why drag God into it?" Again, I did not drag God anywhere rather God drew me. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to me. 6:46 (Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God – he has seen the Father.) I tell you the solemn truth; the one who believes has eternal life." St. John 6:44-47
2. Reflect on whether your parents contributed to this in your life.
Are you influencing your children to depend on riches over faith in God?
Write at least one paragraph.
3. Reflect on the time you first came to hear the Gospel message.
4. Reflect on how many years it took from the time you first recall hearing the Gospel message to when you invited the Lord Jesus into your life and were baptized as a believer.
5. Reflect on the pivotal events that were involved in your conversion.
Make a time line.
6. Reflect on who were the important people in your progress towards conversion.
Make a list of their names. Write a personal thank-you note for each whether alive or not. If alive you may simply thank them via email, phone or in person. Say a prayer for them
7. Take time and write your personal testimony of how you came to accept the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior. Write at least one page.
8. Take care, and tell God the Father, thank you for drawing you to Jesus.
Thank God the Son for dieing on the cross in order to pay for your salvation.
Thank God the Holy Spirit for His contributions as well in your salvation.
To share your thoughts please contact me at, firstname.lastname@example.org .