The Only Way Out is Down

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if it was more like Minecraft. I wake up alone in the middle of a foreign, undeveloped terrain full of wild animals and scary beasts. My only tools are my fists. I’ve got 12 hours until sunset.

Sometimes I fantasize about escaping through tunnels. When I was young I wanted to build a secret tunnel outside my brother’s basement closet wall. I never did, but I wanted to. I still think about digging a hole in my basement floor.

Maybe that’s because I’m an introvert. At least I am some of the time. I know this because I get energy when I’m alone. But when I’m alone, all I want to do is find things to share with other people. So maybe I’m an extrovert. Who knows.

The only times I’ve been alone in real life is when I chose to run away. People naturally group together. We are naturally social. It gets harder to make friends as an adult. You have to be more intentional about it, but it’s still possible.

In elementary I had a wooden fort in my backyard I made from recycled fence material. In middle school I built forts out of osage orange trees and old telephone poles. When I got one fort done, I’d start another. I do the same in Minecraft.

I go out exploring until I find a good spot to built an outpost. I then spend a few days to a few weeks setting up a small outpost. Sometimes people come behind me and the outpost grows into a town, but by then I’ve moved on.

I’m a developer. I develop new procedures, new roads, new towns, new ideas, and new products. I help get things started and then I move on. I’m a maker, a doer. Less talking, more action. But enough about me. Let’s move on.


Between a Rock and a Hard Place

If you’ve ever found yourself in a sticky situation where both choices are hard, I can relate.

This can happen both with emotional choices, financial choices, but also with physical objects.

I once worked for a furniture store. One day while delivering a couch I found my head stuck between the bottom of the couch and the top of a stair. I thought, “This would make a good story someday.”

Once when I was working as a maintenance man at a summer camp I found myself with my head between the toilet and the floor. I thought to myself, “I’ve got to tell my friends about this when I get back.”

I have lots of stories to tell because I’ve been in a lot of weird places and had to make a lot of hard choices.

Do I wish I could have an easy life? Yes. Does an easy life help you grow? Maybe not.

I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, which tells stories about people who have grown up or encountered hard conditions that have helped them in life.

One question Gladwell asks is, ‘Would you want your child to grow up with this hardship if you knew it makes them better off?’ He knows the answer is “no”, but the book is about how good can come from bad.

I have seen this in my own life, which hasn’t been all that hard, but I have had some hard times. It is through difficulty that we learn and grow and change. And it makes the good times all the sweeter.

Lean on Me

It was an unusually warm December night in 1998. It was our first semester at Kentucky Christian College and a couple friends from high school had come to visit.

Life's  Journey at KCU

After dinner, in the pitch of darkness, we all piled into my white, 1984 Caprice Classic, and drove out to Grayson Lake, which was a place we went to hang out often.

As we drove through Grayson, Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” came on the radio (we didn’t have Spotify back then) and immediately everyone began to sing along.

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

It was one of those serendipitous moments you knew that was special, but you couldn’t hold onto. I tried as hard as I could to enjoy it while it lasted, knowing it would be over soon.

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

One of the girls leaned her head on my shoulder as she sang. I would later lose touch with her within a year despite connecting on Facebook and regularly seeing her brother.

Please swallow your pride
If I have faith you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show

I didn’t have a camera in my pocket, but I did have a VHS camcorder. We didn’t have YouTube then, but I later copied the tapes to DVD. I was a YouTuber before it was cool.

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Sometimes friends we have are only with us for a time, like seasons. Despite being connected on Facebook, people can still drift out of our lives. It’s up to us to make new friends.