With the milestone of my 30th birthday looming on the horizon, my wife Nikki decided to seize the opportunity and bring me some much needed encouragement.
She invited a number of our friends and family to pool their resources and get a special gift for me. Then on my birthday, she gathered a number of those friends (and even some family from Indiana) to surprise me with a party.
During the party, Nikki asked some folks to say a few words to me. Words of affirmation, words to breathe life into me. Afterward, she presented me with my gift.
She told me that they wanted to encourage me to write, so my gift was a brand new laptop. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I seem to remember maybe even shedding a couple of tears. At the very least, if I didn’t, I fought them back, to be sure.
At that party, I was surrounded by people telling me that I had a voice they wanted to hear.
So, with a state-of-the-art writing tool in my hands, and with my friends’ kind and gracious words spoken over me…
I didn’t write much of anything at all.
For a long time.
So, eight long years after that surprise party, I’m here.
To write.Slow progress is still progress.
As Frederick Buechner wrote in his memoir Telling Secrets, “My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours.”
You see, there are voices from my past that I’ve been wrestling with for most of my life. Those voices swooped in almost immediately after the party, telling me that even the few things I actually wanted to say weren’t worth saying.
During those eight years, though, a lot has changed, and is still changing. In our world, in our technology (that laptop was long ago rendered obsolete), but most importantly, in me.
Over time, even more people have come alongside me and helped me find the strength and courage I needed to tackle a lot of the things that have stood in the way of me finding my own true voice.
I’ve begun to understand that as incomplete, vague, and open-ended as my story may feel at times, it is still worth the telling.
So I’m here to write out some of my story, in the hopes that you’ll see glimpses of your own story here, too. Hopes. Dreams. Fears. Struggles. Joys. Sorrows. Victories. Failures. Our lives.
I’m here to write out scenes from what’s come before to bring me to this point, as well as thoughts about what is unfolding before me into the great unknown of the future.
Yes, it’s been eight years since that initial encouragement. But I’m here, and I’m moving forward in my own small (and occasionally not so small) ways.
And hopefully, my story will encourage you to cast aside the things that have been standing in your way of becoming who you have it in you to become. It’s possible. I wouldn’t be saying that if I wasn’t learning the truth of it myself.
So tell me, what’s been standing in your way?