Getting Beyond The Lid



This letter was recently shared with me by a father that is incarcerated. Although he is hundreds of miles away from his children and behind razor wire and chain linked fence, he still chooses to be a positive influence to his children. I believe you will be blessed as you read this letter that he wrote to his children.

Have you ever felt like you’ve poured “Your” everything – heart, mind, soul, and strength – into a valuable project and even though you are waiting for it to bloom…it never does? Well, I have. In fact, several times. By no means would I ever boast to know everything; that would be foolish. However, I have learned this from experience…if you want to get beyond the lids of life you need God and for me it was as simple as that.

Some folks won’t accept advice unless it comes from a qualified advice giver. That’s right. Who wants medical advice from a mechanic? However, if that mechanic has survived a medical crisis that I am now experiencing, then maybe the mechanic actually knows more about my situation than a doctor who has never actually experienced it beyond his diagnosis. I’m no mechanic or doctor, but I do have some experiences that could qualify me to share a little advice about getting beyond the lids of life and it may help, if you are inclined to listen.

  I’ve survived the high school experience, I even graduated. I was a teenage parent, maybe not a good one, but what can you expect from a teenager? I’ve been in love with young ladies, older women, money, marijuana, music, and even making love (to put it nicely). I’ve served as a soldier in my family, in the street, and even in the active duty military.

I’ve dreamed of being famous, wealthy, and respected, and did whatever it took to pursue those aspirations, “All I wanted to be was…the richest man in your city.” I even made songs about it. I’ve been addicted to the game and played games with addictions. I’ve been a loving father as well as a dead beat dad. I’ve been engaged, married, and unfortunately divorced. I’ve been liked, loved, and hated; I’ve been unemployed, an employee, and yes, I’ve been the boss. I’ve owned this, that, and the other, and then I’ve turned around and lost all.

I’ve lost people that meant the world to me and I’ve survived dreadful pain that I thought would never heal. I’ve been a great inspiration to some and a drastic disappointment to others. I could probably fill this entire page with the things I’ve started, but never completed. Know anybody like that? I’ve been poor, hungry, and angry; I’ve been tired, hurt, and done wrong by those I treated right. You may not have been through any of this…but it doesn’t mean you won’t. That being said, maybe we should have a conversation.

As people, we have a tendency to “start over” when we don’t actually have to. For example, someone has already invented the wheel, so why not start from where they left off, instead of starting from scratch? Finally learning this simple lesson has worked wonders for me.

In the Old Testament Bible culture, the word “Son” is “Bane” and it means, “One who builds on the family name.” In order to do this, we must know what others in our family have already built up. Obviously, it is impossible to build on the dreams of our parents that we don’t know they had.

I am guilty of not being a good son, in that I did not purpose to build on the dreams of my parents; and I am guilty of not being a good father, in that I did not actually teach my children to build upon anything. My excuse is that I didn’t know, but of course we know what they say about excuses. The fact is this: The moment I started producing children, it became my responsibility as a man to learn what I didn’t know. None of us are exempt.

Unfortunately, it took me over 36 years of surviving foolishness to finally come to this realization. Hopefully, you will acknowledge what I am writing and get it in less time…maybe not. Either way, it won’t stop me from advising you on lid raising. I do this because I love you.

I remember how my Uncle Naman offered me the opportunity to drive trucks with him. In essence, he was presenting me with a chance to raise my lid and build on the family name. Because Uncle Naman is a man of God, I would have not only learned to drive trucks, I have no doubt that I would have also learned a lot about the Lord. I realize today he was trying to fill the father role in my life where my biological dad was absent. Maybe if I had taken his loving offer, I would not be incarcerated at this time.

Today, I have grandchildren I have never held and adult children I haven’t embraced in over 10 years. One thing I think we all know from experience is this: tomorrow is not promised. Yes, I’ve been down some roads, physically, mentally, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, but so have you and maybe we can learn from each other about getting beyond the lids of life. I would be honored if you built on my experiences instead of starting from scratch, but since I’m still building I am not beyond using your experiences as building blocks.

The greatest disadvantage of starting from scratch is that we often make mistakes that someone else has already figured out, it wastes time that could be spent more productively. As a business man, you know I hate to waste time, and as a minister, I love to talk about the Lord.

In the Holy Bible I found a treasure of helpful information and a wealth of building blocks. God has already figured it all out if we would only listen. That lesson alone took me 32 years to learn. After trying almost everything else, God’s way not only made perfect sense, His ways actually work. Today, not only has He got me beyond the lids in my life, but now I am honored to build on the family name of God.

I heard it put this way by an old woman of God. She simply said, “Son, you need to try Jesus.” It took a while, but I finally took her advice and the lids were lifted; in fact, they are still being lifted. So as I stated before, “If you want to get beyond the lids of life, you need the Lord, and for me it was as simple as that.”

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