I'm 44 years old.
I've spent this first half of my life collecting.
Collecting things like:
The wife and kid part are perfect. I will tell anyone that asks: I won the lottery with Rocky. I could not ask for a better nuclear family. I often walk into our house and feel like I'm stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting.
But I have a choice about all the other things on that list.
They all could be better.
And I'm sure I could add to that list.
The funny thing about those things are that they are literally containers. They are just containers.
You put things in them. This isn't even a metaphor. You actually put people and things in these things.
So, the question is: As I enter into the second half of my life, do I want to continue building containers?
It's certainly compelling.
And when you are in the middle of all your containers you can easily see how getting more and better containers makes sense.
But imagine this:
Imagine you are about to be born onto Earth into a family. The person who coordinates that process is making small talk with you waiting for your soon-to-be mom's uterus to be ready to pop you out. This baby air traffic controller casually says to you: "So, what do you want to do once you get down there?"
You shout with excitement! "I want to make boxes!"
That seems like an unlikely answer you would have.
Some more possible answers could be:
But that's not what we do. Most of us spend our lives trying to be comfortable and safe. We make a few little boxes and then curl up and hide in them until the day we die.
I find it hard to believe that's what our spiritual selves ever wanted. Or even what God wanted.
Whatever God you can imagine, I can't believe that being would say to you, "Well, you're the first creature on planet earth to think and have consciousness. If I were you I think I'd strive to be safe and secure, don't do too much to rock the boat and try to stretch out that existence for as long as you possibly can."
Would any creator ever say that?
They always tell you fantastical things:
We smile knowing that will never happen. They'll just end up like us, if all goes well: Comfortable and safe in a little box.
But what if it's the kids that still remember that conversation they had with the baby air traffic controller before they started their journey on earth?
What if that's the truth?
I got an amazing email this morning. Here's what it said:
Thank you for posting the information about Project Rise. My family recently learned about this organization through your Facebook post. This past weekend my son, Aidan, celebrated his 12th birthday and collected over $200 in gift cards to various stores to donate to Project Rise. We just wanted to say thank you for your passion for the children of Akron and their families and this great cause.
Our political leaders and business leaders are not true leaders. They are self serving and vindictive.
If we continue to look to our politicians and our business leaders for hope, direction and inspiration we will all just die safely and comfortably in our little box. And truthfully, that's what they all want. Mindless cows just doing what they tell us to do. We are much easier to control that way.
Aidan is the leader we need to follow.
He remembers why we were put on this planet. We wanted to be something. REMEMBER???
At 44 years old I'm getting a glimpse of a flashback I had with that baby air traffic controller. I wanted be a small, but powerful force for good in my little city. That's all. And that's enough.
Thank you Aidan for helping me live that dream. Your actions make my heart swell with pride and honor. I'll keep working and I hope you do too.
I love you.