Memorabilia

“I’m one of the AFP conference participants who is having an issue with an incorrect reservation. David Huber just spoke with you, he was the other guy experiencing difficulties. His issue was cleared up and he’s getting into his room. Are you planning to come to the Hyatt Regency lobby?”

I just discovered this draft of an unsent text message from when I went to a conference in Dallas earlier this year. It’s funny how a few words bring the whole experience back. I can feel all the panic  about my hotel reservation getting botched, and all the relief when I figured out a solution to that problem, and the annoyance I felt because the person who had made the reservation and had the power to fix my problem was taking forever to arrive and now didn’t need to come because I had solved the problem myself and people were waiting on me to meet with this problem solver/creator so that I could take then to Walmart and…

As boring as it seems, the text is a fragment of a very interesting story. It’s a story with a good ending, as it turns out, because the last day of the conference was fantastic.

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Plans…

Once again, I write on time and plans. And once again, I write in the car…

Actually, never mind, just watch the movie Bella. Or better yet, just watch this trailer: http://youtu.be/9gkLt-Tjgz4

(With a smidgen of imagination, you can deduce the necessary plot elements, especially if you know that it’s a pro-life film. The plot isn’t really the point anyway. My reason for sharing is really a subplot of the film, which is explained in the last scene of the trailer.)

Got Time

I’m writing this in the car. That means I’m using my phone. My phone doesn’t write as well as my keyboard so… I’ll stop making excuses for what I’m sure will be choppy sentences and just start.

My mother used to say, “You’ve got time Trent, you’ve got time.” And it would drive me insane.

The future. It’s a way exciting and super scary subject. It’s especially panic-inducing to those of us who like to plan. The idea behind planning is to create an ideal future, or at least to avoid a horrible one. I used to sweat about the future, and I had more reason to do so than most. I was unprepared.

I’m no longer panicked about the future and I’ll tell you why. The future isn’t under my control. And I think to some degree we would all agree with that. But here’s one thing that I can say that some of my readers cannot. I’m not old, but I am older than some of you. And here’s my experience.

Nothing happens the way you expect it to.

That typically means that things take longer than you want them to. There’s a quote I like about this where someone asks someone else when something will happen and the someone else answers: “Sooner than you think, but longer than you wish for.”

God’s calendar is not always synced with ours. I thought I would get into politics at 18. I was right about getting involved with politics; I was just 5 years off.

It’s funny when you look back over your life and see all the things you didn’t know you needed to go through, the lessons you needed to learn before you would be ready for the task you have now been given to perform.

My mother used to say, “You’ve got time Trent, you’ve got time.” And it drove me insane. But you know something? She was right.

The Purple Postage Stamp

Instead of a creepy shadow, WordPress gives you a postage stamp. If you don’t have a picture, or you don’t want people to see your picture, or you don’t want to see your picture, they give you a postage stamp. The color is assigned at random. Every time you post a comment your postage stamp appears next to your name. It’s a little more personal than what some social media places give pictureless souls; it’s better than nothing, or a silhouette, or a silhouette of a bird (okay, I actually liked the silhouette of the bird).

When you comment on a WordPress blog or like a post, you leave behind your postage stamp. The stamp says, “I saw this and I wanted you to know that I saw it, so I sent you my postage stamp.”

This reminds me of Corrie ten Boom, a lady who helped hide and protect Jews during World War II. When she was jailed for helping jews, someone sent her a letter. The letter didn’t say much of anything. It was like one of those Get Well cards someone sends you without adding a personal message. They just sign their name under whatever cliched phrase the card company has printed on the inside of the card and hope you’ll understand the thought behind their action, which is normally: I feel like I have to send a card, but I don’t have time to actually say anything in it. Anyway, Corrie gets the letter. She reads the banality on the note and then she notices the stamp on the envelope. She peels away the stamp and underneath it is a secret message. It says that all the Jews she was hiding are safe.

I am probably being overdramatic by drawing this analogy, but I love being overdramatic, so here it is: WordPress postage stamps are like coded messages. After I post, I always check back to see if there is a postage stamp. When there is a postage stamp, that means my message in a bottle has floated up to someone, that they have fished it out of the sea and have slid it carefully out of the glass and have read it and have thought about it and have returned it with there own little mark for me to know it has been read.

I always search frantically for these stamps. I always ask, “Has the message gotten out? Did people understand it?” I am a pretty fortunate blogger, because I almost always get a postage stamp. Sometimes the postage stamp has a picture on it, and sometimes it is just a color. I treasure these stamps. Ooo! I got a green one! I will think, or, A picture of a flower, I haven’t seen that one before… For a while, my favorite was a purple postage stamp. But WordPress stamps change, as all stamps do.

In conclusion, to the readers of this blog, I send another message — a very grateful, “Thank you!”

20 Seconds

There is a magical scene towards the end of the film We Bought a Zoo where a father tells his children how he met their mother. A scene like that would be touching all by itself, but what makes it magical is the fact that their mother is dead. And their father never talks of her. And the kids want to talk about her but they don’t dare, and I think the Dad wants to talk about her but he doesn’t dare. At the end of the film he realizes they all need to talk about her even if it hurts. So he takes them to the diner where he met his wife, his wife who died too young. And he replay’s the event for his children.

He was walking down the street when he glanced through the window of the restaurant and saw a creature unlike any he had seen before. He wasn’t sure what to do. He really wanted to talk to this creature and find out if she liked pizza and if she had an eHarmony account that she was tired of paying for or something like that. (Okay, I watched the movie a few years ago, so I’m filling in all the details I forgot as best as I can.) But he was stuck in the concrete and couldn’t move. He was terrified from the topmost hair on his blonde head to the sole of his well-worn hiking boots. And then he remembered his motto, which he explained to his son like this, “Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.” And with that, he turned around and strode towards the door of the diner.

As soon as he stepped inside, he looked down the walkway between the booths to where the creature sat, or really, sort of floated, and it looked like a gauntlet; it looked like a never ending subway tunnel that disappeared into murk; it looked impossible. He started to hyperventilate. Then he looked down at his watch and realized something, he still had a few seconds left. So he walked the gauntlet, mile after mile, up to the girl, and asked her a question. I don’t remember what it was. I think the question was, “Can I ask you a question?”

But it really doesn’t matter, because as soon as he started his crazy, terrifying, adventure, everything else took care of itself. He said something to her and she had to respond and so forth and so on. All he needed was 20 seconds to get inside and open his mouth, 20 seconds to say, “Kids, I want to show you a special place,” 20 seconds to tell the first words of his story, 20 seconds to make things right, 20 seconds to call fear’s bluff. Until the the next terrifying opportunity. Then he would have to get past fear again. He could rest assured, though, even if he didn’t know what was going to happen next, because he knew something better — he knew he had 20 seconds, and that he would always have 20 seconds until he died.  

“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, just literally 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it. – Benjamin Mee, We Bought A Zoo

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

Roadtrip

Arrived in Texas last Sunday (the 13th). Unfortunately is wasn’t as brown as I had expected, due to rain.

Things I learned from the trip:
1. Postcards are expensive.
2. People are weird no matter where you go (not referring to relatives)…
3. People are concerned about this country no matter where you go… some are even doing something about it.
4. Fill a van to capacity including four kids under four years old and you get one wild ride!