Posts Tagged ‘Blog’

The Beauty of Being Part of A Grand Story

Great sporting events draw you in with the fact that someone is going to win and someone is going to lose, and no one really knows for sure which team will emerge victorious. It’s a bit of an ancient battle scene re-inacted for a commercial audience. Heroes, underdogs and even tragic losers emerge out of the story, giving everyone someone to cheer, criticize, or sympathize. There’s nothing like losing yourself in a great game, especially for us guys.

I believe that we all long to be a part of a bigger story. Probably because most times it feels like our lives are overwhelmingly mundane and ordinary. We find great movies, books, or sporting events in which to lose ourselves. Still, we don’t so much lose ourselves, as we allow ourselves to be swept up into the grander story that these things offer.

Samson Society has allowed me to be a part of a bigger story than just my own. Sure my life has been intertwined with a few dozen other men, but instead of losing myself in their midst, I feel like I’m finding myself. I’m finding out who I am by hearing myself tell my own story. I’m finding out who I am by hearing my own story told by other men. I’m surrounded by guys who I am cheering on, and who I know are cheering me on, as well. We’re becoming a well-oiled team.

One of the most effective ways that we have found to establish a team bond, or connection, is through the use of descriptive words and imagery. That’s why sporting teams have mascots, you know, as an effort to bring imagery into the story. So it’s not just everyday guys out their on the field, it’s Warriors and Titans, strongmen with overwhelming mythological connotations. For us, simply the name of our group conjures up imagery of the strong man Samson shackled between the two pillars in the temple. We’re strong men with weaknesses! We’re Samsons! Hooray!

Also, these fellow Samson-ites aren’t just friends, they are my “Band of Brothers.” It’s like we’re admitting we’re in a battle together. No longer are we fighting alone, but we’re traipsing through the muck and mire with guys by our side. Guys who are strong and weak, scared and brave, wild and wise. It’s no longer “every man for himself” that they world seems to offer. It’s like we’re experiencing what it’s like to be on a team, where each of the players offer their own personal value through their unique story and spirit. I can’t imagine Samson without Joe Shore or Glenn McClure, Scott Dente or Jack Wallin. I can’t imagine Samson without a bunch of guys. You know who I can imagine Samson without? When I get impatient and judgmental, I can imagine Samson without the guys who don’t bring their full weight. You know, the guys who speak in the third person and use a lot of generalities? Most of those guys don’t stick around too long. But some do. They stick it out and find their way into themselves, and into the lives of other guys. They join the team.

We’re also “Pirate Monks.” I am at one time a Pirate, and at another a Monk, and most times, a stunningly absurd combination of the two. But it makes sense. The imagery we use helps puts a larger story into view, when we didn’t even have words to describe it in the first place. It helps us feel like we’re a part of something that’s bigger than ourselves, something that requires us to be brave and strong and mighty. Something that requires us to stick together in order to achieve victory.

Thankfully, we all know how this story is going to end. But in the meantime, us Samson guys are going to hang on tight to the fact that we’re onto something significant. We don’t have to worry about winning or losing, but we do have to focus on learning how to fall better, how to get back up quicker, and how not to let our setbacks define us. And that sometimes victory looks a lot like one guy who chooses to keep coming back, and start sharing from the heart, leaving behind pretense and posturing, taking small steps to join the Samson team. When someone does that, we all celebrate with an upturned mug, a Pirate-like “Aaarrrhhhhh” and a sometimes loud, but most times softly delivered, “Thank you Jesus!”

Is anybody out there?

Something that I find oddly common with my artistic friends is that you kind of always wonder if anyone is reading, or listening, or even caring about what you’ve created. Then every so often, the skies open up, a dove descends, and you get a little message that makes your day. Like this one…

Dear Mark: I was listening to your “I Don’t Have To” song this morning in my car and thinking about this guy I like who’s name is XXXXX. Even though he’ll never know how much I like him because I’ll never say it or show him because I’m afaird of his rejection. But I love him that’s all that matters. So thanks for making that song.

I’m glad I made it too!! Thanks for making my day!

Being on TV.

Ok. So I had my TEN seconds of fame this week on nationally-broadcast television. Who knows how many hundreds of people watched, but that’s more than normally see me on a good day. How did it feel? You know that place inside your soul that cries out that there’s just gotta be more to this life than just the day to day, more than just the getting by? That place felt rubbed and nurtured. Like a big hug from arms unseen.

Just kidding. It didn’t feel like much at all, actually. The best part of it all was how my friends and family responded to it. Everyone was so supportive and loving, it’s been amazing.

But, no worries. No chance for big heads or arrogance here. My TV appearance Monday night was bookmarked by large packages of dog poo on the living room carpet both Monday and Tuesday mornings. And I’ve had the flu all week, myself. Not much room for feeling amazing.

Kirby Puckett was the Twins.

I lost one of my heroes yesterday. He was only days away from his 46th birthday…and just a couple of months away from being re-married. I loved that Kirby represented the Underdog in appearance and Superstar in reality, both with such a huge smile. I will never forget the ’87 & ’91 World Series the Twins won, and I’ll never forget the spark that Kirby brought to the team, to the Metrodome, to the whole state and to the whole country. Heck, I named my dog after him…because of the spark that he brought to me. The spark that says “You can do it, you can make it! You can be a champion! But more important than winning, it’s the joy and love in your heart and compassion for other people that really matter in life.” A message so similar in nature to what my amazing Grandma Bob used to shower me with.

Ironically, during the ’91 Series Grandma Bob was in the hospital for some heart problems. She was a big Kirby fan. She had a heart-attack during the Series’ day off, only to recover in time to cheer for Kirby and the Twins. She’d watch the games from her hospital bed, Homer-Hanky in hand. Yes, she did get to watch his team pull it out in the end. But, immediately after the Twins won the title, she hung up her Hanky, and said good-bye to us.

I hope this means that Grandma Bob and Kirby Puckett, two of my heroes, finally get a chance to meet.

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