Our Dad: Lessons In Mental Strength & Mental Toughness

He is your dad. He is everone’s Dad. He is 86 but his legacy has a chance to go on many generations. He is always happy, laughing and telling jokes.

Intestinal fortitude.

He survived

Cuban Revolution & Religious Concentration Camp

Migrating to Los Angeles California 1971

1970’s Inflation


2008 Recession

Every Church or Business he has ever been involved in is still operating in Cuba, Los Angeles California and Saint Petersburg Florida

The 1st time I felt this type of pain was when Bela who lived with rent free for 12 years came to visit us in Saint Pete Florida. She was homeless in LA 20 years before when we met Bela. She cried saying goodbye at airport.

Then forever when someone comes to visit me where I have lived and leave I feel that deep sadness. I feel that deep conflicted sadness when we take my dad to the air port after every Thanksgiving.

When my mom took Bila in 1972 Los Angeles California. During those times the same way people rescue dogs and cats my mom rescued people. When she got home from work every Friday she used to buy me a toy, and every Sunday after church she took me for my favorite meal a “Jumbo Jack” at Jack in the Box.

During those years my dad would take the money he had for lunch to always buy a candy bar throughout my childhood.

Remember always son: those who hit 1st hit twice”

“Remember son that baseball game you are watching both the owners and players win because they are making a lot of money.”

He has been a pastor for 51 years. The story that always sticks out about my dad in the ministry that illustrates how he never gives up on people and humanity even though at 8 he was abused by his uncle and abandoned by his mom and dad and left to the streets.

The gentleman name is Confesor Soto. He states ” Pastor Vizcay never gave up on me. I used be high on crack when he used to knock on door every friday night. I hid from him. Then when he kept knocking every Friday ; I got the resolve to get my life together. When my wife said I want to go to a church. I told there is only on church we can go to. To the man who never gave up on me”

Confessor Soto and his wife Lupita (Who would make these huge burritos with my mom to feed 50 people) are pastors in Denver Colorado.

“Where would your soul go if you died” Told my dad to the cholo outside 7″11″ in Lennox California 1978 5:13 pm before going to church in Inglewood Oak Street.

He preaches that he went to Cuba and the uncle that abused him asked him for money; Our Dad said his mind drifted to when he as a hungry 9 year old asked for food and got mentally abused in return. Then he said felt the pride and love for the United States that allowed him to own 2 restaurants. One was mine. It made me feel close my dad; and proud of myself for making him feel comfortable.

In 1967 Fidel Castro put him in a religious concentration camp. They put guns to the head of preachers and made them atheist. When the other pastors were complaining about not eating for 3 days and the only water they had was horse urine. My dad would say “One more day ; not eating is one more day closer to heaven.”

One day to get my dad to break with his christian beliefs the state police put a gun to our dad’s head and said “renounce Christ or we will blow your head off!” My dad rose his hands to heaven and said ” Thank you lord I am coming to meet you; please take care of my wife and 2 kids”.

That gained the respect of the state police who falsified paperwork that our dad he had liver failure so he would be fraudulent released right after the incident. When signing the release my said he could not sign it because it was a lie. The state police representative said, “Shut up, get out of here ; we will forge your signature; go see your wife kids, you can thank me later.”

This man Manolito made up a story about my Dad that landed him in the concentration camp and 2 years of torture. 30 years later. I picked up the phone and it was Manolito. He said ” I am dying and I need to ask your dad forgiveness. I had to try this before I die” I responded “Fuck you mother fucker; if I was there I would pull the plug on you.”

And I slammed the phone I hated that man my whole life

4 Days later I go to visit my dad. “Dad you are dressed up with your bible where are you going ? Going to the Hospital to see Manolito he is dying and wants me to forgive him. I forgave him 40 years ago.” We laughed. I said “how can you forgive him” “Son he is just weak minded man: praise the lord we are not cowards like him”

For 30 years I heard my dad listen to a message from YiYi Avelia when I went to visit my Dad. His only daughter who graduated Harvard was murdered by her husband brutally. And the point of the sermon was that Yiye Avila went to the jail to hug the son-in-law. That is one way my Dad practiced mental strength. If you know Spanish you can hear the sermon.

My was turned in by this type of human I call “Hall monitor; Nazi prison guard mentality.”

As a British Lit major and a person with 2 advance Degrees I consider Ralph Ellison the greatest American writer of all times. His best book is “Invisible Man”.

But in his masterpiece ” Juneteenth” he described these people this way. “They lick the boots of the powerful and spit in the face of those perceived weaker than them” My dad described fervent ; idolization of Fidel Castro. Who would die in 2008 with net worth of 1 Billion and 200 kids. While Cuba in 2008 did not enough food to feed it’s people.

Castro was good at having a “Cult of personality” throughout my life I have friends who idolize Fidel Castro from Belize, Vietnam, China, Mexico, and Chile.

A deep sadness was felt that day when took Bila to air port. I always feel that sadness when we take our dad to the airport every post -Thanksgiving. My problem is the humanity my parent taught me, the success the humanity I have seen work, and the other side of not being human seen.

There is no church in the United States with a large Hispanic population that does not have a Pastor trained by my parents our dad has read the bible from beginning to end 51 times and has almost every verse memorized with it’s meaning.

My mother died in 2002 and he has not remarried.

My dad is now 86. Several peer review studies show that 95% of people do not have the capacity to change. 90% died with the same religion as their parents. My Dad will not die in Cuba and he switched from Baptist to Pentecostal.

We did not talk for 5 years between 28 to 33 until I married Anna. He does not believe in pre-marital sex. He apologized. But I understood. It is a previledge to be around someone who really believes and is capable of learning from life.

Unfortunately life for the poor and mid class is war 24/7 and you have to choose your battles. My dad is the epitome of a warrior for mental toughness and examining life.

Abandoned at 9 years old; put in a concentration camp by communist to drink horse urine. My dad has accomplished what few can. A grand-daughter arguing Supreme Court Cases. Daughter Real Estate Mogul. Successful business owner and Pastor

Author: joshabner

I am a Business Concierge MBA. That means I make you money, I save you money and I pick the right strategy so you do not pay more taxes than what you have to

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: