Long before Scott’s suicide attempt…
…a little light came to God and asked “God, when will it be my turn to have a life?”
God replied “Why, my little friend, do you ask?”
“Well” the light replied, “I see all these lights here that are so much brighter and warmer than me. It seems they have so much more…more… I don’t know. They just seem to be so much more than me and I want to be like them.”
God thought a moment, then replied. “Little one, you are so special to me. There is something important I need you to become. This purpose I have for you will not only make you incredibly bright and warm, it will make others brighter and warmer too. But let me tell you something, to become truly a light, you must know difficulty or your light won’t get through the darkness.”
The little light liked the idea of becoming something bright and warm, but was really excited about making others brighter and warmer. But difficulty and darkness, he didn’t even understand what that meant. Nonetheless, he said, “I’ll do it.” At that moment, Scott was conceived.
Scott entered the world to a mom who loved him like most moms do. However, the dad had some problems. Even though he existed physically in the home, there was no father to teach him to play, no father to show him what love looked like, no father to disciple the ways of a boy. Scott knew only of his mother’s love that was good, but fell short in so many ways. The difficulty of a bad marriage to a man who was engaged in other things. His mom that had too little time and too little energy to be there emotionally to corral Scott’s intelligent energy. At the end of her day and her rope, she could only drop her head that she didn’t have Scott’s father to rely on for help. The FBI had come for his father when Scott was a young teen. And that ate a hole in Scott at a deep level. Scott saw from his friends what a father’s love meant and knew he was unloved. He felt rejected as unworthy. And it hurt. It hurt very badly.
Scott was a troubled youth running away from home as a teen and exploring drugs. He went to his mom because he needed to understand. The essence of the question: “Why?”
She replied from a hurt that was scarred over but not healed, “He had his issues, with himself and with me. But at a core level, he loved you.” That lie was a mistake and tasted intensely bitter in both of their mouths. Scott resolved to find his father and confront him with the question. Within a few months, Scott located his father.
“Why?” was the essence of the question and the only utterance he was able to croak through the confusion, anger, and pain struggling for dominance in his young psyche.
“I divorced your mom for a reason that I don’t want to revisit. You are a part of that reason.” was the point blank response. After a moment the father who was never a dad continued, “How much will it take to have you gone from my life forever? $20,000?”
Scott stood staring in front of this man who held the knife that had just plunged into his heart. The pain was indescribable. As this strange alien wrote out a check, Scott was locked in pitched battle as the pain, which seemed to have the upper hand, retreated in the face of a furious onslaught of anger. Anger took the field of battle and planted the flag of victory when after the man finished writing the check and stuffed it in Scott’s shirt pocket. Scott took it out and thought of shredding it into a hundred pieces. Instead, he stormed out with the man’s knife still sticking from his chest and instead pursued a life of self-destruction.
The path to giving suicide a try was long and painful. Drunkenness had led to harder drugs. Soon heroin had taken hold of Scott. He sold the stuff to make enough money to fund its use. Scott was addicted. He was addicted to drugs and escape and denial. To the victor goes the spoils? Anger eventually subsided and left the field at the end of the day. What remained were the crows of confusion to pick at the bodies lying dead in the field. Confusion was alone in the field at the end of that day and every day since. A young man wounded by the sins of his father with a poison that ate away at his psyche and burned at his self esteem. It led him to the only conclusion possible – escape. To escape the confusion, Scott had to escape his mind. And when that experiment didn’t work, to escape his life.
Somehow Scott saw through his hazy life enough to connect with this woman named Renae for a time. A time that came and went and came back. They married and had children of their own, but Scott was no father. There was no made-for-TV story where Scott woke up in time to be a great dad to these two girls and a son. But he sort of stayed, as much as a man with addictions and thoughts of suicide can. Scott’s life was dark and pain-filled at his core despite a growing light and purpose that began to manifest around him. Finally, through a mind that long ago couldn’t see clearly, he decided he could take the pain no more and decided to kill himself.
Somehow, he failed. Afterwards, lying in bed realizing he had just hit bottom, Scott looked at his life and decided that he was worth it. And so Scott began the long process to reclaim the field from the crows of confusion. He became more present in his family life. His relationship with Renae solidified. His girls were ready to forgive him as they matured into women, but his son’s love remained elusive. Early in this journey, Scott accepted Jesus into his life as the Redeemer. Scott now had purpose.
For Scott, the call of Jesus was not only clarifying, giving him an intellectual path to solve his dilemma of why God would allow such a horrible man as his father; but Jesus was also the anti-venom that healed the acid-burned hole in Scott’s heart from the poison deposited there 20 long years ago. Scott dedicated his life to Jesus Christ and, in turn, Jesus saved it. The more Scott dedicated his life to an organization that helped Scott, Marked Men For Christ, the more Scott’s light shone in the dark corners of his past. Scott matured in all areas that in turn manifested more of Scott’s purpose. God put him on earth to help those that needed to see through the darkness, help them find their light, and reconcile their path. Jesus Christ through Marked Men For Christ was the vehicle to do that.
Then came the day.
Scott had been feeling poorly, seemingly just more acid stomach again. But swallowing had become particularly difficult, so Scott went to see a doctor. The results – esophageal cancer. A cancerous tumor on the muscle at the top of the stomach was about to metastasize and end his life. Scott was about to get his long held wish of escape. But the problem was, he no longer wanted to die. He had reason to live. Lots of reasons. He now had love in his life. His wife, his kids, Marked Men, and friends, scores and scores of friends. Scott had reconciled with his son and in doing so was amazingly able to forgive his own father. But the bitter poisonous bile Scott had swallowed for two decades had now manifested into cancer at the junction of throat and stomach. Ironically, Scott needed to fight to stay alive.
A different kind of darkness became the enemy – fear. When you don’t care about the outcome, fear isn’t and enemy. But when there is love and the prospect of losing that love is present, so is fear. However, Scott had Jesus and the support of so many and wouldn’t be alone. But he also had pain. Lots of pain. A pain so intense and so long in duration that time ceased to exist, thought stopped, and only consciousness remained left to endure the agony. At times, he had no name, no past, no future, only a tenuous consciousness dealing with an all-consuming pain. But strangely enough a portion of that consciousness was at peace. He knew for the first time that there was a point to life. Scott wanted to live. He knew that his journey made him useful. Scott could see because of the pain that his purpose was to God and to help others see God and thereby find their way. Pain brought clarity.
The final leg of the journey to the peak of the mountain of pain occurred last Friday where Scott’s esophagus and stomach were removed through 27 smallish incisions throughout his body. Yesterday he was giving the news, the cancer is gone, the darkness has been removed from Scott’s body. His father, long since forgiven in spirit has been excised from Scott’s gut. That battle is now over. The little light shines.
My buddy Scott Scribner is a success in life. Few can claim a more difficult path and live to tell the tale. Discuss in your Ironmen group: