My Story

I have always loved writing.  When I first picked up the fat pencil that we use in early grade school, it felt good to me – I loved the smell of that pencil.  I loved the smell of the paper, the smell of the pencil eraser as I tried to correct my inexperience with writing.  Each time I received a new school book, I felt hope and promise race through my whole body, anticipating what that book would teach me.  Looking forward to each new school year, the excitement that welled up inside is indescribable.  My young mind was hungry, so eager to learn and discover.  Each year, I would walk through those school doors anticipating something I just could not put my finger on: I tore through my new assignments and studied ahead, hoping to find something that would fill the longing I had inside, but just could not find it.

I went on to high school and studied every challenging subject available but in the middle of my sophomore year, I became very depressed and just couldn’t think the way I used to think.  I still had the desire to learn but the ability to dig in, along with my drive to follow through, went away.  Despite my foggy mind, I managed to graduate and was accepted into college for a computer science program – I never went.  My mind was done with all that: I had one desire only, to experience life.  At the age of nineteen, I was in a dead-end job, I had no money, I was miserable with my life, and tired of being a ‘nobody’.  I decided to leave everything behind and start all over.  I walked out of my Michigan apartment and down to the local truck stop, knocked on the first truck door I came to, jumped in and began hitchhiking to California – two weeks later, I ended up in Portland, Oregon instead.  I found a job as a valet driver and bellman for a decent hotel, initially found some good friends and then fell in with the wrong social scene.  Three and half years later I called my father and mother with the news, “I’m hooked on cocaine and I need to come home.”  I went to the emergency room by ambulance twice in the same week from overdose and knew I had to get out of there or I would die.

I went back home and began to mend my life.  I found a girlfriend who became my fiancé and after fumbling my way around for two years, enrolled in an audio engineering school at the age of twenty-five.  I loved it: I worked very hard, received good grades and finished in the top ten percent of my class.  My mind was working again, and I felt for the first time in years that I could look forward to a bright future.  One year later my fiancé broke off the engagement and my emotional world came crashing down, but intellectually I was still in the game.  I called my engineering school for job leads and almost immediately landed in Southfield, MI as a bright-eyed, eager for success audio engineer.

I was a year and a half into my new career and had life by the tail.  I had a dream job that paid me very well and enjoyed a robust social life with nothing to tie me down – people enjoyed me and I enjoyed them.  I worked a typical eight-hour day with relatively little stress, no bills except daily expenses, a growing nest egg and a future that promised nothing but success.  Then one awful day, like the flick of a switch, everything I had worked for was ripped away.  My fellow engineer and I had just finished recording a voice talent for an upcoming television commercial.  He left the studio and walked down the hall toward the concession area; I finished up the paperwork and began walking down the hall toward him as he was returning.  And then as if someone reached inside of me and hit the delete key, I instantly lost my ability to interact with anyone socially, personally, and relationally.  When I tried to talk to him panic flooded me, every part of me.  I couldn’t think of what I should do next, I couldn’t see straight, and my mind was racing.  I did not want to be there; I was frightened out of my mind and left immediately.

I still don’t know exactly what happened at that moment but it did change my life: seven months later the studio let me go.  In that one moment I had lost my career, my social life, piece of mind, and the ability to see with normal vision.  My ability to see with depth perception and stereo vision went away, and along with it the ability to feel at ease in the presence of others.  I no longer received satisfaction from idle conversation, and one-on-one interactions became impossibly painful.  My mind was constantly roaring and all I could do was think; all I could think about was studying – anything, everything – while sleeping two or three restless hours each night.  I studied books on mathematics, astronomy, astrology, personality, psychology, graphology, finance, physiology, neurobiology, endocrinology and computer programming – to name a few.  I studied every subject with an intensity, intellectual openness, and determination, unparalleled in my past.  I didn’t know what I was searching for or why I was so driven to search but was determined to find answers, and for years made every major bookstore my home away from home.

I moved around from job to job trying to keep a roof over my head, pay the bills and feed my face, eventually finding stable employment with an audio sound system manufacturer in South Carolina.  I was now thirty-two years old – five years after the day that changed my life.  One particular night I got into bed expecting the usual pseudo sleep, but instead, slept, awoke the next day, and realized I felt somewhat rested from my sleep – my mind finally let me rest.  Around that time, I made a simple but huge request of God:  “If you won’t heal my eyes, please give me insight.”  I said, “I don’t want to just know this stuff, I want it to be a part of me.”  One year later, I was at the same job in South Carolina and the switch flipped again, but this time in a different direction.  My mind flooded with the understanding I had always wanted: it was the same understanding I didn’t know I was longing for in grade school.  I grabbed a pen and a scrap piece of paper, and wrote and wrote and could not stop writing.  The moment I finished transferring one thought onto paper, another would come.  When my work associate came to relieve me for break, I began walking toward the break room and said out loud to myself, “I can’t lose.”  The answers to all my questions just kept coming and coming with each new thought.  Day after day, month after month, year after year, I wrote and wrote and could not stop writing.  All that I had studied for all those years was spilling out with meaning – I wasn’t just thinking anymore, I understood!  I felt true hope for the first time in my life.

One year before that life-changing moment in the studio, I was a few minutes away from nodding off to sleep while lying comfortably in my bed.  I prayed to God with my first simple but huge request: “God, if you could make Solomon in the Bible wise I believe you can give me wisdom also.  I am asking you for wisdom.”

I am now forty years old.  I realize that although that day in the studio wrecked my previous life, I now understand what I did not then and have true reason to hope because of it – not just for myself but for my fellowman also.  In losing myself, I found that truth is all that will ever satisfy.  Without it, life success leaves us empty and shallow, and without meaning.

I have visited eight different eye doctors since that day in the studio, including the vision research facility at the University of Michigan, and still cannot see as I did before, but the insight that replaced my physical vision is worth more to me than life itself.  The content I post on this site is a partial result of what I have learned in my new life and my hope is that you too will navigate life just a little better by what you find within these pages.

Todd Beal

Advertisements

24 Responses to My Story

  1. Madison Woods says:

    Reading your life story gave me chills. I don’t know what to say other than “thank you”. Anything else seems insufficient. I’ll be reading your blog and absorbing your insight now.

    Like

  2. aaronjacobs says:

    Amazing story and testimony. It is amazing to me how the Lord uses some of the worst times in life. He uses them so perfectly that we almost think he causes those moments. When, in reality it doesn’t matter what the cause was, but who the answer is. You are clearly a gifted writer. I found myself reading faster and faster as I read this, which is what I look for in writers. I myself am not really a writer. I blog my ideas simply to have an organized record for the day when I will be teaching in a career ministry. Thank you for your openness!! Be blessed!

    Aaron

    p.s. I believe the Lord can and is willing to restore your eyesight.

    http://aaronjacobs.wordpress.com/

    Like

    • Todd Beal says:

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate both your feedback and words of encouragement. Regarding your statement, “When, in reality it doesn’t matter what the cause was, but who the answer is”, the answer is most certainly our creator, Jesus Christ; our truth, the Truth.

      Like

  3. I’m glad I found this, as it really tells me where you’re coming from. Fascinating journey. Truly, your prayer that day was answered. The gift of insight is evident in your words here, and just in time for the internet age when sharing is so much easier.

    Like

    • Todd Beal says:

      Michael, your grounded presence and wisdom-rich comments throughout this site are valuable assets, and are certainly a welcome service to both the other readers and myself. Thank you.

      Like

  4. A very interesting story. I’ll be reading more.

    Like

  5. pbus1 says:

    Your story is quite amazing! When you asked the Lord to give you wisdom, He definitely answered your prayer! Thank you for sharing the insights that you have gained, through your life journey! I’m sure there is much more to come! It may not have been the route you would have chosen to get to this destination, but our God is sovereign, and He knows what’s best for us! “All things work together for good, to them that love God, and to those who are the called according to His purpose!” I look forward to visiting your site regularly, and thank you for visiting my page. God bless!

