Oh, how far we have come. This was originally published as Opportunities on 15 September 2010. a year and a half or so later, I am still letting my heart lead me a lot. That meant a lot of heart driven trips last year, because they seemed right in my heart and not necessarily the pocketbook. Yet, I do not reject those expenses, or the memories they made. Sit back and read about a pretty cool August 2010!
Lately I have done some really cool stuff. For example in the last five Saturdays:
-I shot a gun
-Watched a race car fall apart from the pits
-Worked security for a fashion show
-Spent the night on the floor of an assisted living center
-And sat in the backyard of an unknown local pastor listening to one of the most popular Christian writers and bloggers.
As I was driving home tonight I realized for the first time in a very long time I am letting my heart instead of mind lead me.
One of my very few unreached goals before I turned 30 was to fire a gun. I was that Alaskan that really was a city boy and didn’t know how to fire a shotgun or handgun. Now I have fired four types of handguns! About a month ago I went with my friend (and boss) to a firing range and can now describe the concussion and power of a 9 mm versus a .44 Magnum. Not that I am anymore likely to purchase one and have it lying around my dwelling. There is a back story there that involves inner city Chicago and childhood as well as talking with a lot of homeless and street dwellers who had them used against them.
The following weekend I went to the dirt track in Santa Maria, California because I wanted to hang with my uncle and had never been. Why at 31 years old I am still determining what I do with the phrase “well I haven’t done that yet”? It was like being a little kid getting to sit in his buddy’s car and then watch the rear axle snap a few minutes later as it dug into a turn- wait, those were really not related. Plus the speed that the little 4 cylinders got going around the ¾ mile track as they almost slid into the wall was a lot of fun to be near.
At the beginning of the month I was at a church home community camping trip and noticed one of the major topics was a fashion show to benefit a ministry many were involved in. I wasn’t too interested in going but loved the cause and so thought about writing a piece of poetry. Somehow my desire to write turned into volunteering and becoming a bouncer. I do not picture myself as good security. Seems like my non violence pledge might one day be called into question Plus I am really nice guy. But apparently those Meeks genes have given me the body type to intimidate. So I not only attended a fashion show 3 weeks ago but was the bouncer at the back gate!
One of my favorite people (and maybe the funniest) in the world lives in Anchorage and refuses to move to Portland. Bi-monthly phone conversations kind of work but the in-person talks are much better. When we talk I always remind her that she has a sister living here and needs to come visit, mostly because I need a good laugh. Somehow these hints worked, maybe because the airlines had cheap tickets here during Labor Day weekend. Literally while I was listening to cars slide by in Santa Maria she changed the plans from a weekend in Portland to include a drive to Spokane. To visit her Grandma. Since it had been nearly 10 years since I was there, I dug it. And I never met her spitfire of a grandmother. It was a great drive and restful time, but the most weird, awkward and funny aspect was we spent the weekend in her grandmother’s little independent living cottage on the grounds of the assisted living center of her husband, my friend’s step-grandfather. I must say that floor was the most solid thing I have ever slept on and a sleeping bag and folded blanket did not even stop my back from cramping multiple times each night.
Since moving to Portland I have started accepting invites and nudging my way, if needed, into events with writers. It seems like a logical thing to do, since I want to have most of them write the forward of my first book. A local church—one that I do not attend— invited one of my favorite bloggers and writers to town. She is probably one of the most real and honest people writing today, so I was ecstatic to see they were not only having her speak at their church but hosting an informal backyard event for her book reading. I rsvp’d even though I didn’t know anyone. Sent the pastor whose house it was a facebook message and showed up. Everyone was super friendly and welcoming and I got to discuss a book I started reading the night before— just like High school English all over again.
Now this was a minor explanation of my life and a subtle reason—besides the fear I felt when I had 100 people read my post a few months back— for why I haven’t written in a while. But why I was thinking about all this is because of opportunities and what most of us do with them.
I was driving across town to the house of a friend who is possibly the smartest, most knowledge driven man I have ever known. He is co-leading a group called Jesus Dojo which is as radical as it sounds. And I just started smiling because for once, my fear of rejection was rebuked. I met Tony at a conference he was speaking at last fall. I dug what he was sharing about and simply asked to have a cup of coffee. We met a couple weeks later and he, in our first meeting, challenged the very core of my understanding on 4-5 issues. It was awesome. And hard, like really hard, like setting aside a couple hours in a coffee shop later that week to process what I was just challenged to do hard.
Now, less than a year later that opportunity of a coffee meeting turns into me starting to learn how to live life with him.
In all these opportunities, I have realized all you have to do is ask. Or accept. I asked to shoot guns and was allowed to (after exchanging proper fees and IDs), was asked to go to the racetrack. Was asked to bounce models. To lead a ministry. I asked to have coffee a year ago and now meet with his friends in his house. I did not shy away and process what would happen before it happened. I simply let my heart lead my head this summer more than ever before. And now as the rains come for another season, as the patio is broken down again…I am ready to accept more opportunities and challenges. I am ready to be stretched and trusted.
And I am ready for more books and cups of coffee with new friends.