As I prepare to serve 36 months in Federal Prison Camp, I am thinking about how I can best deal with these tough circumstances. I have always prided myself in being able to do hard or difficult things. I learned this phrase from Dad when I was a young man. Whenever I would start complaining about something being too hard (math problems, work, football practice in the heat, etc.), he would say to me, “Son, we need to always do hard things; we don’t quit when things get hard.” But most importantly, I knew what he meant because I saw that he was always doing hard things himself. His actions spoke even louder than his words.
I am the first in my family to get a college degree. I came from a family of contractors. When I announced to my family that I was going to go to college and get a degree, they responded with comments like … “that will never happen bud”, or “what the heck have you been smoking”, you know, a family of unbelievers. There was not much encouragement except from my mother, who simply said, “Scott, I know you can do it because you can do hard things.”
Well, her encouragement got me registered at Utah State University. At that time, 1973, in order to graduate you had to pass some English courses and then take a test to prove that you in fact knew the material. The English course, along with calculus, scared the heck out of me. I had several friends who had already taken the test three times and had not passed. I told my wife at the time if I can pass this test then I knew that I would complete my college degree. This was a hard thing for me because I hated English in high school and so I had to prepare very well. To make a long story short, I studied and worked like the devil, and I will never forget walking across campus on a cold wintery day in December knowing I had just received an A on the test. I knew then that I was going to be a college graduate. I eventually, received my BS in Accounting and Finance three and half year later. I later received an MBA, and they both happened because I was willing to take on hard things.
Since those college days, I am grateful that I have been able to accomplish some really hard things. I have felt the joy of being successful and I have also known the disappointment or sting of failure.
However, during the past few months, I have been going through the greatest challenge of my 63 year life. I have been convicted of a felony and sentenced to serve 36 months in a Federal Prison Camp. I have felt the rejection and even scorn from some of my friends and family members. I have felt the sadness and suffering of letting down those who loved and trusted me. I have cried until there are no more tears. I have spent many lonely nights and days wondering if I will ever be happy again, wondering if I will ever feel joy again.
This is Hard Stuff… but I hear the words of my now deceased father ringing in my ears, “Son, we need to always do hard things; we don’t quit when things get hard.” I now know that I can do it. With the help of some very special friends and mentors, I know that I can go through this Hard Thing and that it will make me better. It has not been easy and I know it won’t be, but I now do believe that I will be happy again and that I will also know joy.