    Like

    • Todd Beal says:

      It truly was and is quite a journey. Paulette thanks for taking the time to read my story, for your thoughtful comment, and for continuing on despite your pain. You are as much a hero to me as any wartime soldier.

      I want to take this opportunity to introduce Truth Behind Reality subscribers and visitors to the extremely painful and debilitating condition Paulette lives with 24 hours a day – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome/RSD. To the person that visits this link, if you have not heard of the terrible neurological disorder Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome / RSD, you’ll not forget it after reading this article.

      Todd Beal

      Like

      • pbus1 says:

        Hello Todd,
        Thank you so much for your encouraging words, and especially your act of kindness! I was very surprised to see that you had mentioned the article I posted about Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, on your site. As I read your reply, I could not stop the tears from flowing. Thank you so much for caring enough to help me to get the word out, to those who have never heard of RSD. I was truly touched! Thousands are suffering from this horrific syndrome, yet when government dollars are allocated to fund research projects for various illnesses, RSD is never a part of the conversation! Thank you again, and God bless you!

        Like

        • Todd Beal says:

          You are certainly welcome; it is the very least I can do. I cannot imagine being forced to go through life with the kind of pain you describe in your article (as well as that portrayed on the video).

          I have no flowery words for you Paulette, except my prayer that God gives you his powerful strength, empowering you to endure until he calls you home and gives you a new body.

          Like

          • pbus1 says:

            Todd,
            I believe that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. I still believe in miracles. Just as Jesus performed many miracles of healing thousands of years ago, He is the same, and changeth not. I believe He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.

            I thought of you when I read this quote: “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”

            Like

            • Todd Beal says:

              Paulette,

              You just stated my purpose for this blog, “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” The whole point to this blog is to present truth in such a meaningful, practical, and personal way, that we no longer try to see it as an ideal (or as a concept), but as the living source of all non-contradiction, the wellspring of life.

              Thanks for the quote.

              Like

  6. Pingback: Does Truth Exist | Truth Behind Reality

  7. Shafali says:

    Hi Todd,

    I read through your story twice. It made me wonder whether people who are smarter and more analytical, go through more pain and suffering in life. I have seen another bright person go through innumerable hardships only because he saw and understood too much, and I have begun to feel that most people in this world are better off because they don’t see beyond a certain point. Though your vision may restrict you from seeing depth, you see more of it than many others.

    I wish you happiness in future.

    Warm Regards,
    Shafali

    Like

    • Todd Beal says:

      Thanks for this, Shafali. This is one of the very few times in my life I have felt understood in this regard. As I read your comment, I felt a comforting peace settle in and release a bit of emotion . Thank you, really.

      Like

  8. Pingback: Happy Thanksgiving 2011 | Truth Behind Reality

  9. Pingback: Elizabeth’s Quest for Truth | Truth Behind Reality

  10. chris gilbert says:

    Wow Todd. You are awesome for sharing that. I pray for your friend every night and I pray for you hoping your eyes will get better. Love you brother! Thank you for all of your support and all of your knowledge. It really means a lot. And you help me understand so much brother.

    Like

  11. chris gilbert says:

    “You make bad decisions when you’re down, but make one good decision when you hit rock bottom.” Todd Beal / Chris Gilbert

    Like

  12. shemuel says:

    Hail! What a wonderful story. Thank God you have a story. Some are yet to have a story because they have not landed at what will give them satisfaction or aligned with the innermost deep longings of their soul. You have at last found not just Jesus but have landed and aligned yourself with your inner being. I am a lover of truth and careful objective and well-thought-out submissions concerning issues of life. I like clarifying them drawing out wisdom frôm hindsight and other people’s comments. If you seek for healing for your eyes with the same intensity and vigour you sought for truth you will have it back.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s