On Sunday, May 18, it was our deep privilege to be at graduation ceremonies at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ for one of three brothers for whom we have deep love and care, including their parents, as extra close friends. On all the graduates robes was the year 1766, the year Rutgers was founded, 10 years before the US was formed.
All our states have their histories. Amazing stories abound. So does some pretty gory stuff, on the way to statehood and nationhood. Back in the east it seems like every nook and cranny has it's stories, some true, some apocryphal.
In some ways, with the passing of Maya Angelou today, it makes reading about Harriet all the more meaningful. Maya's influence and grace could be said to be in part because Harriet's fire for freedom paved the way. My olde heart is full of thanks for both women, in their own ways, paving a future that you and I can live in and live into.
From about 4-7am this morning I had the strangest, and most encouraging phenomenen happen within my dreams. I literally looked at the clock five times before finally hauling out of bed to ponder what was taking place. This predicated on the fact that I rarely remember my dreams so vividly.......
The dreams were extraordinarily well connected. Nothing was over-goofey or odd. What was amazing (maybe this is what was odd...) is that an amazing number of people from my past, and my current life figured into the dreams. All were attending a significant gathering where the Leadership Design Group's Circle of Life Mentoring Model was being presented by the creative members of our developing team.
Many attending were good friends from over the years. It was a welcome reunion. Others were people who do not/did not like me, for whatever their reasons. Some, in the past have strung out some painful stories about me and our work that were simply not true. It was very good, sincerely, to see them and welcome them to the unfolding event.
One startling moment in one section of the dreams was seeing one of my closest friends from grad school in attendance. What was that about?!! He was very much alive, and we were having a serioiusly engaged conversation about how important it is to know and live into who we truly are...a conversation that we really did begin in the middle of the night on a golf course in the fall of 1975...who are we, who were designed to be. It was if he was here. Now.
The startling rememberance was that Judy and I were with his wife the night he died, on January 30, 1980, due to a very unusual brain tumor that took him out. We, together, watched his heart monitor slow down to no heart beats.......as he slipped through the thin veil into eternity. I woke up with tears flowing. They flow now, without apology, as I type this.
Most of us are consumed with what we do and who is noticing any and/or all of that. But that is the incorrect who to be paying attention to...........at least at first.
Most of our lives, especially with the influence of our western culture, is marked by what we do. Accomplishment, though of value, seems to be one of the main measures of our OKness. What we do. What we've done. What we plan to do.
However, there is something vastly more important than "what."
Our developing whole-life mentoring model explores that in 8 dimensions. Those dimensions apply, whether one is a child, or an older, as my wife and I are getting to be. Exploring and discovering the who of you is the first step, the essential step, to being a whole person. One fully alive. Living into and beyond your very own future. Understanding how to make the life-giving most of the possibilities that are uniquely yours.
My five connected dreams were full of that.
Who are you?
Who do you long and hope to be?
Who do you want to be known as, known by, when you, too, slip through the thin veil into eternity.
Known for what is almost too easy. Though many do not have an easy road in life.
There are plus and minus moments in all our lives. Some happend to us. Some we did to ourselves or to others. What can have exceptionally important hopes and dreams attached to them...that will impact the world...or at least our worlds.
What we do or don't do counts. Encourages or diminishes. What is not to be ignored.
But, on this day, this weekend, this year, this century of which you are a part, who you are and are becoming matters wAy more than what.
These were my dreams this morning. Guiding others into knowing who they are, for however long they may be alive. The dreams were some of the finest I can ever remember having...........then...
...when first checking my inbox this morning, this was waiting for me from one of our favorite authors, and thanks to Red Letters Wake Up. It was as if the dreams of this early morning really are coming true and being affirmed. And they are, as our mentoring work is in significant growth mode.
But.......the question remains, for you, for me, for all we know and will know in our futures, for all those whom we will have the sacred privilege of caring for and influencing in our lifetimes:
One of the important reasons for coming east (thanks-filled we were even able to be here!) was to celebrate the graduation last Sunday from Rutgers University of our godson, Charlie York. His Mom, Angie, is on the left, and his Dad, Len Crane, is on the right. Obviously, the honored grad is in the middle.
The grad's younger brother, Josh, on the left, and the older brother, Russ, in the middle, made for a great delight-filled "brother hug" during the festivities. All three of these men count us as godparents. That is humbling and heartwarming. We've known them since they were 1, 3 and 5. What deep joy to encourage them forward in their individual, growing forward lives.
Of Charlie, we could not be more proud. There is much to share in conversation about his determination to tackle college in four years. He shines in how he's overcome some obstacles that have not deterred his brilliance in achieving his degree in Political Science.
Angie's Mom and Dad, Churck and Norma Frank, from Salina, KS added greatly to the week. In their later 80's, they were troopers in all that took place. The Beddlington Terriers (Len holding Lucy, and Elway at Angie's feet) celebrated with us. :-)
We got some stellar personal time with each one of these good men on the grow. Who knew we would be a godfather and a godmother to three such exceptional souls. We love this whole family, to the max!
Three days ago, Russ honored the time together by being brave enough to get up with me to watch the sunrise out of the Atlantic. That moment between us was one we will treasure always.
On a small lake, not far from where we were staying, Josh and I discovered some swans. One parent was swimming with four babies. The other was staying firm on a nest on a small island. But two days later, checking in on them, four more had hatched. Life does go on...
And for this life, this wife, I could not be more thankful. She is the love of my life. Beautiful, to the max. Thankful, beyond words, for every day we have together. This has been an important trip for us in a wide variety of ways. The setting sun, while having rich conversation with friends on the front porch of the home they rented for the week, fairly yelled at me to take this picture.
We are here for the week with extra special friends celebrating the university graduation of their middle son. For him, and and his brothers, we've the deep and sacred honor of being their godparents. We are celebrating well with these dear friends.
This is Springsteen country...to the max. The towns around here have all been sung about in one way or another. The legend lives on.
Our friends rented a house for their visiting family and friends for the week. Five blocks from the Atlantic. Quiet streets, and a l o n g boardwalk to use beachside have been walked and walked. So good for us all!
One item of recent historic news here is that recovery from Hurricane Sandy still continues. A lot of places look new...because new is what they are in major remodeling after the devastation.
We are in Belman, NJ. Quaint ,beautiful place. One more full day to rest, relax, take long walks, be with friends, as it all comes to a conclusion on Saturday.
The infamous street marker above, the The Man's guitar (replica, obviously...I've not shrunk), is just two lots to the east from where we are staying on the grounds of the town library.
The gig you see staking place here here stopped traffic in all directions. Totally amazing!
Or was it the stop signs?
These friends are easily some of our best. The continuing friendship is rampant with stories of grace within our years of knowing each other. Extra blessed for the hours we are getting to spend together...........
It's way early here in raining and cold Parker, CO. Several inches of snow are expected later today. But it's warm here in the home we are most blessed to occupy.
The Mom at this address is still snoozing in, as planned. One of our good neighbors just brought over a beautiful bouquet from our daughter for her mother, whom we all know as, Judy, one caring, remarkable and deep-hearted woman.
We were out yesterday when the bouquet was first delivered. Some of the better neighbors who were home kept this gift of love safe and sound. Now it sits by Judy's chair in our family room for her to see first when she awakens.
Many know the wild and wonderful story of our daughter coming to us through the miracle of private adoption. Shannon was just a couple of weeks old on Judy's first Mother's Day. Of course, she was the most beautiful child to ever show up.
Of course yours were as well. :-)
Of course some have the whole 9 months to get ready. We had five weeks. Yikes. Thus, when this YouTube showed up this week, my mind went back to our experience. We even relived some of our story which took place with us via the adoptions of two sons with one of the pastor's and his wife of the church we attend. Birth is a miracle, no matter where, when, how.
This week the story that follows broke here in our Denver area. This young pastoral couple has started another church here in the Parker area in the past two years. What you will take in was a YouTube video meant for just a few close members of their family and other friends.
When I looked at it this morning, in just a few days it had gone viral, across the world and all the big network news shows this past week. I'm sure this couple didn't expect that. When I viewed it this morning, it had 1,635,410 views.
So Mom...and a few Dads...and some of the rest of you, here's to add to the joy of this day for you: watch this As mentioned, this couple leads a church just a couple of miles from where we live.
What delight! Good news, if all goes as hoped for, a child will be born in November. That sincerely precious sister and brother are going to have a hard time containing themselves. lol Good news, who knows how many kids in our whole world have been born in the time it took me to get this to you.
Our own hearts are full of deep thanks for our own daughter. But you and I also know (not to be a downer here...) some parents are grieving deeply over circumstances with their own kids. Some have lost daughters and sons in a variety of ways. I pray for those Mom's (and Dad's...) with their hurting hearts.
As happened to us during our nine year wait from marriage to holding our daughter at birth (...yup, a sacred story there.......), I also pray for those beautiful women and good men who are longing for a child, but living in the "not yet." This is life.......living in the tension between joy and sorrow.
But the One Who loves us most, the Creator of the universe and each one of us, is with us, with you, with those we know and love...........no matter what. That we know full well from here.
So, Mom.......Happy Mother's Day 2014!!!
Know we thank our God for you. Know you are loved.
