I’m now officially free to let other people respond to me the way they want to, and it doesn’t need to affect how I feel about myself. I’m free to let other people love me in their own way, in their own time, without me taking anything personally. I’m free to let myself make mistakes in the ways that I communicate my feelings, because I am free to be misunderstood. I am free to not be liked by everyone around me. I’m free to allow the love of God and those who know me well, actually be enough to get me through today. I’m free to not be entangled by the quest for acceptance from strangers, no matter how good looking they might be. I’m free to be optimistic about the future, even if my present circumstances appear stagnant, knowing that the only thing that’s certain in life is change. Still, I’m free to not be ruled by the allure of “what might happen” in the future, because I am choosing to focus on the beauty of the present. I’m free to be surprised by what might come my way, because I’m entering into today without any expectations.
This is my declaration of independence.
Here are some things I’ve been thinking about.
1) Baseball. What an unbelievable game. I love how one person from the offense goes up against the whole defense. It’s a complex, individualistic team sport filled with guys who seem to just dig hanging out with their buddies while they travel the road for half a year. I wish the season had a quarter of the games they play so each game would count more. Currently, it’s a bit like a marathon where teams have to pace themselves for a hopefully big finish six months down the road.
2) Ambition. Tricky proposition. I believe it’s probably easier not having dreams and goals. Yet, it’s hard to imagine walking around with your bow and arrow cocked but with nothing to shoot at.
3) Friendship. I can’t imagine not having someone to reflect back to me who I truly am, my worth, my value, my mistakes, my weaknesses. On my own, I can paint a self-portrait that looks a lot more like what I’m attracted to, or what I’m repulsed by (depending on the day), than who I really am.
4) God. It appears that ultimately he’s going to do whatever he wants. And usually that’s better than what I could’ve scripted. More nuanced, more beautiful, more redemptive.
Had a great night at the prison. I wanted to throw the guys a party, you know, cause no one else ever does. So I loaded up the truck with food from Costco – shrimp, deli wraps, fireballs, olives, apple pie, ice cream – the essentials… and invited the incredibly talented Nashville Soul Choir
to provide the musical entertainment. I love them! My buddies, the gym worker guys, had set up the gym so nice and helped serve all the food and run the sound. I spoke on how to live a life that defies expectations. It was so exciting to see their faces light up when they got a taste of hope for perhaps the first time.
I told them why I do this:
1) To make me look good.
2) To make them feel good.
3) To make God look good.
Here’s an article I wrote about how I got into prison ministry in the first place: Part One & Part Two
Just had an amazing dinner. I was going to settle for a drive-thru somewhere. Something cheap. And then decided to actually go to one of my favorite restaurants, J. Alexanders, and have my favorite Salmon Caesar Salad. It was amazing. A baseball game was on in hi-def, my favorite brew was on tap, and the bartender was actually interesting. I even made pleasant conversation with the men on either side of me while I ate. It was a success, but simply because I chose to dive deeper into my heart and go after something I love, rather than just settling for something cheap and easy.