You precious people. You joined me in celebrating Ted and reading my secret and dancing with me. And I plan on responding to each of you as soon as I have a spare moment for email. It made it even sweeter that you were all in on it with me.
I realize you might be wondering how it all went down. Well…I posted Wednesday night after he attended the MTH Intensive. I just couldn’t hold it in any longer without thinking I’d die. (Yes, I’m far too dramatic. No wonder my daughter is the way she is…) So I posted it and asked him to “proof” it.
He sat down on the couch with me and started reading. He laughed. And then he said, “what? Hold on, what?”
And my heart soared and he was stunned and it was beyond great.
He’s been gone since Monday and I miss him so. And he just shared this email with me recapping his experience because trying to talk through the deep stuff with kids around is INCREDIBLY difficult. And yes, I cried. And thanked God for the idea because in the beginning – I thought of sending MYSELF. This was WAY better.
In an attempt to reconnect with the God who loves me, my mission, call and place in this world, my wife sent me on an adventure to California. Why? Well, other than the fact it is heaven on Earth, there was this conference meeting thing going on.
So I was sent by my wife to go find something…
I arrive at 2days with Rob Bell not really knowing what to expect or hope for. A room full of random pastors and a sprinkling of guys and gals like me. Outside the church context working at good ol fashion J.O.B.s.
You see, recently in my life I hit another wall. A wall where I worked hard for 2 year to accomplish this kicking goal for my life. That would launch me into my calling and get back on track with what God has for me. And before I could head off into this awesome land, we realized it wasn’t possible anymore.
Not in the “But with Jesus all things are possible Teddy boy” way, but in the, we don’t have enough money to do this kind of way.
So I went back to work selling stuff to farmers and that feeling of being stuck. Stuck with gifts and passions that I want to give away and feeling like there is no context to give them.
And a bit mad at God you could say
You see a few years back I quit my ministry job as I needed to heal. I was depressed, struggling with anxiety and panic attacks, I was a horrible father and husband and just needed to re-learn how to breathe. To heal.
For a year or so I just worked on the small stuff. Community. Friendships. Breathing.
And the big one- retelling my story. Understanding better my past so I could be my full self. (Thanks awesome counselor guy).
Re-learning how to be a father and husband. Reconnecting with my wife.
But I had a goal in mind. I wanted to get back together, patch up the family, re-fuel, so I could go and do… something.
I became so focused on becoming someone that I failed to embrace the adventure. To recognize that becoming fully human is what Jesus came and died for.
So I go to this conference meeting thing with a laugh. Who knows what will happen.
I knew I had this burning question in my heart that I could not put into words. For the first 19 hours of the meeting thing I sat thinking of what this question was that I had, how to ask it, and what it meant.
So finally I just asked something.
Rob was helping everyone understand his ninja like abilities to create message that blow people’s minds (my words, not his). And I am sitting here thinking, I doubt I will be giving any message anywhere for who knows how long. So this question finally hits my brain like a rock and I say something like.
“Hi, I don’t know how to ask this question but my name is Ted and I sell stuff to farmers. I don’t know if I will ever have a chance to speak a message anytime soon, I have no microphone. How do people like us join in this, what can we do?”
Cue Rob laughing. And saying, wait wait, you sell stuff to farmers.
This is a fairly common reaction from folks. 99% of the time when I tell someone what I do, they need lots of clarification. I sell fruit vegetable packaging to farmers just doesn’t cut it. So we got to riff about what I do, how I spend my day, about farmers. What they are like. So fun.
The he asked me what I really ‘sell’ to the farmers.
Rob has this ability to ask questions that get down into the depth. He asks these types of questions about life, the bible, church, people, everything. It is his rare gift. He crafts messages out of this insane ability to ask questions.
When I switched over to this job I was really struggling with this dichotomy of my person. I felt like I was acting as three or four different persons depending on the situation and I lost myself. So I told myself no matter what I was doing from now on I was going to fight to be me, whatever that meant. I would bring my fully humanity to my job and life.
So I tell Rob about this and my quest to bring my full self to the farmers. And how I seek to value deeply who they are and what they do.
Then he smiled and said
Something just stirred, almost like God was taking a deep breath and saying, now do you see
Do that. Give value to people.
You see I believe down in my core that God deeply values each and every person. Beyond our capacity to understand. Yet, so much of our world is chaotic and filled with intense struggles of value. Because you are poor or black or a girl or whatever, you are less. In actuality all are so loved and valued that we need to fight for one another to see, taste, touch, and feel this truth that we are valued by God.
For who we are.
For what we bring to the table.
For our gifts, experiences, joys, and hurts.
And that God is always present in all of our lives with an intense deep valuing of our every bit.
Yet most of us feel worthless, stupid, not good enough…
I know I do.
So my new quest in life is to Value (with a capital V) everyone I meet. That they might see, taste, feel and touch what I know.
That the creator of the universe thinks you are pretty awesome.
The create of the universe thinks I rock.
I may never have an audience, microphone, book published, blog read, or whatever.
But I want to ensure that everyone in my life knows how valued they are.
I want my kids to know the depth of their value and that God wants to take them on an endless adventure.
Most of all, I want my amazing wife Amy to understand the depths of my love for her. How much I want to see her succeed and feel awesome.
I realized that I had already spent my life doing that, but I had no words or something to grab on to understand this call for me. So, yup, feeling good now. I don’t know what it will look like for me now. But I have this picture in my head of my phone ringing, my email dinging, with random people. Maybe they have a question they need some help with, a friend, or just someone to shoot the breeze with. I hope it happens. Either way, I am in for a ride and I think it is going to be ok now.