OK. I know I'm not a legend. Randy will not begin referring to Randy in the third person or anything. Promise. It's just that, for around a decade I've had people tell me from time to time that I need to start putting some of my experiences down on paper. My favorite comment was from a guy named Pete Brayton. Pete told me something along the lines of "I don't know what story you're going to tell, but I know there is one inside of you, and it's going to epic when it comes out." I'm not kidding, Pete always talked like that.
Which reminds me of a story, which kind of relates to how legends get started in the first place. You may have noticed that Pete's last name is Brayton, which is very similar to my own. He also bears a resemblance to my step-fathers family. Well we got to talking one day and wouldn't you know it, his family traces their lineage back to the same northern New York town that my step-fathers family does. It wasn't difficult then to imagine that at some point in the past someone made a modification to the name, and that Pete and I were tacitly related. And that my friends, is how legends get started.
As I sit here and write this, I'm hit with some real pangs of nostalgia and sadness. I have a hard time letting go of things. For a person with my share of failures, more than my share in my estimation considering the gifts and grace I've received from God...anyway, for a person who has failed in large and grandiose ways in my lifetime,you might imagine that I've learned how to deal with loss and pain.
Well, I finally learned how to deal with it without becoming self destructive. For the most part. However, there are things I've been through that happened years ago that still come to mind a couple times a month. Things that still make me wince out of embarrassment, shame or the like. I haven't always been as noble as I would have liked, and for a long time, I lived my life as a hedonist.
A tortured hedonist to be sure. Always knowing the right and true way. Accepting my Savior and His sacrifice while rejecting the responsibility that accompanies it. But a hedonist just the same. Tortured, never satisfied and lacking peace in all things.
So, as I sit here and write this, I recall that the summer I spent enjoying the company of the Braytons were probably the penultimate moments of that hedonism. The "golden age" of my life, if you will. At least it seemed so then.
And knowing what I know now, having survived what I've survived, I wouldn't go back and live that life again. But sometimes I miss it, and sometimes I miss the people like Pete and Claudine and our moments lost in time. Legends never die. They just get better.
So, I want to tell my story, plain and true. I'm already debating about how much to share and how much to show you, but I think I'm going to be frank and open about everything. I won't lie to you, more often than not my life has been a painful warning rather than a good example.
Until it's taken as a whole. Until I step outside and see how God has redeemed my wasted years. Yet though he has forgiven me, my worry is that while I was busy serving myself, people God may have used me to reach fell along the wayside and will never see the Gospel lived. I am looking forward to the people I will get to spend eternity with, but sometimes I agonize over the ones I won't see there.
I'm here to tell my story, to give testimony if you will. I believe you'll find it part comedy, part thriller, part drama and part tear jerker amongst other things. I doubt you'll find it boring. I hope you find it interesting. I pray it is used.