Welcome, everyone, to the maiden post of No Greater Joy Dad! I especially want to welcome those who are familiar with my wife Adéye’s blog!
Adéye occasionally asks me to write posts for her reflecting a man’s perspective who’s loyal to the cause of helping the orphan. I haven’t always been there. And when I read comments on No Greater Joy Mom from wives who are frustrated because their husbands aren’t there yet, my heart goes out to them. I’ve been there. I know those fears. I know that reluctance.
It is out of my heart to address these trepidations in husbands and to encourage men in Christ that this new blog is born. Moreover, I will share thoughts on my personal journey as a man. Unfortunately, men do not open up easily--not to their wives, not to their friends, to no one. So I want to represent a "no one" who is a safe harbor, one who knows many (if not ALL!) of the struggles men endure on a sometimes daily basis, one who is not judgmental. How can I be? I was there myself. And in some things, I still struggle.
But before I go any further, I think you need to know a little about me. And I do mean “a little.” Since I just turned 53, I could potentially be writing until my fingers fall off and your head hits the monitor. So without further ado,…
I want to say I was brought up a good Catholic boy, but there wasn't much "good" within me. Still, I went to Mass every Sunday and stayed away from drugs because I didn't want to fry in hell. That is, until my first day of college at USC in Los Angeles, when I met my dorm roomie, a surfer from Malibu. I had my first joint and then some.
That freshmen year I dipped into depression, but a frat brother introduced me to Bible studies. But these were different. It was a cult (The Way International), and I stayed in it until the next year, when God got me out and saved me.
After graduating, I devoted a good few years to finding myself. Yes, God found me, but I didn't. I studied acting with one of the best acting coaches in Hollywood, but making it in the business took time. I had plenty of that, but not enough money, so I looked for a job.
I burned out in the business world, so one day, in my mid-twenties, I took a long lunch and saw a booth in a shopping mall, advertising a modelling school. I quit my job. Just like that. (Boy, was I a responsible guy!) Spending what money I had left on this bogus school, I did a lot of modelling jobs...for no money! One of those gigs was a fashion show in the very same mall where I first saw the booth. An agent was there and wanted to sign me up.
Soon, I ended up on a plane to Paris auditioning for fashion shows. I got a few, got excited about this stuff, then flew back to my home in Santa Monica to sell everything I had to move back to Europe. I ended up in Milan and stayed for the long haul.
When other new models struggled to eat, the Lord always took care of me. I did modelling jobs that weren't the greatest, but they fed me! Then I finally got my big break, what every new model dreams of--a large campaign that catapults his or her career. I had finally stepped up a notch. Boy, was I enjoying it...a little TOO much.
While I was celebrating my celebrity, I wore only the best clothes, frequented night clubs, and was on a mission alright, but not one for God. My mission was to ease my inner pain and have as many women as I could. Many of them were other models, many were not. How could I have fallen so low? How could my heart have gotten so cold? How could I have become so arrogant?
Proverbs 16:18 came to life in me--"Pride goes before destruction; a haughty spirit before a fall." Soon I saw the fruit of this passage in my life.
I noticed that in the days, weeks, and months following my "great campaign," I wasn't getting any work. None! That just never happened. A campaign like mine normally guarantees that a model is set for life. But my life was taking a big dive. After three months of not getting any modelling job whatsoever, I did a stupid thing--I stormed into my agent's office and blamed him. Bad move. All modelling agencies in Italy, except for one at the time, were owned by the mafia. And my agent was known to be the MOST wrapped up in them. After my tirade, he stared me down and very solemnly said, "Anthony, you do not want to say another word. I would be very afraid, if I were you."
I instantly knew what he meant. Still shaking in my boots at my apartment, I knelt down and repented before the Lord. I told him that I would quit modelling immediately if He wanted me to and fly back to America, or if He chose to give me another chance, I would continue modelling, but this time, for His glory.
After a week of prayer, I felt I had my answer... (to be continued next time)