Twenty five years ago, a group of friends gathered with me at Plush Pippin in Beaverton. A pie shop seemed a fitting place to celebrate my 25th birthday.
Please don't do the math.
Life really was not going my way at the time. College was a couple years behind me. I worked six months as an assistant editor with World Christian magazine. Due to a lack of funds, both my own and the magazine's, I had to quit and move home.
No job, no girlfriend...I had a lot of reasons to be bummed, but I wasn't. I had faith in God and I had my friends.
That night at the pie shop I asked my friends to give my their definition of "reality". Why? The most honest answer is...I don't know. Maybe I was looking at life, where I had been, where I was, where I was going. I have always lived within the narrative that runs in my head. Maybe I felt the need to be pulled out of that narrative for a moment.
Troy S. had the best answer...okay, it's the only one I remember. "Reality is when what you think you know equals what you know."
In the months that followed, I began volunteering for the Department of Human Services in Hillsboro, working on a Lotus 123 spreadsheet to track volunteer hours. Also, I met up with Jodie, a classmate from where I spent my early elementary school days. We attended Holladay Center in Portland, a school for the disabled. We had both been mainstreamed in separate directions. When I saw her leading a support group for the disabled at New Hope Community Church, it was our first reunion in 16 years.
A year after my "reality" birthday party. I was working as an office specialist with the Children's Services Division, and I was engaged to be married.
Twenty four years later...again, no math please...I look at where the lines of my life have fallen. I can say that I have been truly blessed.
Jodie and I have been married 23 years. We are both working for DHS Child Welfare. Eric, our miracle child, was born 18 years ago. That is a book that we have yet to write!
The "reality" question is still a good one. I still get caught listening to the narrative that runs inside my head. I have not done enough in my life, I haven't gone far enough in my career, I have not written that book yet, am I a good husband...am I a good day...all this stuff goes through my head as I reach that more mature age.
I'm convinced that some of us never quite grow up, and that I am one of those.
There has to be a new question for this stage of life. Just what Is that question?
Hmm...let me think...
Something simple that will not burden me. Something profound that will allow me to soar.
What is one thing that I can do today to make life better for someone else?
Yeah...I like that.