[Guest post by Hudson Byblow]
I don’t know you. I’ll probably never even meet you. However, what you have chosen to do has seriously impacted my life. This isn’t some kind of victim story, but rather me telling you that your choice to do GOOD was the inspiration to ME to strive to live a holy and chaste life.
My story is rooted in escapism. All it took, however, was a few good men to be the reason why I wanted to step up my game and become a man instead of remaining a boy in a man’s body. A man does what is difficult, while a boy runs from it. A man pursues self-mastery while a boy justifies his attachments to the passions of the flesh. For many years as an “adult,” I was nothing more than a boy. I ran from woman to woman, and then from porn site to porn site trying to escape myself. I lived very unchastely for many years. Though I was wounded, it was my choice to remain in my wounds.
It was you guys, however, who radiated a peaceful confidence that I craved, which drew me towards what you were holding onto. And that was Jesus Christ, King of our Universe, The Restorer of man. And today, I strive to live not in my wounds, but in His. I’ve been renewed.
Due to earlier trauma, I craved a “safe-space.” Due to that, however, my personal growth was greatly inhibited. I attacked those who had shone a light on my castle of “make-believe” because nothing was more terrifying than facing myself (and the traumas). Exteriorly, things looked just fine. But interiorly, I was a mess. It was you guys, however, who drew me to want to face my traumas because you gave me hope of a life that could be better; a life of no more running, a life where I didn’t have to escape myself and self-medicate through unchaste pursuits.
Without forcing me, you helped me face my traumas and heal. Gradually, by the grace of God, I was able to re-gain my confidence as a man, and began to value myself again as well as others. And that is what drew me to pursuing a heart of chastity. It was your modeling of it, and the joy that I saw you embody. Today, I taste that joy too, even though I never could have known it until I took that leap of faith to trust God that it was real.
The fact is that at my rock-bottom, I had nothing to lose. My life was the sinking ship. But it was Jesus Christ radiating out from the hearts of my brothers who gave me the hope that a future of hope was even possible. Today I live that hope. Today I see my trauma in the rear-view mirror. Today I realize that the traumatic experiences were not the last chapter of my life. I have the power to write the ending to my story, in terms of my state of heart and whether or not I die running from myself or running to Christ.
I choose the latter.
Brothers in Arms
I share this to remind all my brothers that although we might be able to influence our friends and loved ones (and children), we ultimately cannot claim responsibility for their free will choices. I cannot imagine someone trying to claim that they were “responsible” for my choices to live unchastely (or now chastely, for that matter). How heart-breaking would it be for my parents to think that it was their fault (or success), when there were factors out of their control that reached me?
I know they did their best. And I also know that there were things out of their hands. They prepared me as best I could. But I still made the choices.
The world celebrated my escapism and it may have killed me. The good men I met drew me into something not of this world. They drew me home to Christ. They revealed the joy of chastity.
And that began with a few good men… like you.
Thank you for possibly saving my life.
God Bless +
[This commentary originally appeared on HudsonByblow.com and is reprinted with the author’s permission.]
Hudson Byblow is a Catholic speaker, author, and consultant who lives in the Midwest where he has a career in education. He has presented at National and International conferences in the United States and Canada and also presents to clergy, schools and parishes. Additionally, Hudson serves as a consultant to various Catholic agencies, speakers and educators. His website is www.hudsonbyblow.com and he can be booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.