To The Class of 2013

As the Class of 2013 prepares to take the next steps on their journey, moving from high school or college, I begin to step back and reminisce about the years since my last graduation.  I think my younger self would be overwhelmed to know the future, but I think I’d be proud of where I am.

There are some things I’d tell myself though, and since I can’t, let me share them with you, the class of 2013.

– You are ready.  Every experiencehome_love in your life has built to this moment, to equip you to step forward into your future.  Being ready doesn’t mean your steps will be easy, your choices will be faultless, or your dreams will come true right away.  But it does mean that you have the tools and support to keep growing on your own.

– Work hard.  No matter if you’re going on to college or work, you are going to have to work harder than you ever have.  But the rewards will be bigger than they’ve ever been before.

– Keep learning.  I don’t mean book learning (though there’s a place for that too), but by listening to those around you, soaking up the knowledge they share.  Learn what not to do from some people- those lessons will be as valuable as any.

– Prepare for bumps.  There will be bumps, as small as ant hills to as large as mountains.  You will sometimes feel like giving up.  You will sometimes feel there is no way you can get past it.  But you can. 

– Hold on to your real friends, forget the others.  Ten or twenty years from now, some of those real friends will still be real friends.  You may lose touch, you may go separate ways, but you may find your way back.  Don’t dismiss them because you’ve moved on to new adventures.  But those that weren’t real friends, or those that hurt you along the way?  It’s okay to let them go.  It’s growing to know what is real and what can be left in the past. 

– Be flexible.  The path to where you’ll be years from now will wind and twist, and you won’t land exactly where you thought you would.  But where you land may be better than you’d ever believed.  And the twists will be what you reflect on all your life. 

– Go.  The world is so much bigger than the slice you’ve lived.  Go experience some of it.  We’ll be here waiting at home to welcome you back, always being your safe place. 

– Do good.  There is so much darkness in the world, but there is so much more power in the good that can come from those who choose to shine it.  You have that power, to show God’s love to a hurting world.  To be His hands and His feet. 

– Love.

For the graduates in our life, we look forward to seeing you pursue your dreams and build a future.  We love you.


One of our favorite 2013 grads and our boys who love him


Walking on a Moving Sidewalk

People watching is a sport. Trying to not be mean while people watching is a challenge. But in airports, most people have the same end goal and it’s interesting to see how different ones approach it.

Some people walk at their own pace never using the moving sidewalks.

Some people get on the moving sidewalks and stand.

Some people get on the moving sidewalk and keep walking.

I was thinking about those three groups as I walked the moving sidewalk. I wasn’t in a hurry to get to a gate, just can’t imagine not getting where I’m going the quickest way possible.

It seems a lot like how we approach life. Some of us go about it our own way, wanting no help, relying on ourselves and only calling out to God when broken. Some like to ask God to take us where we want to go, getting on the path then waiting. And then there’s those who ask for his help and start moving on their own as well.

I thought for a few moments, that walking down the moving sidewalk, or combining action with prayer, was the way to go. I was thinking about how I try to always do that, though often I’m walking before the praying. See, I was getting there faster than the people walking beside or standing on the moving sidewalk. I was doing pretty good.

But then, a cart zoomed by me with passengers who had asked for help and taken a ride. They weren’t in control of the cart, but knew they’d get where they needed to go. Maybe that’s how we really should be with God. Not driving ourselves, but asking for help and relying on him completely.

I prefer the moving sidewalk, but I’m thinking more about that cart…

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All these people going somewhere…

I’m headed to Houston, and somehow ended up with two stops to get there. Jacksonville to Charlotte, Charlotte to New Orleans and New Orleans to Houston. Not exactly a direct path.

But I’m here with an army of Monday morning commuters, all scrambling to get somewhere… a client visit, a sales prospect, a training or some other ‘gotta get there’ locale.

I don’t know where I’m headed. I mean, I know where I’m going today. But airports always spark a reminder for me that there are so many yet to be explored places. I see city names and think of what potential might be there, what lies ahead for the people at that gate. And I face the reality that I’m not really headed where I want to be.

I enjoy my job, and love the challenges that come daily. I’m fortunate to have that and I know it.

But yet… I literally fantasize about doing something that truly reaches people. I dream of finding a way to share my story and share hope. Not hope that things will always turn out okay. But real hope, that we are not alone through anything, that God loves us and has a plan for us. That he can use us through the bad we’ve done or experienced.

Today I’m heading to Houston. But I’m continuing to take one small step at a time to that place I really want to be. And maybe one day I’ll be getting on a plane to speak to groups about this message. In the meantime, where I’m at isn’t so bad.

Maybe like my indirect route to Houston, I’m just taking a bit longer to get there.

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Flying Away

I’m on an airplane, headed to a work event and a quick visit with family in a city I’ve never been to. Four days away, missing my family but eating good food, sleeping all night in a nice hotel, and visiting family I rarely see. The nicest thing about traveling, either for work or for fun, is the escape. For a few days I have a reason to not check my blackberry incessantly, have a good excuse to not do things I wouldn’t have had time for anyhow, and have a few hours where there is really nothing productive I can do. I’d much prefer my travels to be with my family, but since the trip is a must I’ll still take the good that comes with it.

We all need an escape sometimes, a chance to break out of our normal daily routines and experience something different. That may be a chance to relax, or it may just be a different place with new sights to see. My travels don’t take me very far, but it’s nice to daydream about flying off to distant lands where escape is very real. Sometimes I think I’d love to escape to one of those lands, just me and my guys, and never return.

I don’t know what type of escape Austin was truly looking for, though I believe it was a permanent escape from this life he sought. I believe he saw it as his only escape from pain. Maybe if he’d had insurance and could have found relief from the physical pain, he could have dealt with the emotional better. Maybe if he could have just found his own escape he could have gotten through another day and then another. He did escape and ‘fly away’, that much we do know. He either flew into God’s arms or flew from his life into another.

The thing is, Austin couldn’t see past his pain that the best part of flying away is that one day soon you’ll be flying home. I’ve barely left, yet I’m already looking forward to coming home to hugs and kisses and the comfort of home. Maybe one day he will too.

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