As a senior in high school there aren’t many things to worry about besides pimples, parties and passing class… Unless you are like me and thought it was a good idea to give up the sacred V-Card to someone you “love”, then you can add pregnancy to the previous list.
An only child until fourteen, I got bounced around the city between divorced parents who were addicted to partying, and were part-time parents 60% of the time, all the time. Compound the emotional and physical abuse from my childhood with the natural insecurities of being a boy who’s voice cracks underneath a peach-fuzz lined upper lip that hopes to someday turn into a real mustache. Ultimately, being a teenager blows.
It’s probably a miracle that I waited until I was sixteen to have sex for the first time, and equally miraculous that it was with a steady girlfriend; as I grew into my little pube-stache my dad would tell me one life lesson when it came to women, “Son, fuck them before they fuck you.”
I am not exaggerating one bit.
See, my parents divorced because my dad just-so-happened to enjoy some fellatio along with the delivery of his heroine, and his dealer [who later became a temporary live-in girlfriend] enjoyed getting her rocks off and leaving with a pocket full of cash. At about ten years old I remember my dad using a Jack-In-The-Box taco to explain in detail what I should do with a vagina, should I encounter one…
One last high five the old-man would give me anytime he knew I was headed out to play with the enemy – “Don’t forget the 5-F’s, son – ‘Find em. Feel em. Finger em. Fuck em. Forget em’”.
I am not kidding when I tell you that it is a miracle of grace that I am able to count how many women I have had sex with, let alone that as a teen I had any conviction of doing this with someone I cared about.
Back to my senior year of high-school – It was 1999 and I was a couple weeks removed from the keeper of my virginity when I received a phone call from her best friend, who hesitantly told me that she [my ex] was pregnant. Stuck in a moment between “what am I doing” and “holy shit my life is over”, I ran every possible scenario through my mind and within days shared the future shattering news with my parents to get their insight. I found out my dad had payed for “a few” abortions with women he didn’t like enough to have a child with, so naturally his advice was for me to encourage her to abort and “save myself from dealing with her for the next eighteen years.” While my mom was much more supportive, she didn’t provide any tangible solutions for my teenage tragedy. So, after some arguments, trying to emotionally remove myself from what was actually happening and finally agreeing that we were making the right choice for us, I traded dollars for the life of my unborn child.
It’s been fourteen years since I chalked up multiple points on my teenage statistical scoreboard, and for the last fourteen years I’ve been wrapped in fear that I wouldn’t be able to have children. The unhealthy balance between trusting in God’s grace and being honestly terrified that I would somehow be punished for killing the first human I conceived. I thought in some sick and twisted way that God “forgives me” but secretly holds this against me, you know, the way that we usually “forgive” others.
Over the course of my life I have learned a few things: 1. Karma is bullshit; there isn’t anyone or anything sitting in the spiritual cosmos keeping a tally of everything you do and aligning the world in just a way that you get yours. 2. So much of the christian tongue in cheek that we babble is ignorance and spoken from a place of control or fear, like telling a teenager, “If you have sex before marital union, God won’t bless you in your marriage.” 3. Life isn’t necessarily about being right or wrong, but about bringing life instead of death to ourselves and those around us. The un-learning of these three things has truly set me free; my guilt used to be so heavy that I posed myself as someone who was Pro-Choice, which isn’t actually my stance. The truth is and has always been [even in the thick of my circumstance] that I am Pro-Life, I am very Pro – Life. If this story hits close to home, please know that you can be released from guilt and liberated in grace, no matter how the details of your story read.
A week ago today [9/11/13] I experienced the grace of God in human form when I held my first-born son, Nehemiah Beck Gable. He is healthy and handsome and more than I ever could have asked for. His name is very significant and was carefully chosen. Nehemiah tells his story in the Old Testament of leadership, faithful rebellion and tireless dedication to his conviction. Beck represents a prophetic word that was spoken over our son about four weeks before we even knew his gender, and speaks to the influence he will have on humanity. The reality of life is that I am only able to guide my children be an example of what man-hood looks like so my son knows how to be one and so my daughter knows how to identify one. My biological father, Dennis Alan Gable Sr. died four years ago yesterday because life caught up to him. I miss my dad dearly… and although I spent a long time blaming my dad [and mom] for who I had become, I had to conclude that I am my own man and I am in control of whether or not I deal with my pains, face my emotions, and relinquish control to God the Father. Admittingly it has been hard to overcome the habits and anecdotes passed down through generations of self-glorifying men and although my journey is far from over, I have a gorgeous wife, an incredible step-daughter and finally after all these years, grace was born on September 11, 2013.