Goodness, I can’t believe how much time I’ve let slip by since my last post. I thought I was only a few days behind, not a week and a half.
First, as resolution to my previous post about our mouse friend, we successfully caught him again with one of my ingenious traps and relocated him a few miles away at the edge of a mountainside, equipping the little guy with one of Teresa’s warmest socks, which was loaded with food. As soon as I opened my makeshift cage, he dived right into the snow. I hope he survives. Most likely he’ll run across the street and find a way into someone else’s house. That’s fine with me.
This last week has been pretty epic. I told at the Weber Storytelling Festival. For one of the events, I was the featured teller with a full twenty-five minute block. In fact, being preceded by some child storytellers and a lowly “regional” storyteller, I was introduced as the “national” storyteller. While I told Teresa that this made me a bona fide national storyteller, she had some weak argument about it not actually being true. For it to be true, she claimed, this fact would have to be in a program. I argued that emcees are higher authorities than programs, because if there’s an error in a program, an emcee can correct it, but programs don’t correct emcees. What higher authority could there be than the MASTER of ceremony? I am a national storyteller.
Teresa, feeling a need for theatre in her life, auditioned for a local production of “Hello Dolly”, and I, wanting to be a supportive husband, joined her. While both of us totally bombed the dancing auditions (and by bombed, think Hiroshima) she was nevertheless cast as a fairly significant part: Ermengarde, and I was cast as her lover Ambrose. This fulfilled all her girlish fancies. Whatever. While I’d rather be putting on my own plays, it’s probably good for me to now and then gain some real world experience.
The hard part about all this was that the auditions fell right into the precious time Teresa and I had to prepare for a puppet show at a library. So, forced to stay up late and wake up early, we threw together a show on behalf of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, featuring two new mini shows: “The Dog in the Hat” and “Purple Zuchini with Mayonnaise”. Somehow we must have pulled off a successful show, because afterwards, to separate mothers came up to me and asked if we did birthday parties. I turned them both down, saying, in my own special way, “You wish you could have us for your kid’s birthday party. We are so beyond that.”
Lastly, today marks my thirtieth successful revolution around the sun. Concerning the philosophical nature of this momentous moment, nothing hit me whatsoever, which is by no means depressing. I feel perfectly fine about the first thirty years of my life, perfectly fine about where I am, and perfectly fine about where I’m going. I’m happy. Really. And that is a wonderful blessing. I’m so thankful for the Gospel in my life, because of which I’ve never had to wonder who I was or what was my quest. And having everything I do, I can’t imagine how I could NOT be happy.
I really am happy. I smile as I lay down at night. I smile as I wake up in the morning. I sing jovial songs as I commute to and from work. I love every moment with my family and friends. I love to immerse myself in creative projects. I love to eat, to cook, to exercise, to love, to laugh, to be entertained, to entertain others, to play, and even to work. There’s just so much to be happy about. My biggest concern in life has nothing to do with my welfare or the welfare of my family but the welfare of others. Am I charitable enough? Do I give enough service? While I’m pulling my car out of my cushy garage, and the woman across the street is laboriously scraping the ice off her windshield, what can I do to make her life better? In our six years of marriage, Teresa and I have been through a lot already, from relative poverty to relative luxury. I know what it’s like to be cold in the winter, to have a nearly barren refrigerator, to wonder how we’re going to survive the next month. I hate the thought of others having to feel these ways. I hope I’ll always remember to give as liberally as I’ve received.
I guess I do have one philosophical thought about getting old and all, some hypothetical questions I’ve tested on a few family members, from whom I’ve elicited tears and attitudes of depression. If you were to look twenty years into the future and see yourself as everything you hope not to become — financially poor, spiritually deaf, intellectually dull, emotionally unstable, with broken relationships and broken dreams — what would you say to your future self? Similarly, if yourself from twenty years ago could see you now, exactly as your are, with everything you’ve accomplished or haven’t accomplished, what would your younger self have to say? If this last question really bothers you, then you’ll know there’s room for improvement. It’s been said that children are the parents of adults. That’s been so true in my life. I’m constantly haunted by the young Stephen Gashler, who reminds me of my goals and principles. While in some ways I fear that I may have let him down, in many other ways, I think my life has turned out more gloriously than his limited world view could have imagined. I haven’t yet climbed Mount Kilimanjaro or built a theme park, but all in all, I’m okay with being thirty.