I am reading Mary Pipher’s latest book: Writing To Change The World. Yesterday I wrote about the classic rock song, Stairway To Heaven, which many people say “changed the world.” If you google “change the world” you will find lists of photographs, books, poems, people, slogans, music, and moments (to name just a few) that supposedly “changed the world.” Which sort of begs the question…what DOESN’T change the world?
But that question is a tad too big for me today and other writing beckons (writing I hope will eventually, well, change at least the lives of those it features…in the very best way.)
So instead, I am briefly and without too much introspection going to list a few things that absolutely changed me from within or caused me to take a different road, leaving off regrettably, numerous family & friends lest the list become unwieldy.
- The birth of my sons: Adam Emery & Chase Montana, and numerous events large and small with them.
- The Wolfe family and the life and death of their child, Jason, the youngest to date domino heart transplant recipient.
- My ordination, July 13, 2003 at All Saints Lutheran Church in Hartland, Michigan and the Jahn family who welcomed me into that fold years ago, loved me no matter what, and remain like family to me today.
- Rev. James Patrick Brady, a twin soul with whom I did ministry whose life, paralyzing accident, subsequent suffering and ultimate death at age 57 influenced the pastor and person I am today.
- Columbine, which resulted in my first published work and caused me to forever seek the story behind those on the fringe
- The Winkler family and in particular, Tony Winkler, who served a tour of duty in Iraq while I was his pastor
- The teaching and mentoring by many, but especially Margaret Koltz (piano, voice, and choir); Hank Langknecht (homiletics aka preaching); Clayton Croy (Greek & New Testament); Professors Featherstone and Karanga, and Hahn VandenBlink, spiritual guides if ever there were three; Mike Poole, my friend and creative partner for years; Tracy Lawson, my friend and writing partner today; Mr. Gucciardo, my high school algebra teacher who literally saved my life when I was in a horrible accident; and Rahe Corlis, my therapist who survived an unlikely heart transplant from a 42 year old woman and has assured me repeatedly that ‘crazy’ is many things, but not me.
- The books: Peace Like A River (Leif Enger); The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay); Final Gifts; The Bible; When Bad Things Happen To Good People (Rabbi Kushner); and Preaching Law & Gospel. As well as the movies: One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest; The Cider House Rules; A Beautiful Mind; and Jesus Christ Superstar.
- The music of: The Who in concert, 1976, Pontiac Silverdome, specifically from that show, “Tommy,” Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin; Peter, Paul, & Mary & Bob Dylan; The Lion King and AIDA Broadway musicals; Hank Williams Sr. and Jr.; Marty Haugen and Tim Jahn.
- WordPress, this site, through which this very BLOG, has enabled me to write, receive feedback, and begin to tell my story in a way that is both honest and affirming. Those of you who read my BLOG have changed my life perhaps without knowing it because collectively I hear you say that my voice is worth hearing; and my writing has grown as I start to believe it.
Surely I will publish this and immediately think of too many things I’ve left off. But that isn’t the point really.
The point, to me, is that many things change our individual lives…which changes our collective lives…which ultimately change the world.
Who knew we have been changing the world all along…all of us? Maybe Clapton.