May peace and joy be yours in all the ways only our God knows you need for this day.......and all your days.
....from a grateful husband's/father's heart,
for the Mom you are, Judy, indeed!!!
and all the rest of you sincerely amazing Mom's!!!!!!!!
Our Leadership Design Group Board of Directors surprised and blessed us with a 2014 Christmas trip that we three know was the best Christmas we've ever had as a family. Humbled and blessed to the max!!!
This was taken on our daughter's first evening with us. What joy to have had a week of spectacular sunsets to burn the memories into our souls of those days. This man is blessed beyond words by these two truly remarkable women.
(...........and the rain is just now turning to snow...........)
Over these recent weeks of some glory-filled moments, and some moments with a harder edge to them (such is the spread of life for most of us...), I've experieced the most odd phenomenon. Like, really?!!!? What's going on? Seriously...........
I even took a picture the last time this happened. In part, for me to say to myself, "There it is. You're not overly nuts. You did see this. You touched it. It disappeared. It returned, somehow. Three times."
Like mentioned in some previous posts, some recent days have added glory. Some days have been grueling. Reasons are becoming more fully understood, except for the white feathers that have shown up on my desk or other parts of my office. Three times.
What? A white feather? Seriously.
I am one of those humans who does believe in angels. But I'm not sure that they necessarily have white feathered wings, or whatever.
Maybe. Maybe not.
I am one of those men who does believe in the supernatural. I even believe that God works in ways way, wAy, WaY beyond our understanding, in ways hidden and unhidden.
Carl Jung (1875-1961) had this carved in Latin into a beam over the front door of his home in Zurich:
"Bidden or not bidden, God is present"
Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit
He did this to remind those entering that "The awe of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. Psalm 111:10" This is also carved on his tombstone, as reported from a plaque we have hanging in our family room which is made by the Wild Goose Studio of Kinsdale, Co.Cork, Ireland.
OK. I agree with Jung. But what is a little odd or mysterious is that the feather is gone again. Has been for awhile.
Last time I took a picture. Why? To memoralize the moments, up in the quiet and early morning pondering times in my home office, when I was close to wondering where in the world God was.
You're right. Way mysterious. Things like this rarely happen to me. But, for now I'm taking it as a holy sign of comfort and care and blessing. Just when I needed it most.
Strange? Yup. True? Definitely. Grateful? To the max.
Though I only had one inperson conversation with this wise soul, I've still cherished the long dinner conversation we had in San Diego several years ago, quite unexpectedly. He has since slipped through the "thin veil," but his wisdom guides many of us forward in our lives as his books will live on and on and on across the generations to come.
As you may, or may not, have noticed, a previous post by me on my FaceBook account has been deleted. Being vague in that post, fueled in part by my concerns for health issues with my wife, Judy, was not good. It has left assumptions and questions that are understandable.
I sincerely apologize for that.
There are a variety of reasons for any of us to pay attention to blood pressure numbers, no matter what has happened in one’s life, or may be happening. 10 days ago Judy’s blood pressure became abnormally high.
I was out of town at a conference. She was home alone. We were to have met up last weekend in Texas to celebrate our remarkable daughter’s birthday. Judy was not able to fly and join me. Gratefully, after some medical attention, she was taken care of by a special friend, and then a neighbor, until I could finally get home last Sunday.
Several doctor appointments and some change of meds later, this current issue has not been resolved yet to satisfactory levels. However, the last check of yesterday had it lower, for which we were immensely grateful. Our prayer is that it will remain more consistently in the normal range.
I love this precious woman beyond finding enough words to say so. Some times I love her so inadequately as to add pressure on her.
Moving in the direction of loving her well now is to not be vague with anyone, as I tend to be when not knowing where to go with my own feelings, thoughts and wondering about what’s next. This olde man can be all too human some times.
Reading some of Brené Brown’s work (The Gift of Imperfection and Daring Greatly...which anyone reading this I would encourage to read these tomes), I’ve come to realize, again, that vulnerability is hard at times for me. As a man, husband, father, friend, mentor, I, too, long to be trusted.......and yet, some times it’s hard for me to trust others with some of the events in my own life.
This past week has swung, for me, between tear-filled/fear-filled and calm/confident/caring. Spending time with our counselor yesterday (thankfully, four more hours scheduled for this next week), it was good to step into both the fear and the care of these recent days.
I’ve purposefully canceled almost all of my appointments for the week to come. There is the need to take the time to explore, discover and get settled in my own soul what this event has stirred up. We both are needing rest of soul, mind and body.
Thank you, at depth, for care, prayers and concern. Continuing communication will be coming, just not certain as to when, as I take some welcome and needed time for reflection and personal growth.