Written by Jorge Beccera
It was a late July evening during rush hour traffic. I was on my way home going south on the 105 freeway, after a week of juggling full-time work and sleepless nights of full-time partying. I was fighting to keep my eyes open; exhaustion had finally caught up. What transpired on that evening I can barely remember- the only thing I can recall was the impact of the airbags on my chest and watching my car’s engine literally in flames. Staggered, but for whatever reason, I walk away unscathed. I’m grateful now that the only damage was some minor bruises and a totaled car.
The accident in so many ways was symbolic of my life, experiencing its highs and lows. During my “high” times I was never satisfied or comfortable. That’s how I lived my life, insatiable but complacent. I epitomized contradiction, somehow always taking life for granted.
Dazed and confused for some time, I couldn’t seem to grasp my meaning, my purpose. Then a series of events happened that illuminated my path towards my discovery of self. I began to converse with friends about single fathers moving forward and coming to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to be part of my son’s (who had just turned five years old at the time) everyday life. But it wasn’t until something happened six months later which put life in perspective.
My best friend’s tragedy.
His 24-year-old son had just become a victim of a hit and run, that sadly took his away his life prematurely. When I heard the news, I didn’t know what to think. All I could do is call and attempt to console him. However, when I called him, it was the other way around.
He answered the phone, and after a short pause he said, “Do all you can to love and protect your son.” Those were his words to me, and he said them in spite of his circumstance. Ironically enough, it was his house I was coming from on that early summer evening months prior when I got into the car accident.
It was a miracle in light of a tragic loss. My friend’s words set the tone for me to begin changing the narrative as I knew it. I had been selfish and self-centered. I knew I had to stop taking life for granted. Not just for myself but for my son, Christian. As soon as I started following my friend’s advice, I began doing all I could do to love and protect my son.
Knowing that I had my work cut out for me, my friend’s ominous words echoed in my head. I understood that people had painted a lasting negative picture of me, one that was so embedded in their head that I had to accept that I couldn’t change it. I understood but did I still care what they thought? Of course, I did and still do. I’m human, but there was someone that mattered more to me – my son.
In that realization, I chose to utilize any platform presented to me, to demonstrate that change is possible. A clean canvas so to speak, that I could fill with bright colors, fresh ideas and positive solutions to life’s challenges. I learned to use my life experiences as examples, to show him that once we resolve those inner conflicts, the outside world follows suit. To show him that it’s essential to be yourself, by dancing or chasing butterflies, no matter what others may think. To encourage him to travel brave new worlds and to dream big and know that it’s possible to achieve any goal as long as one has faith and works hard towards their goals. To show him how beautiful life is and in that realization, how then life becomes art and that he can add on to it, with his brush strokes.
So, I dedicate these words to my son, Christian. In a journey of a thousand trains and buses toward your aspirations, you will encounter obstacles that may seem insurmountable at times, but it’s okay. That’s life. As long as you’re aware of every experience, you will also encounter extraordinary people with healing powers in random places that will help you overcome whatever situation, and will point you in the right direction. This thing I call my life I’ve decided to dedicate to you Christian.
So if something would ever happen to me, you will be able to see for yourself how much you’ve inspired me, not only to become a father but more importantly to become a better human being. And with that said, let me be the first one to tell you that I’m nowhere near perfect, but then again this masterpiece is far from finished.