Monday, January 04, 2010

My Son, The Genius!

Joey, reading his Bible, in a coffee shop in Montreal

This is a reprint from a post I wrote a year and a half ago. As we enter a new year I thought it was a fitting time to reprint the most essential thing about my son and the life he lived.

Joey went home to be with the Lord three months ago today. In the time since he passed, we have heard over and over again what an amazing person he was. Not a few people have called him a genius, and I have to say we saw him that way ourselves. As his family, we were daily witnesses to his hilarious insights and penetrating analysis of life, culture and current events--- and WE were impressed by him! As his proud mother I actually tried not to boast about him too much! I guess nobody will mind if I do that now.

I first suspected he was bright when he could rattle off all the names of African animals at 13 months...giraffe, warthog, zebra...he knew them all! He was highly verbal, especially for a boy, and he loved to read. When he was in second grade, he was tested by our school district and was formally and officially inducted into the GATE program for Gifted and Talented students. He got mostly A's, with little effort, and he could "wing" his way through school projects, presentations, and even speeches with great success in spite of little preparation. One time he got an A on a speech about sharks, a speech he made up on the spot based on what he remembered from the movie "Jaws"! In sixth grade he was class president, student of the year, and he won the school oratorical contest for best speech. He shone even as a kid.

After hormones hit, he was still an effortless A student. He graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA, taking mostly Advanced Placement classes. He was accepted to both UCLA and USC, but chose USC because of a scholarship to their exceptional business program. He flourished in college and became an open-minded person and a critical thinker. And being a well-rounded guy, he didn't merely focus on academics, he also absorbed everything he could about music, rock n' roll and guitar-playing. He was aware, talented and confident.

Once out of college, he started a brilliant career blending his business degree with his love of music. He worked for Universal Music Group, one of the biggest companies in the industry, learning the music biz from the inside. He left Universal to join Filter Magazine, a new music industry mag that promoted the art and the artists. By all accounts, he was a brilliant marketer and a great promoter. Last year he started his own marketing division for a company called Sauce Design. He developed marketing strategies for the sports beverage, Red Bull, and was working on a deal with Nike up to his final day.

He got a fat paycheck for all his hard work and had acquired, by age 28, three houses, a nice stock portfolio, two retirement accounts, and a nearly perfect credit score of 815! He had been to Europe three times, to Australia and the Great Barrier Reef, and he'd taken a carefully planned year-long van tour of North America, west coast to east coast, north to Alaska and south to Panama. He had his own music studio, tons of musical equipment and a half-finished cd of original songs. He was a brilliant young man and had great success by any measurement. His numerous achievements, though, couldn't prevent death and they couldn't give him eternal life. When his life was over, he stood before God and I don't think God was even slightly impressed by Joey's brains or his bank account!

Looking back on his life, there was only one truly brilliant thing that Joey did on earth and that is the only one that matters now that his earthly life is over---he believed in Jesus Christ. His childhood faith grew into an adolescent quest which grew into an adult conviction. Like all of us, he had his questions and doubts, and was at times disappointed by "religious people", but that didn't stop him from seeing that God was real and that Jesus could be trusted. He believed in Jesus, he believed that Christ's death covered his sins, and he believed he was going to meet his Maker one day and would be ready because of his faith.... and not because of anything that he had done or could do himself. He lived in a very cool world in Hollywood, where Jesus and the concept of faith don't get much airplay, but he died with a Bible by his bedside, and a firm belief in the saving grace of God.

That is paying off SO BIG right now. I like to think he entered Heaven, fell to his knees and thought to himself, "Wow! I am SO glad my parents dragged me to Sunday School!" In the long run, the smartest thing my genius son ever did was believe in Jesus. And to anyone reading, I encourage the same. Be a genius--believe in Jesus.


karen gerstenberger said...

I love it when you write about Joey's character. It helps me to understand who he was, and what you are missing every moment. What a gift to the world that young man's life is!

I love your view of his lasting legacy. I would like David to read this...he and Joey have some interesting things in common.

Joey's innate, mature spirituality & genius is a beacon which any person will be blessed to see. Thank you for holding it up for those of us who didn't get to meet him in the flesh. God bless you!

Kay said...

I love this! Love hearing more about your Joey! : )

So true that everything in and of the world will fade away. So glad Joey knew that and now is enjoying his eternal reward.

Anonymous said...

I had not read this prior so it also helped me know about your dear son. I loved reading it. I also have wanted to tell you that the music you post is so wonderful to listen to while reading.

Love Sharon

Daisy said...

Hi Karen,

I came here through Gannet Girl's site a while back and have checked in every so often, never feeling compelled to leave a comment but rather just to pray anonymously. Today, I've got to comment.

For such a young guy, Joey sure packed in a lot of living. So many of us just walk through life somewhat zombie like, (especially before my morning cup) ticking days off the calendar. Thank you for writing about him as he continues to inspire through your posts.

He sounds like a really good guy with an amazing sense of adventure. You have reason to be proud.


PS. Appreciate your music selection. Was amazed at the Wild Horses. That's Susan Boyle?

Anonymous said...

This inspires me! I love this post.

Love vi