I was rereading Harry Potter: the Order of the Phoenix recently when a scene made an impression on me in a way that it hadn’t before. It was the scene where Harry was able to see Snape’s memories of getting humiliated by Harry’s father and god-father when they were fifteen year olds in school. In the story the scene impacted Harry profoundly. It made him question his unwavering faith in the goodness of his idols and better understand Snape’s experience.
This reached me in a new way because I’ve become a father of my own little boy since the last time that I read the book. I thought about what Sebastian might see if he could view my life as a fifteen year old in school. What if the scene was of my worst moment from the viewpoint of someone who had reason to hate me? That’s an ugly little thought isn’t it? The problems surrounding me as a teenager were as numerous as the stars in the sky on a country night. I can scarcely remember a moment that I could point to and use an example of the life I want him to experience.
Frankly, it didn’t get much better over time. Littered throughout the first 25 years of my life are situations and examples that I don’t want my son to have to deal with. It’s interesting how far removed Sebastian will be from that. He was born when I was 36, 11 years after I started making significant strides towards maturity. The confident and capable person that he will experience as I raise him shares very little in common with the person I was before growing up.
That’s what got me thinking. I know I’m not the only one with a past that I’m not proud of that is working towards much better future. But how does that impact our kids? Most of us don’t want to talk much about our embarrassing pasts, least of all to the child that we want looking up to us as they grow older. But maybe that’s just what they need. I feel that quite a lot of the angst and anger that seems to come naturally from the teenage years has its roots in feeling misunderstood and frustrated. How much more meaningful would our advice be if our kids understood where we are really coming from. If they see that we have actually walked down these paths before and have meaningful advice for them based on experience. It’s very difficult for a teen to receive that advice from a boring old parent who doesn’t know what it’s like to go through the things that they are going through. I wager that it’s much easier for them to receive if its coming from a parent who can show that they empathize based on experience.
As I work on being the father that I want to be I hope that this lesson stays with me. There will come a point when he’s 15 and I’m 51 and he will be engaging in behavior that I dislike. I hope that I can still relate to my past and relay my experiences at that point into a meaningful tapestry of experience that he can relate to even if he doesn’t agree with what I’m saying.
I was at home doing my homework on a recent Saturday when I was struck by inspiration. I can say with certainty that the resulting idea is one of the best I’ve ever come up with. I know this to be true because of the great potential for it has for making people happy and the utter lack of self-gratification that it involves. Most of the rest of this blog talks about how the idea came to me, if you want to skip straight to the idea feel free to jump down to the last couple of paragraphs. But first, let me encourage you to share this message via your choice of social media sites. I’ve never asked anyone to share an article before and I probably won’t ever do it again. But I believe that we can make the world a little bit brighter if this message gets out to enough people. Read the rest of this entry
My life changed forever about 9 years ago. I can’t remember the specific day or even the time of year but I remember the moment. If my life was a lever this moment would be the fulcrum. It’s the moment that I let go of myself and decided to trust Jesus. I don’t think I’ve ever written about it in detail before and I want to take some time with it today.
The only person with me at the time was my girlfriend Edith. This was before we got married. We were alone in the old apartment that I used to share with my brother Bob on Touchton road. It wasn’t uncommon for Edith and me to spend our time there. I can remember many Friday nights spent there together drinking homemade margaritas and playing darts on our twenty dollar Walmart dartboard or playing Tetris on goofy little game system that we could plug into the TV. Those were some of the best times of my life.
This was the year that I finished losing weight. I was 29 years old, 245 pounds, in good shape and I was happy. I remember that clearly. It was the first time in my life that I was really happy. This was a huge change for me, it was a revelation. I’m embarrassed by who I was before this period in my life. I was very angry. In my anger I rejected God. I knew who he was. I had been saved long before this and I had experienced his love clearly during the period when I was just leaving my teenage years.
Things changed for me though. Events happened that hurt me in fresh new ways that seemed at the time to be indescribably cruel. It felt like I had found a port after coming through a horrible storm only to have it ripped away from me again, leaving me in shock and defenseless against the pain. It was as if I had let down my defenses just to be attacked and defeated anew. This period of anguish peaked with my 21st birthday. I remember it clearly. I had moved back in to my father’s house after I left college before graduating and I was working my first serious job trying to earn enough money to move out. I remember that evening, I spent it utterly alone. I remember breaking down and bawling as I sat on my bed in the dark talking to my mother and telling her how lonely I was. Read the rest of this entry
I’m not your typical movie watcher. I pride myself on the ability to look at the commercials and previews of movies and judge whether or not they will be worth watching. Most of the time my answer is the same – “that’s going to be terrible”. Admittedly my picks are perfect, but the odds are with me considering the plethora of terrible movies being released on a regular basis.
I had the misfortune to watch one of those terrible movies on Saturday. It was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The movie was sitting on our DVR for the past year or so and I finally worked up the motivation to give it a shot. It was one of those movies that I knew would be bad, but I like comics and it’s free so I figured I would give it a shot. I wish I hadn’t. What a frustrating movie. The thing that frustrated me most of all was the gratuitous use of other Marvel Universe characters who had no need to be in the movie. Gambit, Cyclops, Professor X, Emma Frost all made cameos for no good reason. Worse than that, they completely bastardized Deadpool, one of the more interesting characters in the setting, destroying much of his future big screen credibility with movie executives.
After getting stuck watching this steaming pile of film droppings I started thinking about films that did it right. Over the last few years we’re had more movies than ever based on comic books that exceeded our wildest expectations. I decided to put together my completely non-comprehensive list of the best 10 movies based on a comic book. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry
The article below is written by my friend Claresa. The article touched my heart the first time I read it and I asked for permission to share it with you. Enjoy.
My name is Claresa Baggs. I do not possess a title of Pastor, Minister, Reverend, or
Prophetess. I don’t sit on any boards. I do not have a big certificate of degree hanging
on my office wall. I never expected to stand before you in this format, on this day. Quite
frankly, I learned that I can only run for so long, before God catches up to me.
Who am I, to stand before you and allow teachings to flow from my mouth that I would
otherwise keep to myself? I am but a wretched soul, desperately in need of prayer, on a
twisted and potholed path trying to find my way back to God. I have nothing to offer you
but my own truths.
I do not speak of things I have not experienced. I have been on a sad, angry, lonely
journey. How could God; therefore, require this of me? How could He ask me, out of all
who have suffered to stand before you and provide guidance? I cannot quote a bunch of
biblical passages to support this presentation. I cannot list authors of self-help manuals
used as reference materials.
I stand before you in humility and obedience.
All I know is what I know.
I can tell you of a child who at the age of 8 believed it better to die than to live one more
day in pain and sorrow. Read the rest of this entry