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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

getting back to the point

"I am dying to be known. Can anyone concur? And yet, sometimes, I forget that being known as someone who I am NOT doesn’t feel any better than not being known in the first place. In fact, I think it feels worse."
These earnest words belong to my friend Ally Spotts from her recent post "the truth, the lies, and the not talking..." As I read them, they began to reverberate through my mind, my heart, my soul. I was, and still am, struck by the simple truth of her words. Perhaps it is because I have come to this realization already. Perhaps it is because despite this previous realization, I still find new and creative ways to mask my identity, to conceal my heart.

These words directly reflect my purpose for creating this blog. To identify and challenge myself, and in turn others, to live in a manner consistent with and in light of my true identity. To be the man that God uniquely created me to be on this earth. I plan on posting more about this soon. In the meantime, read Ally's post. In many ways, she speaks my heart. And she does so in a manner that is far more eloquent that I am able to at this point.

To answer Ally's initial question...Yes, I concur. Do you?

Monday, June 23, 2008

unwrapping nostalgia

Pulling out of the driveway on his way back to see his wife and son at the hospital the day after his son was born, Bob pressed record on the cassette player. This was long before the advent of video cameras, digital recorders, and other modern recording devices. He had an 8mm movie camera. But because it lacked the ability to record sound and his goal was to record his thoughts, he carefully placed the family tape recorder in the passenger seat and left for the hospital.

This was a significant moment in his life; in the life of his young family. It was their second child, a son; they named him Robert, Jr. He wanted to remember it; to preserve it. For what specifically, he wasn't sure. He merely knew that this was a tape-worthy moment. As he drove the forty-four blocks in the family's white Buick alone, he poured out his heart, his emotion. He spoke of his joy and his hopes. He was methodical and eloquent in his approach and delivery, not disheveled as could be expected under the circumstances. He understood the magnitude of what he was doing and wanted to leave nothing out. He was, and is to this day, a sentimental man. The moment was one to remember, and thanks to the tape recorder faithfully chronicling every word and sound from the passenger seat, it would be.

As he sat excitedly at one of the last stoplights before turning into the hospital's small parking lot, just beginning to wrap up his 10-15 minute emotion-filled discourse, he looked down at the recorder just long enough to see that the button labeled "pause" was also depressed. It was gone; all of it. Despite his best intention to record the full spectrum of emotion that he was feeling, none of it had been saved.

He quickly reset the machine and in the two remaining blocks attempted to recreate all that he had just said. He began by describing his first effort, and then moved quickly into describing his feelings once again. Understandably, this second attempt was hurried. The right words were no longer on the tip of his tongue. They escaped him. As the clutch and squeaky gear shifter provided background noise, the sound of humorous disappointment filled his words as he walked his future listener through the situation and his emotions. The result was a shorter, less eloquent version that still manages to convey the weight of the moment.

My dad shared this story with me while we were eating dinner at Jake's Grill in downtown Portland on my 30th birthday. It's a story that I had never heard before, but one that I could hear him tell over and over again. Although he laughs about the situation now, the emotion that he felt thirty years ago is still there. Later that night after opening gifts, as my parents and I sat talking in the living room, my dad slipped away. Thinking he was headed to the bathroom my mom and I thought nothing of it. A few minutes later he returned with a tape recorder and a tape. Thirty years later, and he knew right where it was. I couldn't believe that he still had it.

He pushed play and we all sat there filled with anticipation, waiting to hear those hurried words spoken thirty years ago by my dad, who was thirty years younger, about me who was less than one day old. I sat in stunned silence hearing my much younger dad's voice; his emotion; his pride.

It was surreal. And was hands down the most amazing birthday present I could have ever received.

Thanks Dad.