I’m gonna take a risk here. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing I’m not entirely unique in what I’m about to share. I’m going to do my best to let you inside my skull and get an idea of how my brain and thought life works.
I find myself most of the time thinking about you. Not just you, but people. Specific people, but really all people I know or have ever met. You do that too? Good. I don’t feel like such a weirdo, then. What a relief.
I’ll say right off the bat that a woman named Merritt occupies my thoughts the most. In fact, when I’m thinking about you, an event, an idea, a problem, or a joy I am also entertaining a thought about Merritt. Its just how it is. I’m captivated by her. What a woman I’ve found.
But I spend so much time thinking about people. And I can honestly say if we’ve ever met, I think about you. Not in a creepy way, but in different ways depending on that individual.
I think about the people I went to elementary school with. Every time I hear Van Halen’s “Jump” on the radio (arguably one the best songs you can hear on the radio), I think about Eric Slobodjian in my 6th grade class who one day played that song on the music room piano. And not just played it….he PLAYED it. ROCKED it. OWNED it.
I think about Mr. Deane, my favorite teacher. His creativity, his love of teaching, his love for learning, and his love for children; especially those who had the honor to be in his class.
I think about Todd Bienke (even wrote an entire blog post about him here), Alison Miller, Ricky Morse, and my best buddies Ben and Dave to name just a very few. I spend a lot of mental time in memories. Not too much, I’d say. But a lot. Enough.
I think about people so much because I care deeply for you. I know, I know, I know. You got tons of people that care about you. But I just want to confess that I’m one of them. I think about that middle schooler who just–for whatever reason–hates the idea of God. I think about that gangly high school student who–for whatever reason–can’t seem to get an onramp onto the social scene. I think about the beautiful young lady who sees herself as unlovely and unlovable. And I don’t think these thoughts generically, I’m typing about the people I know and love and am thinking about.
I drive and look at the cars around me and I think about who these people are and where they’re going and what they’re thinking. Is that crazy?
I think about people who have–for whatever reason–left the church I serve at. I think about the people right now who are around me in this coffee shop. I wonder what perspectives they have that I could learn from. I wonder what they find important. I wonder about their story just below their skin.
I think about those I’ve served with in the past. I think about my first intern, Wade. Did he stick with student ministry? Or in those first 2 years of fulltime ministry where he saw my first summer as a full time youth pastor, did he turn tail and run for a completely different direction in life? Or another intern, Chris Coakley. A youth pastor, husband, father, and now founder and director of “Grain of Hope“, an incredible organization that’s feeding hungry children and so much more. I can’t believe he started off shadowing me in ministry, and where he is now and what he’s doing. I think about Tony Raker, the guy who picked me up from the train station in 1995, when I first arrived to interview for my first ministry position. I think he worked in the news industry and was somehow connected to the White House, so he was instantly impressive. He’d go on to prove to me that he’s a good friend. I think about Jerry Mounts and Scott Lowdermilk, my very first two volunteer youth leaders. Jerry owned his own refrigeration company and had a heart of solid gold and Scott was a diesel beast of a man who was in the Army Corps of Engineers. The definition of cool. I remember one time he pulled up to a youth event at a local park on a Ducati. In my youthful naiveté, I didn’t use either one of those incredible guys and the amazing giftedness they brought to the team.
I think about the people in my future and my family’s future. I think about my daughters’ husbands. If you’re reading this, you might find it interesting that I anticipate that you’re currently loving Jesus and the thing that’s going to make your marriage to my daughter not just work, but blow your mind is that you continue to love Jesus. If you don’t, you can’t possibly love her like you love Him, as the Bible commands you to do. But you already know that. That’s one of the things I like about you, actually. I think about my sons’ wives. If I may be so bold, ladies: You’re in for a treat.
I think future ministry opportunities. I suppose that the ministry I currently serve in could be the last one I ever serve in. I could drop dead doing what I’m currently doing. But if I don’t and there’s some other place God has for me, I think about who I’ll meet and what I’ll face and how I’ll handle it and what I’ll learn through it.
I think about people because I care so deeply about people. I care deeply about you. If we’ve ever met, you return to my thoughts on a regular basis. You can doubt it, but its true.
I think about if anyone is currently at odds with me and I don’t know it. I think about ways I have perhaps set someone off and they’re somewhere right now with that burr in the back of their mind. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t consider myself important enough to be preoccupied by, but I do believe I am a human that has impact. Hopefully good, positive impact. But I’m not an idiot and I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.
As I drove to this coffee shop today, it just struck me take time to write this blog post. I have no idea why and maybe its the worst one I’ve ever done. But maybe for someone out there who is or has been connected to my life–maybe they needed a reminder today that they’re thought of and because they’re thought of, they’re loved. You’re loved.