He used to say that he was born where people go to die. “Which in hindsight seems a bit strange considering all the times I thought I was actually going to die. And none of those times were in Florida.”
This KNOWvember has been a good one on many levels. The people I have met and the stories (and confessions) I have heard would most certainly make numerous great scenes in a really surreal movie. If only I had recorded them. But here’s the thing, I never took notes while I was talking to the person, instead I listened. In doing so, I discovered something about myself. I’m actually interested in what people have to say.
Today is the last day of this social experiment, blood-pressure rising challenge that last year I swore I’d never do again. This is day 30. And it’s raining. And we have to drive home. And traffic was worse than we anticipated. And then it snowed! Yes, it snowed. And then we finally got home, and I got a call from someone in dire need of pastoral care. And then...well.
If you’ve read this far then you probably have figured out I didn’t meet anyone new. Which isn’t actually true, because I did meet a woman in Golden Gate park who was looking for her dog Babe, a black Labrador who escaped from her collar. She was wearing a Johns Hopkins t-shirt and scrubs, and under different circumstances I would have asked her all sorts of questions. And you would be reading about her instead of this excuse.
Yet, if the goal is to meet 30 new people in 30 days, then yes this woman would qualify. However, I did meet someone else who is “new” or at least new-ish. And that person is me. The people I have met have not only shared their story with me, but have also helped me shape my own story and my reason for doing this crazy thing.
Part of this discovery started the week I started KNOWvember when I accepted an amazing gift from a friend who is a life coach. Her gift is a Life Mastery program that helps me to see who I really am and to learn how to embrace my truths to grow my ministry and turn my dreams into my new reality. In these last few weeks I have come to learn, discover, and grow from all the new things I am realizing within me. So I am me, but new-ish.
This might sound like a cheeky excuse, and in some ways it could be. Yet some of you might not really know stuff about me. We might be friends on Facebook, or you might be someone who reads my blog or watches my online ministry. But do you really know me? Have you taken the time to ask me questions like, “What was it like growing up the black sheep of your family?” Or perhaps you might want to know “How did you get that scar?” Or “what on earth made you get that tattoo?”
So here’s some stuff about me. I am a Pisces. I like food. I love coffee and candy. I really enjoy praying and mediation. And I’m a bit of a Jesus freak. In fact, I was once interviewed by a local newspaper where I was quoted as saying, “basically I am a Jesus loving anarchist.” I had no idea they would publish that, but they did. And it’s not far from the truth. I am also a cancer survivor who believes in miracles.
I am the youngest of four kids. Grew up in a small beach town on the Gulf of Mexico. My parents are still married. And so am I...to my second wife. I have always had a pretty good understanding of myself, and confidently piss people off because I speak honestly and truthfully. More recently I have also learned to do that more lovingly. I hate guns, and really don’t care about the 2nd Amendment. I stole a car once. And knocked my best friend out cold with one punch to the face. I like to walk, not run. And feel mostly at home in or next to bodies of water.
I play guitar. I taught myself piano. I’ve recorded a record with a great friend. I like music. In fact I love music, but I couldn’t tell you the name of a song or even what the album is called. I couldn’t even do that with the record I recorded. I also butcher lyrics. I used to dream about what it might be like to be a rock star. And then I met hundreds of rock stars, some very famous and some no body ever heard of, and realized I like the life I have been living. I am happy with that decision. And really have no regrets outside wishing I could make amends to all the people I have hurt. Some of my ex’s are lawyers - something I fear unreasonably. I married the girl of my dreams, and I still dream about her at least once a week.
I’ve learned that life is truly like a box of chocolates, and I know the guy who wrote that in a movie; earning him an Academy Award. I have seen things and done things that I shouldn’t have done, but in the process I believe those things made me who I am today and most certainly where the stepping stones that led me to my deep faith. I stopped fearing death, but instead decided to embrace life if only for a good story. I have many good stories. Some are so good that they have caused people to accuse me of being a liar. I can live with that. Because I know who I am, and who I am called to be. But I only know this because I have taken the time to get to know me, and allowed myself to be transformed in the process.
Unlike the many people I met and have interviewed I can honestly say that I am not an open book. If you want to check me out of the library then you might discover I am a good read.
Yes, I swore I would never do KNOWvember again. Yet I also know myself well enough to know that I will go out tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day after that to meet someone new who might make my life’s story that much better. Who knows, maybe I will make an impact in their life story.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”