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People, Stories, and a New Found Respect

I’ve been learning about a couple of different things over the last couple of days. These days that have been beautiful: no stress except babies crying, naps in the middle of the day, old friends, and the comfort of family.
I went to Grand Rapids yesterday (expect a great pic of me and my good buddy Mark real soon). It was great and also revealing. The worst part of the trip was the time that I spend walking around Calvin (that’s where I did my undergrad for those of you unfamiliar with the fine institution). Most of it was exactly how I remember it, and I felt at home, but that warm fuzzy feeling ended pretty quickly. After about 15 minutes of walking around and recalling different memories of the different places, I was indifferent about being there, and I realized it was because I was alone. I didn’t recognize anyone there, and no one knew me. I even walked by Coop’s office, and he wasn’t there. I didn’t have anyone to share my memories with, and I realized the age-old truth that it’s not the place but the people that is so important. If the walls of all the buildings could talk, they would have so many memories to share. But they can’t. I realized that although Calvin will always be a home to me, it was truly mine for a little while, and now I have to move on. The people I shared my time with there, however, will always be mine. The relationships that I built there can continue forever (and should as long as I make the slightest of effort).
The day got exponentially better when I was able to spend time with three friends: Rachel, Mel, and Mark. These are three very different friends and relationships, and three friendships which I cherish in their own unique way. Thank you Rach, Mel, and Mark for taking time out of your schedules just to hang. Rach, it always good to catch up with someone that I have known for so long. Even though the times we talk are few and far between, you will always be a good friend. Mel, thank you for understanding how *very, very* important it was to get back in touch with me. Dinner was great, but the conversation was better. I will follow up with you on bringing you down to Orlando to work at Orangewood. I’m praying that God will show you that is where he wants you! 😉 And Mark. What can I say? Our no nonsense, don’t even think about beating around the bush conversations are amazing. You challenge me. I see so much of the Lord in you. I would drive a lot farther than two and a half hours just to be able to chat with you over a cup of coffee. Enjoy the book. I know that you will love it.
Speaking of how important people are, I just gained a great deal of respect tonight (despite the goofy picture of him with my nephew Wyatt at the beginning of this post) for someone that I thought I knew pretty well. I have a whole new perspective on the person I call my dad because of the conversation that we had tonight over coffee. You always hear about people who have been in the military always sharing their “war stories.” To be honest, I have never heard many of my father’s stories. Tonight I had the privilege of hearing a few of them. My father, gripping a cup of coffee and propping his feet on the table, recounted fond memories with that reminiscent, far-off look in his eye that only comes from memorable moments dancing around in one’s mind. Little did I know that my father won marksmanship awards or met General Patton (the Third, not “Blood n Guts” himself, but his son) or guarded a compound that might have contained nuclear weapons (don’t tell anyone though…that information is classified). I also got to hear the full story of what it was like to find out hours before he was supposed to be shipped of to ‘Nam only to find out at the last minute that the orders had changed (I am so thankful of that!). Needless to say, I have a newfound respect for the man I call my father. Not that I didn’t have respect for him before, because I hold my father in very high regard. But I felt like a new door was opened and I got to see a little bit more of who he is. So much of whom people are is shaped by what they have done in the past. I feel closer to him. I feel like I understand him that much more now. It’s beautiful, and I love it.


2 Responses

  1. I LOVE that picture of your dad and Wyatt. That made my day.

    I feel what you’re saying Mikey. I haven’t really been back to Calvin, but if I did, I know I’d have the same indifference inside as I walked around. That’s such a weird feeling because it raises an appreciation for those people, and yet none of them are next to you at the moment. Its like something so personal has been reduced to buildings and strangers. Sorry, I’m going off here. Anyway, I appreciate your writing, both style and content.

  2. I love the pictures Mike! It looks like barns and noble? well, hey, hope you are doing well and hope your travels home were rather uneventful after thanksgiving. Hey, just a question, have you talked to your church more about an internship or job at your church? If there is someone I could contact about that after you introduced it to them, let me know. I am looking into quite a few options and want to see how things were going in Florida. Hey, and if you get a chance to let me know the title of that book that you recomended to me that would be great. Thanks friend! Hope you are doing well and hope to hear from you soon.
    grace and peace.

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