Thursday, July 29, 2010

The "Rax" Blessing ;-)

I opened this delightful anonymous letter last night:

"I just wanted to thank you for sharing your special ability to translate God's words into practical life lessons, which my wife and I have applied to our lives and in turn completely transformed our lives and especially our marriage."

"I remember that you once said you met your wife while working at Rax and I was shocked to learn that Rax still exists in Indiana, so I thought you might enjoy."

Enclosed were Rax gift certificates and the address of the Anderson Rax. So me and the missus will be road-tripping for a BBC soon ;-)

Thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Anonymous for a very unique and special blessing!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Time Machine Photo Shoot

So I get a message over a month ago from a friend I hadn't seen since 1983:

"Hey Morgan, I love you photos I've seen on Facebook. Would you do our son's senior pictures?"

Tracey, Rick & I were in band @ Kokomo High School. We had probably marched, bused, and hung out for literally hundreds of hours. But like so many high school relationships, I don't think we'd seen each other since the night in May when I graduated.

Rick & Tracey started dating the summer before their junior year and never stopped. They married in college, found a job and life has taken them to Minnesota.

So here we were again. The three of us. Looking over at the marching field we'd lived on 27 years earlier. And there was their handsome son, Matt; the same age as we were when we'd last seen each other.

No other experience to date has given me the sensation of time travel as this. It was eerily and yet warmly profound.

Hair color and hair lines different. Everyone would now wrestle in a heavier weight class. But the eyes...they don't change. Remembrances make eyes dance in the same way they did 27 years ago. But still...our eyes revealed the wisdom and experiences of our mid-fortied lives.

During the shoot I couldn't shake the odd sensation of it all. As if I'd driven to meet them in a flux-capacitor-driven DeLorean. Physically it was different. Relationally it was the same. And I think we all felt the sense of how unique and fun the moment was.

A few days later we sat at Starbucks as I handed over the photo discs. We talked for two hours (to poor Matt's dismay). Words came easily and smiles followed. For people the same age with kids of like ages there seems no end to the commonality.

And I have to say that Rick and Tracey are good people. They always were. I can tell they still are and they've raised two more good people in Matt & Samantha. As I sat with them I was reminded of the gift that good people are.

I asked Tracey, "So what have you learned?"

She paused and said simply, "What haven't I learned?"

Rick turned the question back on me. I thought for a second and said, "That everything I thought was important when I was Matt's age isn't important...perhaps that nothing's more important than humility...and that it really is all about relationships..."

And as I said those words I knew this was one of those special moments that really was all about relationships. Special that even though we'd been separated by 27 years of life, we could pickup and not be in those awkward moments caught fishing for words.

Life is unpredictable; old friends, comforting. And God winds through it all.

Here's to time machine photo shoots. (drink)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Art of Love

One of the most poignant moments recently was watching a young friend of mine dance his first dance with his bride.

Ben and Cara are just out of college. I met Ben when he was in 6th or 7th grade. They have a lovely spirit to them. They want to change the world and God has given them the intelligence and passion to do just that.

Ben has a boyish face. And a boyish toothy smile that hasn't changed much since he was in middle school. And he has a boyish peacefulness about him. Soft spoken with words of weight.

And here's this optimistic young man with a boyish face dancing with his beautiful bride, looking anything but girlish.

And as they danced to this song, he quietly sang this chorus to her with his boyish honesty in a way that held back nothing.

Give a listen, then come back. click here.

I listened to that as I drove into church yesterday and it melted me. It conveys all the sentiment I have for Sandra. All that I can never say or capture with words. And the chorus made me think of my relationship with Christ. All that I can never capture in all my prayed words.

A true sense of love recalibrates my heart and mind by reminding me how fortunate I am. Blessed to have the love of my life in Sandra and the love of a Father that fathers me perfectly.

I think I'll listen to that song again...and knock off some of the crust that the grit of this world can cake on. And maybe inside, I'll become more boyish...if only for the moment.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

I love a unique gift

click pic to enlarge

My friend came to my front door yesterday morning, extended this to me and said in his stoic deliberate cadence,

"This is for you. Hang it up in your wood shop."

He who works with is HANDS is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and HEAD is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands, his head and his HEART is...
-St. Francis of Assisi

He also threw in that it was handmade by _______ (excuse me, his relative's name didn't stick).

What a great way to start the day. Someone took the time to do this by hand. Someone thought that this somehow reflected who I am. And someone thought enough to frame it and deliver it by hand.

It sounds simple but the reality is that more often than not, what we're giving to friends, are the virtual "things" on Facebook. "Here's a cocktail for you." And friends pop over way to rarely. And too often gifts are not a reflection of the recipient, but rather reflect a social obligation.

Life is short. Friends who "get you" are invaluable. And nothing quite goes with French press coffee like a good friend on your porch with a thoughtful gift. Thanks Mike ;-)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Timing is Everything (the Nick Swisher Incident)

"This is a factory: Do NOT go outside the yellow lines. Do NOT take pictures. Do NOT touch anything."

Those were the kind yet firm words that started our tour of the Louisville Slugger Factory yesterday.

A few minutes into the tour, Slater and I found ourselves straggling at the end of our 20+ person group; Slate garbed in Yankees cap and Babe Ruth t-shirt.

As we looked closely at the station where finishing touches were put on bats, an employee looked at Slater and put his index finger into the air (the international sign for "wait a minute") and disappeared around the corner.

Slate and I just looked at each other as the space increased between us and our tour group. The "West Coast Choppers"-shirted man returned holding a bat.

"This is a rush order--Nick Swisher's bat for the All-Star game." He pushed it towards Slater; his eyes got big.

"Take it." Slate's smile eclipsed his face as he grabbed the bat.
"Take his picture," the employee said to me firmly.
"Here, get a shot of the order," he commanded.
We smiled like idiots and soaked it in.

As we caught up with the tour, stricken with serious cases of perma-grin, you would have thought Slate met Nick Swisher himself. You have to admit, getting your 14 year old hands on a bat before Nick Swisher does in the All-Star game is pretty darn cool.

Oh yeah, and Nick Swisher grew up in Parkersburg WV. The same city Slater's grandmother Sue lives in. The same city in which most of the Slater family was born. (Slater is my mother's maiden name.)

Later we thought of all the little things that contributed to that moment:
+ We got a later start to the trip than we planned.
+ In a split second we careened off the highway to check out the Adidas Outlet store.
+ Slater decided to wear his Yankees gear instead of a red non-Yankee ensemble.

You get the idea. A moment happened and we were fortunate enough to catch it--or more aptly--for it to catch us.

The Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum is a GREAT little trip for baseball fans. We learned a lot and kudos to the Louisville Slugger Co. for using one building for corporate offices, factory, and fan experiences --all set in an old building in a charming downtown.

Check out pictures on my Facebook page or here.